To identify the most promising financial services start-ups across the globe Informilo asked some of the most active investors in the sector to nominate and evaluate 10 companies outside their own portfolios. The other 15 (marked with an asterisk) are the finalists in a competition organized by Innotribe, the innovation arm of SWIFT, the global financial services provider. The 15 Innotribe finalists have been invited to present at Sibos, an annual conference organized by SWIFT which gathers around 6,000 banks from around the world.
Advanced Merchant Payments*
Hong Kong, China
What it does: Provides short-term unsecured loans to SMEs.
Why it’s hot: AMP enables financial institutions to profitably offer unsecured loans to small business customers using alternative lending technologies and methodologies. The company lends to a variety of businesses in Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, from retailers and wholesalers to contractors and equipment providers. Founded in 2009, AMP has provided more than $25 million in loans.
What it does: Transaction network for the fund industry.
Why it’s hot: Calastone claims its automated transaction service has enabled the fund industry to reduce the cost of electronic transactions by over 60%. It has more than 450 clients and 4,200 network connections and has carried order value in excess of $280 billion. Message volumes have doubled each year. In 2013 the company raised $18 million from Accel Partners and Octopus Investments.
What it does: Social investment network.
Why it’s hot: eToro empowers almost 4 million users in more than 170 countries. Its social trading platform enables digital natives to engage with global markets by allowing them to see what others are investing in and then copy them. Has so far raised $31.9 million in venture capital.
What it does: Global payments platform.
Why it’s hot: fastacash’s global social platform allows users to transfer value (money, airtime, other tokens of value) along with content (photos, videos, audio, messages) through social networks and messaging platforms. The company has developed a patent-pending link-generation technology that enables the value transfer with a secure link. Has raised more than $17 million in funding.
What it does: Enabling individuals to lend to SMEs.
Why it’s hot: Funding Circle has enabled 30,000 investors to lend £285 million to British businesses. £130 million was lent out in 2013 alone. In October the company merged with U.S.-based Endurance Lending Network; it recently acquired LeapPay to speed up the loan turnaround time and support U.S. expansion. It has raised $65 million in funding and has a valuation in the hundreds of millions of pounds.
Mountain View, CA, U.S.
What it does: Personal finance tools for cash-based households.
Why it’s hot: Juntos creates automated engagement platforms that help banks and others serve newly-banked customers in emerging markets, starting with Latin America. Juntos began in 2010 led by student Ben Knelman. Since then, the company has gained global recognition and Knelman was named one of The World Economic Forum’s “Global Shapers” under 30.
San Francisco, CA, U.S.
What it does: Peer-to-peer lending.
Why it’s hot: Lending Club is the leading online credit marketplace in the U.S. It has grown more than 100% per year each of the last few years. Since inception, it has facilitated more than $5 billion in loans, while paying more than $300 million in interest to investors. In May 2013 Google acquired shares from existing investors, giving Lending Club a valuation of $1.55 billion.
What it does: Cloud banking platform.
Why it’s hot: Mambu enables financial institutions to deliver state-of-the-art banking to three billion underserved clients worldwide through its software-as-a-service cloud solution. It works with more than 100 companies in 30 countries to service nearly a million accounts. In 2013 Mambu raised $2 million in Series A funding from Runa Capital, Point Nine Capital, and Kizoo Technology Ventures.
What it does: Mobile wallet for ‘uncarded’ users.
Why it’s hot: MatchMove offers Asia’s first eWallet, which lets users shop online using virtual cards. It also helps online businesses increase revenue, user engagement and loyalty through its social networking and site gamification platform. Customers, which include Yahoo, can create their own branded games and apps store with full-featured social networking, monetization and e-commerce options.
The Currency Cloud
What it does: Simplifies international payments and transfers.
Why it’s hot: Its service enables users to send, receive, track and automate cross-currency payments. Over 250,000 businesses and consumers use its cross-border payment capabilities through 100 application partners. In April it raised $10 million from a group of VCs for geographic expansion and platform development.
Pasadena, CA, U.S.
What it does: Credit card optimization.
Why it’s hot: Wallaby Financial helps consumers get the most out of their credit cards by sending transactions to specific cards based on rewards, credit limit, statement due date, linked bonuses and other offers. Its Engine creates a real-time bidding platform for banks to acquire consumers’ transactional spend through micro targeting. Maintains a database of more than 2,000 U.S. cards and 450 banks.
What it does: Aggregated risk assessment.
Why it’s hot: Credit Benchmark operates a “contributed data model,” focused on gathering credit risk information from the world’s major global banks. It unlocks an untapped resource in institutional credit risk: internal estimates from the world’s largest banks. A dozen global banks have so far committed to supplying data. In July it raised $7 million in Series A funding led by Index Ventures.
What it does: Money transfer rate comparisons.
