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10 Startups to change the financial world as we know it

ED MASLAVECKAS, CEO and Co-Founder, Bud Financial

Bud is a digital bank manager that helps people find the best uses for their money through smart analytics and recommending them financial products that are suited to their lifestyles and needs. We use transactional and behavioral data to put intelligence behind our product matching. We integrate financial service products, so customers have a seamless end to end experience when using multiple services in one place.

The problem we are solving is that, unless you work in financial services, you probably don’t know what the best thing to do with your money is, or you probably don’t have access to advice. By deploying Bud within banks, suddenly everyone will be able to have a bank manager in their pocket that will help them make smarter decisions with their money, no matter how much or how little they have.

An essential part of our business is helping people become more comfortable with financial products. Part of that is education and contextual automation. So, features like our glossary are there to help people understand new terms, businesses and products. Then, using transactional data, being able to highlight some services that might give users more affordable access to credit, or no fee FX products will help broaden their understanding of the market and maximise their money.

MASAHIRO TAKASAKI, Founder and CEO, Doreming

Doreming is one of the Fintech 100 firms nominated by KPMG to help financial inclusion for unbanked and underbanked workers. Doreming enable workers to tap into their earned wages in real time via mobile phone. Helping smooth cash flows and personal finances for those who either live hand to mouth or might otherwise fall prey to loan sharks. We named the company Doreiming that motivates workers to step up like the musical scale, Do-Re-Mi.

We focus on scaling up to create social impact on millions of workers lives and lifting them out of poverty. Social business is different in terms of business models and margins, on the other hand partners who can contribute and allocate resources to work together to tackle the social problem and value social impact more than maximizing profits, would be the right partner. We think teaming up with the right business partners will be the key in scaling up financial inclusion.

Unbanked and underbanked adults need ID and different risk assessment, and simple tool to access affordable financial services. We can help unbanked and underbanked workers to create their IDs when they register their HR profile to our payroll platform under the review of employers. We help workers to build their employment and payroll history as an alternative or additional data for risk assessment, so that they can access to financial services. Because we can help financial institution to collect premium and repayment of loans, financial institutions can provide financial services at lower costs.

We have helped underbanked workers by giving early access to their earned wages. We created the service in Japan for Internet Café Refugees around the time of the Lehman Crash. Internet Café Refugees are people who live in Internet Cafes and half of them work in hourly low paid temporary jobs. What they required was money as soon as they work to eat and be sheltered, so they could work the next day.

TOM RHYS JONES, Head of UK Business Development, Expensify

Expensify is innovating the receipt and expense management space.

Expensify’s web and mobile app eliminates manual expense data entry with a patented OCR technology. Our streamlined workflow allows both employees and accountants alike to focus on making their business more productive and profitable. Expensify partners with the top business solutions to create direct integrations to accounting packages, time tracking solutions, and other workflow tools. Our goal is to ensure that all aspects of a user’s business is as efficient and automated as possible, saving time and boosting efficiency.

We offer a freemium version of Expensify, which lets anyone use our app regardless of their financial situation. With the movement to make tax digital, Expensify’s freemium offering also fills a big gap for customers who need to keep an audit trail of their expenses, but can’t necessarily afford a complex digital system. Affordable accounting products are crucial for smaller businesses with a tighter budget, enabling an SME to close their books on time each month just as a large corporation would do.

On top of startups, SME’s, and large corporations, we also work with thousands of nonprofits to streamline the important socially-minded work that they do. Expensify enables employees and admins to spend less time completing the tedious task of managing their business expenses. We’re proud to support the work our nonprofits customers do by letting them focus on their work while we take care of their expenses.

VICTOR TROKOUDES, Co-founder, Plum

Sixteen million people in the UK have savings of less than £100. The cited barriers to saving boil down to: prioritising the present over the future (temptations of saying YOLO), a lack of interest or understanding in finance, and the time and effort involved in creating a traditional savings plan (establishing a 5+ year plan, etc). Plum takes the onus off of people to establish their savings for them.

