To identify the most promising financial services companies across the globe
Informilo asked some of the most active investors in the sector to nominate and evaluate companies outside their own portfolios. Nominations are vetted by the group and only those companies that get votes from non-investors make it on to the list.
What it does: Omni-channel payment services.
Why it’s hot: Adyen provides advanced payment services to over 3,500 customers including Facebook, Uber, and Airbnb. The company is on track to process transactions worth $45 billion and generate revenues of €330 million in 2015, up from €150 million last year. Just raised a round that values the company at $2.3 billion, less than a year after a $250 million round at a $1.5 billion valuation.
Chicago, IL, U.S.
What it does: Online consumer loans.
Why it’s hot: AvantCredit uses advanced algorithms and machine learning to offer a customized approach to personal loans. Since it issued its first loan in January 2013 it has served more than 3,000 customers. In May it reached $1 billion in loan originations. In December AvantCredit raised $225 million in equity financing and put in place a $300 million credit facility to fuel growth.
New York, NY, U.S.
What it does: Automated investing service.
Why it’s hot: Founded in 2008, Betterment simplifies the process of investing. The company has more than 100,000 customers and over $2.6 billion in assets under management. Betterment recently raised $60 million, bringing total funding to over $100 million, and announced plans to offer companies an online-only 401(k) retirement service.
New York, NY, U.S.
What it does: Student loan marketplace.
Why it’s hot: Peer-to-peer lender CommonBond focuses on graduate students. It aims to fund $500 million in loans by the end of 2015. In September it raised $35 million in Series B funding; the company has raised close to $200 million in five rounds. The new funding will support development of CommonBond’s data-intensive algorithm for determining client risk.
What it does: Social investment network
Why it’s hot: eToro’s social trading platform enables users to engage with global markets by allowing them to see what others are investing in and then copy them. The service is used by 4.5 million users in more than 140 countries. In April the company raised $12 million from CommerzVentures, following a $27 million round in late 2014. This brings total funding to over $72 million.
What it does: Peer-to-peer lending.
Why it’s hot: Jimubox is a marketplace providing loans to individuals and SMEs in China. The company expects to triple its lending business to $1.6 billion in 2015. In April it raised $84 million in Series C funding, just seven months after a $37 million round. Investors include Xiaomi, Shunwei Capital, Matrix Partners China, Investec Bank, Ventech China, and Vertex Fund Management.
Atlanta, GA, U.S.
What it does: Automated small business lending.
Why it’s hot: Kabbage uses data generated through business activity to understand performance and deliver funding in real time. The company has tripled its loan volume year on year, with a three-year growth rate of more than 6,700%, and has extended $1 billion in capital to small businesses since making its first loan four years ago. It has raised more than $450 million in 10 rounds.
What it does: Online payment service.
Why it’s hot: Klarna’s payment services are used by 55,000 merchants in Europe and 52 million users in 18 countries. In September it announced a mobile payment partnership with Overstock.com, its first deal in the U.S. market. Revenues in 2014 reached $300 million. The company has raised more than $280 million from Atomico, Digital Sky Technologies, and Sequoia; its valuation recently doubled to $2.25 billion.
New York, NY, U.S.
What it does: Mobile payments platform.
Why it’s hot: Mozido provides payment services to more than two billion people who carry mobile phones but have no bank accounts. The company has been on the acquisition trail, buying Zimbabwe mobile wallet company NettCash, Chinese payment gateway provider PayEase and Corfire, a digital commerce company. Mozido has raised more than $350 million in four rounds.
New York, NY, U.S.
What it does: Student loan refinancing.
Why it’s hot: SoFi helps professionals accelerate their success with student loan refinancing and other debt. It has issued more than $4 billion in loans since launch. In late September SoFi announced $1 billion in Series E funding led by SoftBank –the largest single financing round in the fintech space to date. The round brings total equity investment in SoFi to $1.42 billion.
San Francisco, CA, U.S.
What it does: Online payments platform.
Why it’s hot: Stripe processes billions of dollars for thousands of businesses including Twitter, Kickstarter, Salesforce, and Lyft. It also facilitates transactions through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and has partnered with Apple Pay and Alipay. A July funding round of “less than $100 million” valued the company at $5 billion. Total funding is close to $300 million.
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. Co-founder Taavet Hinrikus calls it “the Skype of money transfers.” Customers have made foreign exchange transfers totaling more than £3 billion so far. In January it raised a Series C round of $58 million, valuing the company at more than $1 billion.
Foster City, CA, U.S.
What it does: Subscription management platform.
