Top 10 Fintech – Disruptors And Innovators.
Credit cards, as the default spending currency, are slowly coming to an end. A natural evolutive process that began thousands of years ago with bartering replaced at some point by the coinage era and replaced again by the paper money.
Then, late 20th century, the plastic cards took over the paper money. We live the ages of technology, the age of disruption, the times of Techfins and Fintechs, the times of digital currencies.
Top 10 Fintech – Digital Has Overtaken Fiat Currency
The UK Payments Council reported that in 2014, 52% of transactions were made with notes and coins. In 2015, the figure fell below 50% for the first time in history. The financial services industry is in the middle of the digital disruption. Time to see our Top 10 FinTech companies, and the architects of the new financial world.
1. Top 10 Fintech – Stripe – Sell Anything, Anywhere
At first glance, Stripe doesn’t look too different from other payments companies. They too offer processing services for online and mobile transactions, which customers can integrate into their apps.
However, Stripe is entirely different, as it lets any business process credit card payments in over 140 different currencies, bank transfers, bitcoin and Alipay in less than five minutes, straight from their mobile websites.
It is huge, as mobile devices factor for almost 80% of the global browsing traffic, but only 15% of e-commerce purchasing. For that, Stripe has designed “Relay,” an “in-app” buy button, that gives customers the instant purchase option, on their mobiles.
2. Top 10 Fintech – 21 Inc. – AI Pays With Bitcoin
21 Inc is my favourite, and here is why:
“After much hard work, we’ve created an embeddable mining chip called BitShare, in a variety of form factors. The 21 BitShare can be embedded into any IoT device, as a standalone or integrated into an existing chipset, to generate digital currency.” Balaji S. Srinivasan the CEO of 21.
With a BitShare chip, your wireless routers, USB sticks, connected objects, fridge, vacuum cleaner, coffee machine, car, smartphone, wearables, smart clothes, can now mine Bitcoins. The “AI”, starting with autonomous cars will make money and pay its repairs in the future.
3. Top 10 Fintech – Ripple Labs – The Internet of Money
Ripple Labs created the Ripple Protocol. The Ripple protocol is an open-source payment network that can be used to transfer money, point to point, between two parties.
As such, the protocol can circumnavigate the fees and waiting times often associated with the traditional banking systems. On the top of that, any currency can be exchanged.
Ripple Labs’ solution is based on blockchain technology and is designed to modernise existing payment infrastructures, by enabling interoperability between the banks and the payment networks on a global scale. As of 2014, Ripple is the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation, after Bitcoin.
4. Top 10 Fintech – Coinbase – The Central Bank Of Bitcoin
Coinbase is a bitcoin wallet and exchange company based in San Francisco, California. It operates exchanges between digital currency – Bitcoin – and fiat money in almost thirty countries.
It also covers bitcoin transactions and storage in 200 countries, worldwide. Their online service allows users to buy bitcoins – the virtual currency – store it in a digital wallet and pay merchants with it.
This is the closest thing to a Bitcoin Central Bank and major the financial institutions have already made investments over $100 US millions.
Coinbase makes money by charging users a 1 percent fee to convert dollars into and out of bitcoin. Merchants like it because the charges are lesser than what they would have to pay to process such transfers, with most traditional credit card companies.
Coinbase has also launched its 3D Secure protocol in the U.K. and Spain, allowing its customers to purchase bitcoins using a particular protocol, developed by Visa.
5. Top 10 Fintech – The Modern Day NASDAQ
The funding platform behind the Seed and Early Stage Venture Investments, AngelList, is, in fact, a large community of startups and investors who make the fund-raising game fun, and efficient. Started by the guys who launched the Venture Hacks, the AngelList is the next level up, by connecting institutions with the earliest-stage startups.
Founded in 2010 by the serial entrepreneur Naval Ravikant and Babak Nivi, the AngelList suggests investment syndicates, in which startups raise money from accredited investors, alongside prominent angel investors.