Plum removes the barriers to establishing savings by automating the process, applying artificial intelligence, and utilising chatbot technology to communicate. Plum’s AI analyses spending patterns and determines a safe amount of money to save that won’t impact users’ day-to-day lives. Savings are kept safely aside and accessible anytime by texting the bot on Messenger. Behavioural science tells us humans are not wired to save; instead, we actually prioritize our current desires over future goals. Plum’s intelligence sidesteps our pre-programmed human tendencies, ensuring our future selves are looked out for.

There is a large proportion of the UK population who, for one reason or another have difficulties understanding financial products and find that current savings products do not work for them. Plum is able to help the user regardless of their financial literacy. Through data analysis our algorithm can help people from all walks of life prepare for the future.

I think that by taking small sums frequently, we are educating and conditioning millennials to begin saving early. The impact of this is huge and can help a generation begin to build a sizable pot for the future.

CÉLINE LAZORTHES, Founder & CEO, MANGOPAY

I realised that there was no single payments business with the functionality to accept payments, hold these payments in escrow and pay out seamlessly. This meant that multiple partners were needed to facilitate the payment’s journey, causing unnecessary friction, complication and cost. From this, MANGOPAY was born. With the E-Money Issuer license, our white label technology enables us to cover every step of the payments process, taking the pain out of payments for online marketplaces and crowdfunding platforms.

Every step in the financial system is difficult for a startup and its founder – opening an account, connecting to financial services and so on. At MANGOPAY we enable new startups to launch. For example Pumpkin, one of our clients in France, a chat app that allows you to transfer money, was launched in 2015 by business school students. There was no traditional payments solution available to meet their needs. They couldn’t have launched at all without MANGOPAY and now they have 200,000 users. The major impact we have is enabling entrepreneurs to launch innovative businesses and scale them.

We’re dedicated to sharing economy and crowdfunding platforms, most of which are very disruptive. Companies come to us because they have complex payment flow which traditional payment solutions can’t handle. For instance, The Food Assembly brings together people to buy fresh food directly from local farmers and foodmakers. With our technology, they are able to offer a shorter supply chain. Everyone gets a better deal: communities get to know each other, farmers get a fairer price for their work, and and customers get delicious food. That’s game changing!

VIRRAJ JATANIA, CEO and Founder, Pockit

We’re Pockit, and we’re building the world’s most inclusive bank. We aim to serve the 6 million people in the UK who are unable to open a traditional bank account or have a strained relationship with their current provider, to give them greater financial freedom. We believe that by providing a simple, elegant and technology-led solution, we can restore a sense of dignity for our customers while empowering them to fulfil their aspirations.

Pockit offers a mobile banking app and a contactless MasterCard. The product is simple to use, and we have a simple 99p retail pricing model. For our customers Pockit is the key financial product. We put financial inclusion at the heart of everything we do. We’re working to create a unique set of products for the financially excluded by using advanced data analytics to give them access to fair, non-punitive credit products.

Currently, a Pockit account can be opened in just two minutes, and there are no credit checks – just a simple online form, and a oneoff payment of 99p. Pockit account holders can have their wages or benefits paid in via bank transfer using their unique bank account number or pay in cash at any of the 28,000 PayPoint locations across the UK. Today, Pockit has 150,000 customers and an annual transaction volume of more than £150,000,000. A significant proportion of our new customers sign up having heard about Pockit through an existing customer, demonstrating the impact Pockit is having on financially excluded communities.

We’re confident that the addition of future products will continue our journey towards making financial exclusion a thing of the past.

MARCUS TREACHER, Global Head of Strategic Accounts, Ripple

Sending money around the world is slow, unreliable, and expensive as banks are still using antiquated systems that don’t interoperate, i.e. they can’t move money easily between them.

Ripple solves this challenge by providing blockchain-based solutions to enable the world to exchange value like it already exchanges information – giving rise to an Internet of Value (IoV). Ripple solutions lower the total cost of settlement by enabling banks to transact directly, instantly and with certainty of settlement. Banks around the world are partnering with Ripple to improve their cross-border payment offerings, and to join the growing, global network of financial institutions and market makers laying the foundation for the Internet of Value.

