Kicking off the year with ten trailblazing fintechs
The past year has been nothing if not interesting, with a variety of obstacles in the way of fintech innovation, including:
- Economic uncertainty
- The never-ending COVID-19 pandemic
- War in the Ukraine
- Ongoing supply chain issues
- Rising interest rates/inflation/cost of living
- Layoffs in the tech sector and beyond
But despite these setbacks, there are bright spots that speak to the continued growth of financial services and solutions. There have been continued advancements in digital banking, payroll fintech, decentralized finance, sustainable/green finance, cybersecurity, blockchain/cryptocurrency, and renewed focus on big data and advanced analytics like machine learning and artificial intelligence.
The explosion of tech advancements and their effect on financial services is evident in some of the valuations we’ve seen, as well as the steady stream of announcements on collaborations, partnerships, and purchases in the finance world. It’s clear that despite an economic slowdown and less capital going around, there is still a large portion of funding being invested in financial technology. And fintechs are riding this wave all the way to unicorn status in record numbers. In 2013 there were a total of 39 unicorns (defined as a private company valued at over $1 billion) – and in 2022 that number has risen to “almost 900 unicorn startups in the world, valued at more than $3.5 trillion combined.” Over a third of these (345) have been classified as fintechs. (Did you know? The top cities with the most fintech unicorns are San Francisco, New York City, and London.) And since the term unicorn was coined, we’ve also seen the rise of decacorns – organizations valued at more than TEN BILLION dollars.
In honor of those fintechs that have made 2022 an exciting year of innovation, we’re looking at a few that have contributed a fresh, unique take on lending and financial services. And while this list is in no way exhaustive (how much time do you have before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve?) here is our list of ten to watch as we head into the new year.
- RevenueCat – With a simple API and open-source SDKs, RevenueCat (a global, remote-first tech company) supports developers with a subscription backend to make managing in-app purchases simple, while centralizing subscriber data. Their pre-built integrations allow app developers to quickly connect in-app revenue data and customer lifecycle events, enabling a single source of truth for subscriptions and revenue data.
- Morty – Based in NYC, Morty bills itself as a mortgage marketplace for the 21st century. With a team of licensed mortgage experts, Morty offers a tech-first platform that works with customers from start to finish, helping determine mortgage eligibility and pre-approvals, personalized loan options and closing assistance – empowering homebuyers to secure and finance their home purchase entirely online.
- Spherium – Aiming to diversify the DeFi ecosystem, Spherium Finance wants to connect the world through transparent, user-friendly, decentralized financial system. Based in Singapore, the team is bringing their extensive experience in AML/KYC, blockchain research and business development to “unleash the potential DeFi revolution.”
- ChatCredi – Focused on the South American market, ChatCredi uses conversational AI to develop intelligent chatbots that help make credit applications a simple, organic process. And all data provided during chat conversations is integrated in real time via an API, helping to automate the way users apply for financial products.
- Fingo – Billed as Africa’s only youth-focused digital bank, Fingo offers in-app customer support, instant mobile notifications, and bank-grade security thanks to their licensed, Tier 1 banking partners. With fun marketing and the ability to add gifs to messages, Fingo allows you to send and receive money, make bill payments easily, and set unique savings goals with automated reminders. Today, most Africans pay 5-15% in fees to transfer funds, but Fingo will enable a reduction by up to 90% in most cases.
- Earnest – With a goal to change student lending, U.S.-based Earnest enables students to get help paying for college with lower rates, flexible payments, and no fees. Whether it’s via private or cosigned student loans, or flexible refinancing options, Earnest strives to eliminate unnecessary costs from the burden of education, reducing the total cost of higher education and allowing students to get on the right financial track, fast.
- Check – As payroll fintech innovations flourish, enter Check, an embedded payroll platform that increases revenue and customer retention by partnering with software platforms to build and scale payroll businesses. Aiming to ‘make paying people simple,’ Check is enabling the next generation of payroll businesses, working with a variety of different industries, including vertical SaaS, workforce management, fintech, and online staffing.
- Forward Financing – Providing capital to SMEs that may struggle to get credit elsewhere, Forward Financing is building advanced technology with the aim to transform the small business financing industry. With revenue-based financing, Forward Financing provides upfront capital in exchange for a set amount of future revenue, with straightforward, simple eligibility requirements requiring only basic info – streamlining the entire SME lending process and enabling a wider net of customers.
- Flywire – With a unique global payment network, Flywire enables seamless, secure transactions for businesses and organizations worldwide. They combine a proprietary global payments network, next-gen payments platform, and vertical specific software to ensure delivery of even the most complex payments for their clients and customers. Offering solutions for healthcare, education, travel and B2B, Flywire removes obstacles with flexible solutions that enable the global payment and receivables process alongside seamless transaction experiences.
- Paga – A mobile payment company, Paga is building a digital ecosystem that enables people in Africa to send and receive money easily, creating simple access to financial services for a wider variety of people. With a goal to eliminate the use of cash for transactions, and ensuring more inclusive access to financial services, Paga’s Platform-as-a-Service model enables other third parties to leverage their deep infrastructure to make payments seamless and streamlined.
It’s hard to know exactly what the next few years have in store, but it’s clear that fintechs will continue to creatively address issues or gaps in the financial services industry. If the examples of cutting-edge thinking and technological advancements listed here can transcend global slowdowns and economic uncertainty, then there is no telling what else the next few years has in store for us (or how many more fintech unicorns will be created!).
Want more info on the changing economic landscape and its impact on financial services? See what global Provenir experts predict. Get the eBook.
For Further Reading:
- The Forbes Fintech 50 2022: https://www.forbes.com/fintech/2022/#6b0df6dc187e
- The Financial Technology Report – Top 100 Financial Technology Companies of 2022: https://thefinancialtechnologyreport.com/the-top-100-financial-technology-companies-of-2022/