Why it’s hot: Zuora enables “the subscription economy,” supporting companies shifting to recurring revenue models; its relationship business management platform manages the subscriber lifecycle. In 2014 contracted invoice volume reached $42 billion. Customers include Box, Dell, and Zendesk. In March the company raised a $115 million round, bringing investment to $250 million.
What it does: Bond information market.
Why it’s hot: Algomi connects fixed income professionals, helping them form better trading relationships in a landscape of changing capital, leverage and liquidity requirements. As of July it had signed up 100 buy-side firms to its network, just two months after launch. Algomi currently works with 11 major banks. It raised an undisclosed amount from Lakestar in a 2013 round.
What it does: Global funds transaction network.
Why it’s hot: Calastone claims its automated transaction service has enabled the fund industry to reduce the cost of transactions by over 60%. It has more than 810 clients in 27 countries and 7,900 active trading connections. In July its network carried its 100 millionth message. In 2013 the company raised $18 million from Accel Partners and shareholder Octopus Investments.
What it does: Peer-to-peer lending.
Why it’s hot: Dianrong calls itself the Lending Club of China; its founder was Lending Club’s VP of engineering until 2010. In August the company raised $207 million in a Series C round co-led by Standard Chartered’s private equity arm and China Fintech Fund; the round is one of the largest in China’s P2P sector. A previous $100 million round allegedly valued the company at $1 billion.
What it does: Integration with cryptofinancial networks.
Why it’s hot: Epiphyte’s mission is to be the bridge between established finance and cryptofinance. Its middleware suite, CBridge, offers one-stop integration with the various emerging cryptofinancial protocols, enabling financial institutions to use crypto networks in a secure and controlled way. It uses state-of-the art cryptography to secure funds, transactions and trades.
Cambridge, MA, U.S.
What it does: Global analytics.
Why it’s hot: Kensho harnesses massively-parallel statistical computing, user-friendly visual interfaces and unstructured data engineering to create an analytics platform for investment professionals. In November it raised $15 million in a round led by Goldman Sachs; Goldman will also use Kensho’s software across the bank. The company previously raised a $10 million seed round.
What it does: Bitcoin mining.
Why it’s hot: KnCMiner delivers secure and green blockchain power. It has expertise in ASIC design and in building and running industrial computing centers on renewable green hydropower. Customers pay for a fixed amount of time and processing power in its large data center in the Arctic Circle. In February it raised $15 million from Accel Partners and previous investors.
What it does: Modern banking services.
Why it’s hot: Number26 styles itself as a bank of the future. It offers free, flexible services based on traditional bank Wirecard’s infrastructure. Number26 has launched in Germany and Austria and has close to 10,000 customers and a waiting list. In April the company raised $10.6 million from Valar Ventures and existing investors Earlybird and Redalpine.
What it does: Loans for business school students.
Why it’s hot: Prodigy Finance’s platform offers loans to international postgraduate students attending leading business schools. Since 2007, it has processed over $130 million to fund more than 2,000 students from 92 nationalities, with a repayment rate in excess of 99%. In August it raised more than $100 million in loan capital and equity from Credit Suisse, Balderton Capital and other investors.
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 $2.6 billion in client assets (growing from $100 million a year after launch in 2013). Last year the company raised $100 million in two rounds, bringing total funds raised to $129 million; its valuation after the last round is approximately $700 million.
Under The Radar
What it does:Analysis and loan selection for SMEs
Why it’s hot: When it launches in October it will serve as an automated CFO, generating cash flow analysis and should there be a cash requirement, suggesting banks and alternative lending platforms to consider. Nick Heller, co-founder and CEO, was Google Europe’s head of new business development. Investors include Seedcamp and Michael van Swaaij, previously eBay’s chief strategy officer.
What it does: Current accounts for businesses.
Why it’s hot: Holvi is a payment institution authorized by Finland’s Financial Supervisory Authority. It has independently built an end-to-end online banking platform from the ground up. The company is now taking its services to 29 European markets. Holvi has received close to $3 million in investment from Seedcamp and Speedinvest.
What it does: International money transfer app.
Why it’s hot: The Revolut app allows users to exchange currencies with no fees and at interbank rates, and to send money through social networks. It also provides a multi-currency card that can be used everywhere MasterCard is accepted, and in ATMs abroad. Its goal is to remove all hidden banking costs. In July Balderton Capital invested in a £1.5 million funding round.
*Epiphyte was a SWIFT Innotribe StartUp Challenge finalist in 2014. Revolut is a 2015 finalist.