If there’s one sector that continues to show growth and innovation, it’s Fintech. As our own Fintech barometer shows, the industry continues to surpass itself.
Yet this isn’t an industry dominated by the biggest names. Even in the heart of a competitive market such as London, it’s innovation and a creative approach to technology that allow smaller startups to compete toe for toe with more established brands. Every month, it feels like something new has hit the industry.
So, what’s to come? There have been a number of companies that have had remarkable successes this year. Whatever they have planned for 2019, here are the top 10 fintech companies in London to keep an eye on.
While it’s relatively new, founded just 2 years ago, TrueLayer has found success by supporting other Fintechs with its API, allowing smaller startups to access banking data without having to first design and built their own systems.
The company also recently secured $7.5 million in funding, which it plans to use to expand into Europe. In the words of the founder, Francesco Simoneschi, an experienced venture capitalist from Silicon Valley, TrueLayer’s goal is “the creation of a secure infrastructure that underpins Open Banking”.
With new markets to enter and many new startups needing support, TrueLayer has the potential to gain a lot more business, as well as the opportunities to refine its product for a global scale.
Founded in 2011, TransferWise is a great example of a longstanding startup that has achieved consistent success. While its HQ is still in London, it now has offices around the globe, supporting over 300 currencies.
The company was originally started in Estonia by Taavet Hinrikus, who had experience working with one of the country’s most famous startups, Skype, as well as Kristo Käärmann. Its focus to provide better currency exchange rates, matching users, rather than relying on traditional banking methods and rates, something that has resulted in clear successes.
In July this year, TransferWise launched its services in Hong Kong, and reports suggest it has already lowered exchange prices by more than 20 per cent. With a system that’s proven to work for the consumer, it’s easy to see the potential for expansion the service still has.
If there’s one example of how aggressive fintech startups can be, it’s challenger banks. Where else can a humble startup take on well-established institutions, like banks, by offering a modern, innovative alternative?
Monzo is one such example. Founded in 2015, the company offers a mobile-only bank account and, since last year, they have also offered current accounts in the UK, with a focus on an intuitive banking model for its customers. In the words of Monzo’s co-founder and current CEO, Tom Monfield: “We’re tired of hidden fees and charges, endless paper forms, and nothing quite working in the way we’d expect.”
This friendly approach lies at the core of Monzo’s philosophy. After teaming up with Jumio to improve their app, Monzo won awards in two categories at the UK Digital Experience Awards. With continued success like this, 2019 might be the year London’s big banks start to get a little more concerned.
While it was founded in 2011, Nutmeg’s wealth and investment management services have experienced substantial growth recently, leaping from 40,000 customers last year to over 50,000 right now, which is a 125-percent increase in its user base.
At its core, Nutmeg uses technology to allow people to invest their money. The unique difference is that the company does this through their team, rather than with algorithms, and users can define their targets and even choose how much risk they are willing to take before Nutmeg presents them with portfolio options.
Another company that offers a digital alternative to traditional banking, Monese, has focused on current accounts and money transfers since 2013. While the UK’s first digital bank may have been overshadowed by larger startups down the line, Monese is appreciated for its quick and easy application process.
Monese is available in 20 different countries, and there’s no sign that it will be slowing down anytime soon. This year, Monese joined the fraud intelligence agency, Cifas, with a focus on preventing financial fraud. Rather than chasing after raw numbers, Monese is focusing on providing a high-quality service that inspires longtime customers.
Last year, Receipt Bank celebrated the sixth year of consecutive growth, so it’s safe to say that the company has a proven strategy. Since it started in 2010, the organisation has expanded out of its London office, opening secondary locations in France, Australia, and the U.S.
Receipt Bank offers a cloud computing service, combined with AI and data handling, to automatically compile accounts and expenses, saving its clients time and effort. Receipt Bank’s users can download reports and spreadsheets, or even integrate the service with their own cloud-based accounting software.
It’s easy to implement, and it saves businesses staff hours and costs. Companies clearly like it, so 2019 may end up being the seventh year of continued growth for the company.
In May this year, an online mortgage broker, Trussle, secured £13.6 million in round B funding, so we can expect to see more from the company over the next year.
Trussle does what so many other fintech companies have done: it’s found a niche in the market and designed a service that directly helps customers. It compares over 11,000 deals from more than 90 different lenders to help clients get the best mortgage.
As if weren’t enough, Trussle also continues to watch the market and help users identify and switch to better deals later on. It’s this ongoing support that retains customer loyalty and appreciation – something that investors clearly share as well.
Cleo’s AI helps users to manage their finances through a social media chatbot. Users can track their expenditure and savings, all within Facebook Messenger, which helps them save money and plan their finances beter.
It’s already proved successful, and it looks like Cleo is ready to introduce the service to other markets as well.
Founded in 2015, Curve is another great example of a startup solving a common problem with a simple, elegant solution. Curve’s card-based banking system allows its clients to access all their cards via their Curve card and pin number, alongside a 1-percent cap on exchange rates and a possible 14-day rollback on charges.
This year saw Curve enter into the Beta phase, but it is expected to go public by the end of this year. Ultimately, this will make 2019 a very exciting time to see how this ‘one card fits all’ model takes off.
When talking about London’s most renowned fintechs, what list would be complete without Revolut? The company offers a digital alternative to mainstream banking, using prepaid cards and peer-to-peer payments. It also supports a number of cryptocurrencies.
Since having been founded in 2013, Revolut has expanded to offer over 20 currencies through its mobile app, with over 100 supported through ATMs.
The year 2018 has already been a great time for the business. Revolut has announced over 1 million customers in the UK and unveiled plans to launch in North America, Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore and New Zealand, as the company begins to expand its operations globally.
In the words of Revolut’s Founder and CEO, Nik Storonsky: “I don’t believe in financial borders at the expense of consumers. The world is becoming more interconnected and financial companies should be adapting to this.”
What Can We Expect Next?
The fintech industry is truly diverse. When it comes to 2019, it’s clear that many companies are looking to innovate and expand their markets.
However, despite immensely improving their digital services, many companies still ensure a human approach without brick and mortar locations. Ishaan Malhi, Trussel’s founder, always emphasises the need for human elements in Fintech services, stating: “Technology enables us to scale up aggressively, but we must still provide customers with the reassurance that there is human time, thought, and judgement behind the advice they receive”.
Yet others, such as Cleo and Receipt Bank, look to cut back on or remove the human interaction entirely. Whether there are benefits to either side remains to be seen, but it’s clear that these fintechs provide dynamic new services that bring value that traditional financial institutes are struggling to compete with.