Why it’s hot: CurrencyTransfer.com enables businesses to access multiple foreign exchange quotes from FCA-regulated brokers in one place and save up to 85% on international business payments. Sister comparison websites MyTravelMoney and MyCurrencyTransfer have helped individual customers transact over $600 million to date. In 2015, the company will introduce a software-as-a-service offering to high-usage corporate customers.
What it does: Secure mobile payments.
Why it’s hot: Ensygnia’s Onescan omni-channel app enables users to make secure mobile payments online, in-store and on the go by scanning a validation code. Its patented technology platform enables any connected device with a camera to interact and transact with any connected device with a screen. The company has raised $6.5 million in six funding rounds from angels and Wayra ($3.3 million last year).
What it does: Integration with cryptofinancial networks.
Why it’s hot: Epiphyte’s mission is to be the bridge between finance and cryptofinance. Its middleware suite, CBridge, offers integration with emerging crypto-financial protocols, enabling institutions to leverage securely crypto-networks. It uses state-of-the art cryptography to secure funds, transactions and trades. Regulatory compliance, including KYC, confidentiality and security, is built in.
Seattle, WA, U.S.
What it does: Machine-based investing.
Why it’s hot: Lending Robot makes peer-to-peer lending more efficient by using machine-learning algorithms and real-time scoring to select and fund loans for its users. The service uses more than 40 different filtering criteria to evaluate loans on Lending Club and Prosper Marketplaces, two of the leading peer-to-peer lending companies in the U.S. Registered with the SEC as an investment advisor.
What it does: Social financial network.
Why it’s hot: The free Lendstar app, available in English and German, enables users and their friends to lend and transfer money to each other. It will soon also support real-time transactions via a mobile wallet and a prepaid credit card. It has been downloaded several thousand times in 12 countries (mainly Germany). Has raised close to $450,000 through crowdfunding and angels.
What it does: Online investment management.
Why it’s hot: Nutmeg is the UK’s first online discretionary fund manager, bringing affordable investment management services to everyone. It serves more than 35,000 users and is one of the UK’s top 25 wealth managers. In June it raised $32 million from Balderton Capital, Schroders, Charles Dunstone and existing investors Draper Associates and Armada Investment Group, to reach $50 million in funding.
What it does: Open-source analytics and risk platform.
Why it’s hot: OpenGamma aims to become the new standard for Quantitative Finance. It has raised a total of $23.35 million from Accel Partners, Firstmark Capital, ICAP and Euclid Opportunities. Demand for lower-cost risk analysis tools is growing with increased regulation and rising data volumes.
What it does: IPV6 security specialist.
Why it’s hot: Sixscape’s mission is to help people learn about and deploy IPv6; it will also create new products that will leverage IPv6’s capabilities. It provides an Identity Registration Protocol Server combining user directory, automatic IPv6 address registration, and cryptography, including PKI. Sixscape plans to offer the largest collection of free information on IPv6 available anywhere.
What it does: Commercial banking APIs.
Why it’s hot: Standard Treasury builds and maintains REST API banking platforms for some of the world’s largest banks, enabling their customers to interact with their accounts programatically. The service aims to improve operating efficiency for banks and their business customers. Standard Treasury raised $2.7 million in seed funding from RRE Ventures, Index Ventures, Y Combinator and others in May.
What it does: Online financial adviser.
Why it’s hot: StockSpot is Asia’s first 100% digital investment adviser and fund manager; it uses algorithms to match clients to a personalized portfolio of indexed stocks, bonds and commodities. The company’s initial focus is on Australians in their mid-20s to early 30s investing AUD$10,000-$50,000. StockSpot has raised AUD$250,000 in seed funding from early-stage fintech VC AWI Ventures.
What it does: Money transfer service.
Why it’s hot: Based in the UK, but founded by a Lithuanian team, TransferGo provides digital international money transfer services to more than 30,000 customers in 22 countries. It charges a low transfer fee of £2.50, and offers customers next-day delivery. TransferGo has raised €350,000 in seed funding from Practica Seed Capital and Practica Venture Capital.
What it does: Foreign currency transfer services.
Why it’s hot: TransferWise keeps currency transfer costs down by using the real exchange rate and charging a low service fee. In April the company announced it has helped its customers to make foreign exchange transfers totaling £1 billion so far. In May 2013, Valar Ventures, Peter Thiel’s VC fund, led a $6 million round for TransferWise, bringing the total raised to $7.35 million.
Palo Alto, CA, U.S.
What it does: Online money management.
Why it’s hot: Wealthfront is the world’s largest and fastest-growing automated investment service, with over $1 billion in client assets (growing from $100 million a year after launch in 2013). More than half its clients are aged under 35. In April the company raised $35 million from Index Ventures, Ribbit Capital and existing investors, bringing total funds raised to $65 million.
Updated 17:36 9 Oct 14: Revise to eToro