6. Top 10 Fintech – Square – Any Mobile Payments
Square is a software platform that enables retail stores and restaurants to take mobile payments via any Android and iOS based devices.
Square has a much simpler solution to the costly card payment POS processors. The solution is also mobile and portable, with scores of clients enrolling, ranging from small hairdressers or key cutting stores to huge supermarkets.
Square sends a mobile-compatible, credit card reader to anyone for free. Then all that’s needed is an app and an account to start accepting payments.
7. Top 10 Fintech – Kreditech: Dynamic Social Scoring
Kreditech is a German online lender which offers loans to individuals, based on their overall creditworthiness, analysed using online data combined with traditional credit rating info sources.
The company uses almost 20.000 data points to assess a person’s suitability as a loan candidate, ranging from bank account statements to behavioural data, collected from social media.
“The deployment of new technologies such as the fingerprint and iris scanners on smartphones, combined with digital health (DNA), wearable tech (smart sensors), IoT (connected objects) and social media noise, will source the data required to complete the “Digital Persona Profile.” The DPP, or the digital you is finally coming together. “Laurenti Arnault: The Internet Of Things – What Could Go Wrong?
These data points are then grouped into clusters, several hundreds of them, to determine how likely it is that someone will pay back a loan, and if that person is approved or refused.
Originally developed by the original co-founders, these advanced algorithms are now honed by teams of engineers, working for the finance startup.
8. Top 10 Fintech – Robinhood: Free Stock Trading
Robinhood is a zero commission stock brokerage startup that lets you buy and sell stocks, for free. After graduating from Stanford, roommates Vladimir Tenev and Baiju Bhatt moved to New York, where they built stock trading platforms for some of the largest financial institutions in the world.
Soon, they began to realise that electronic trading firms pay effectively nothing to place trades on the market yet charge investors up to $10 for each trade, so the idea for Robinhood was born. They soon ventured back to California to begin solving the problem of democratising access to the global markets.
9. Top 10 Fintech – SecureKey: Identity And Authentication
The Toronto-based SecureKey Technologie counts the Canadian and U.S. federal governments among its customers, has designed a new, secure way, that lets Canadian citizens access government websites, by using their existing banking credentials.
As the company is the sole identity and authentication provider for organisations that deliver online services for consumers, the SecureKey eliminates the need to store passwords by securely linking their customer’s IDs to trusted devices.
SecureKey’s unique authentication platform reduces the burden, the cost and the risks associated with authenticating millions of users to sensitive websites while improving the overall user experience.
10. Top 10 Fintech – KickStarter: Your Idea, Our Money
Kickstarter is a global crowdfunding platform for creative projects such as tech, movies, music, art, games, comics, design and photography. Each and every Kickstarter project is the independent creation of someone like you.
Project creators apply online, via Kickstarter, seeking a minimum funding goal. If a certain deadline does not meet the goal, no funds are collected.
People who back up Kickstarter projects are offered tangible rewards and exclusive experiences in exchange for their pledges. Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative projects, outside of traditional avenues of investment.
What sets Kickstarter apart is the ease of access to small funding and the fact creators keep complete ownership and control their work.
Bonus – CrowdCube: Anyone Is An Investor
Developed as an alternative to the banks, angel investors and venture capital funding, the CrowdCube platform can be used by most start-ups to raise extra finance.” Just like an excellent mix between Kickstarter and AngelsList, CrowdCube enables anyone to invest alongside professional investors in start-ups.
CrowdCube was cited by the policy maker at the Bank of England as a contributing factor to making the banks obsolete and that “the impact of these firms could be revolutionary one day.”
Global FinTech financing has grown from less than $930 million in 2008 to almost $2.5 billion in 2016. Are there any innovative fintech companies that caught your attention and you think we should have them featured in our next edition of “Top 10 FinTech?” Let us know.