For our customers, this means – complete visibility and delivery confirmation, lower liquidity and operational costs, transaction privacy and security and new revenue opportunities via new markets and new products like micropayments). Ripple aims to establish the Internet of Value so that the world can move value the way it moves information today using distributed financial technology. This opens up unprecedented opportunities for financial inclusion, serving markets that have been underserved, and a whole new system for global payments.

The advent blockchain technologies, when coupled with digital identities, has the potential to extend financial access to everyone in the world, rather than just those fortunate enough to be served by traditional approaches to banking. For everyone, these new technologies more effectively support security sought by law enforcement, trust sought by merchants and privacy rights of individual consumers.

SHAMEEL KHAN, Portfolio Manager, Seedrs

Seedrs is an equity crowdfunding platform. Jeff and Carlos came up with the idea of Seedrs in 2008. Before Seedrs, seed-stage businesses looking for capital, along with the many other businesses at different stages that fell outside the focus of venture capital firms, found themselves in no-man’s land.

Unless they had rich friends and family, it was very difficult to get started. Meanwhile, on the other side of this market, there were loads people who were interested in earlystage businesses but had no way to invest in the asset class. To invest in a startup as an individual, you had to be an angel investor, committing lots of time and money to each deal. The notion of investing £20, £500 or £1,000 in an inspiring new business rather than £25,000 – and doing so online with minimal paperwork – was appealing to many.

The social impact Seedrs has delivered is twofold:

• We see equity crowdfunding as a move towards self-directed investment and a way to democratise early-stage equity for the masses

• Since launch, Seedrs has raised over £210 million for startups across 490 deals. We’re proud that we’ve had such a positive impact on the startup ecosystem in the UK and we look forward to continuing this in our European operations.

Hub founders (Stephen left)

STEPHEN ONG AND AXEL COUSTERE, Founding partners, THE HUB

THE HUB provides private white label enterprisegrade investment platforms connecting professional investment networks internally and with other trusted networks.

Delivering standardisation and automation, we enable our clients, from angel networks to exchanges, to scale their operations by connecting deals or capital within their network efficiently and syndicating to other leading investment networks through our collaborative model. Private investing currently operates in fragmented silos, with the financing of private companies and assets remaining highly inefficient, leading to illiquidity and higher costs for all. We seek to connect investment networks through our technology to remove friction and encourage collaboration.

Furthermore, we offer fully integrated platforms to help investors automate repetitive, manual tasks currently tackled using outdated tools and processes, so resources are better applied to evaluating, executing and growing their investments. We currently only deal with professional investors, firms and networks.

Our technology allows institutional and professional investors to seek out and make investments into smaller projects which would otherwise not justify an investment if reviewed manually in isolation. We believe a connected investment ecosystem will provide visibility and connect the best projects to smart capital bringing not just money, but skills and networks they need to thrive.

We are building a networked funding ecosystem easing access to capital, supporting private companies throughout their lifecycle to bring a deep, far reaching social impact by stimulating growth and employment focused on SME’s in the private market. We are already in discussions with social impact funds to help raise funds themselves. We offer institutional investors access to the early and growth stage market, bridging the funding gap whilst offering inbuilt risk diversification through an innovative portfolio approach.

GEORGE BEVIS, Founder & CEO, TIDE

Tide is a new mobile-first business account, which uses a combination of new technologies to remove the hassle of business banking and make running a successful business easier all in one application. Small business banking has been complicated and inefficient since its inception.

With simple day-to-day tasks being laborious, and technology slow to be introduced with high street banks, we launched Tide because we believe every business owner deserves to spend more time doing what they do best – building their business. Whilst Tide is aimed at business owners, we do believe that we sit in the financial inclusion field as our members can get a free fully functioning business account in a matter of minutes using their passport or driving license, which doesn’t have any monthly fees. Members simply pay 20p per bank payment and £1 per cash withdrawal charge, which is a lot more transparent and cost effective than high street banks.

When creating Tide, we didn’t start with profit margins or percentages in mind. We started with a clear purpose: to raze the challenging world of business banking to the ground, and rebuild it around the customer. The Tide experience revolves around what small business owners need from banking services.

We don’t measure success by how many people bank with Tide, but rather the positive impact we have on our members’ lives as a result, whether it’s being able to sell more, create new products or spend less time on admin and more time with their families.

In partnership with Innovate Finance

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