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TOP-10 Startups and ideas to change the world

In partnership with DIA Amsterdam and Disrupts Media, The Fintech Times represents global startups-influencers changing the financial world as we know it. 

Alex WEBER, Head of International Markets at N26 Group

  • N26 has redesigned banking for the smartphone, making it simple, fast and contemporary. While it has become easy to order a taxi or listen to music via your favourite apps, the financial services industry was lagging behind this development. N26 is setting new standards in banking, being Europe’s first mobile bank. We serve more than 300,000 customers from 17 markets, employ more than 200 staff from over 30 nationalities, and our vision is to solve all our customer’s financial needs on one platform.
  • N26 is Europe’s first panEuropean bank. This is empowered by EU wide regulation, e.g. SEPA harmonization and cross-border passporting. When entering into new markets, N26 is confronted with the circumstance that EU regulation is not fully implemented by all market participants to the disadvantage of the customer. For instance, utility providers insisting on customers signing up with a local IBAN despite the discrimination against foreign IBANs being prohibited since February 2016.
  • N26 is simple and easy to understand, the app is intuitive and has been designed in a way so it can be used by anyone, without explanation, regardless of their technical savviness. We make everything transparent and provide all information in a very comprehensive manner within the app. We work hard to design our app and our products in such a way that customers receive an in-app overview of their account which is easy to use and understand.
  • N26 was founded by Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal, two customers, not bankers, who were unhappy with the services they received from their traditional banks The founders had a pure client-centric view of their product from the beginning. This is one main reason why N26 has made banking better for over 300K users and is still growing day by day.

Pavel KRAVCHENKO, cryptographer, founder of Distributed Lab

  • Distributed Lab is a crypto and decentralised technology expertise center. Our main activities are creation of digital payment infrastructures and application of blockchain solutions to business. We solve the problem of the global payment infrastructure accessibility and security, and create turnkey solutions which include integration into legacy frameworks, business architecture creation and user experience.
  • The world is getting digitised and the payment processing infrastructure has to move ahead too, towards being faster, easier, smarter, cheaper and available for all the customer categories. Currently it is heavy-footed, slow, closed, extremely expensive and monopolised. Scaling our solutions across the world could help New Gen payment services to get mass use.
  • The first and the biggest challenge for the blockchain industry is inflated expectations around the technology itself. Being influenced by overly positive newstream, blockchain is expected to be a ‘magic pill’ and to solve all the problems with transactions’ security and speed, data transparency, KYC and many more… However, it is impossible to solve those issues without crucial changes in existing global accounting systems and business processes. We have put a lot of effort so far into explaining what blockchain is and what it is capable of doing.
  • We believe the future of payments to be digital, instantaneous and free, with transactions being confidential (however subject to AML/KYC), with the source of funds origin being proven and the accounts controlled solely by their owners. It is not easy to create such a future considering the money origin challenges and problems in the global payment infrastructure as of today, but this future will definitely come.

Jamie HALE, CEO & Co-Founder at Ladder

  • There is a $16 trillion coverage gap in the U.S. between what people should and do have in place. This is an unnecessary situation for those people, their families, and their communities. Ladder has rebuilt life insurance to be instant, simple, and smart. People have come to expect digital, on-demand options for most things in life: you no longer have to call a travel agent or go inside a bank. It should be no different for life insurance; however, the reality is the traditional life insurance process is antiquated and burdensome, requiring in-person meetings with agents, physical paperwork, and long wait times. We at Ladder have streamlined this process, removing the hurdles and complexities.
  • Ladder has re-engineered life insurance with a new technology and consumer focused design. We offer coverage up to $8 million with no fees, all because we want people to be able to get whatever they need whenever they want. We have taken a holistic approach. We haven’t just slapped a front-end marketing engine on top of the existing process. Our integrated overhaul is much better for the user, and it’s longer lasting. Ladder is refreshing and redeeming an important financial product, turning the life insurance industry right side up and back to where it’s supposed to be.
  • Ladder is disrupting the life insurance process with its direct-toconsumer process to receive instant coverage.
  • Everyone in this industry should be relentlessly focused on providing the best possible experience for people to get the coverage they need. Insurance was first created centuries ago as a way for neighbors and communities to have each others’ backs. For a small contribution, each individual could make sure the people they care about would be covered, if the unthinkable happened. Ladder is ensuring this service is easily accessible for everyone.

Jeroen MORRENHOF, CEO FRISS | fraud, risk & compliance

  • Insurance fraud is a challenging problem and its economic effects are significant: expected losses can be up to 10% of operational income. This affects businesses’ financial stability and profitability. But most importantly it is the society that suffers. Payments of fraudulent claims have a substantial negative effect on the losses of insurers and therefore, on insurance premiums. As a result, money flows to the wrong people and combined ratios are put under pressure. So why should customers bear the risk caused by fraud? FRISS strives for healthy insurance portfolios and supports honest insurance.
  • Insurers from around the globe rate the fraud priority level as a 7 out of 10 on average. The biggest fraud challenges for insurers are related to data: issues with data protection and privacy; inadequate access to external data sources, and problems with internal data quality. Our platform connects over a hundred data sources in order to provide better risk assessment to insurers.
  • Today, a lot of potential insurance fraud can be detected automatically, based on the insurance history or relationships of a customer. Additionally, insurance employees can be trained to spot potential fraud. If insurers start working together closely and share their data on both national and international levels, it would make the industry stronger against fraud. FRISS is there to help insurers in reaching these goals.
  • A lot of (large) insurance companies are working on digitisation processes and core system replacements these days. Although this puts pressure on IT resources, do not wait with implementing a fraud detection solution. With relatively small efforts a system can go live within a short timeframe and deliver results: fraudulent claims that do not need to be paid out, less high risks that enter the portfolio and of course compliant with rules and regulations.

Chris KAYE, co-founder and CEO of Sherpa

  • It’s no secret that most consumers have a less than positive view of the cost and experience of buying insurance, and they doubt that their insurer will come through for them when they make a claim. We are trying to fix that. We came up with is a very different model which cuts out a lot of the existing players across the industry and delivers simpler, cheaper and more tailored solutions to consumers. We want to move away from the concept of separate products and towards a more unified approach of assessing each consumer’s individual risks, and providing them with a single account that protects the things most important to them. It means providing unbiased guidance, creating a single underwriting journey, moving from commissions to a subscription fee, and (hopefully) resulting in a reduced overall cost.
  • Part of the changes we want to make to the industry will come through new technology improving the user experience and giving the consumer control over their own data. But some will also come through a new business model with less layers, and a single underwriting process leading to a single insurance account.
  • We are disrupting the industry in three ways. First, we are aiming to pass consumers’ risks as seamlessly as possible through to Gen Re, cutting out a number of layers in the value chain. Second, we want to create a single underwriting journey across all of a consumer’s risks, rather than having multiple journeys by product. And thirdly, we want to move away from commissions and towards a subscription model, which we think better aligns us with the interests of our customers.
  • Insurance is one of the biggest fixed spend of the average consumer. And often it doesn’t result getting the cover they need. We are not yet live, but our hope is that we can assist consumers to get the proper cover they need without it costing them the world.

Tom VANDENDOOREN, Chief Business Development Officer SENTIANCE

  • We apply data science to turn sensor data from smartphones and connected devices into rich behavioral and contextual insights: understanding and predicting how people go through their everyday life by mining and analysing raw sensor data. Our SaaS platform enables companies to enrich their first-party customer data with real-life behavioral data so they can deliver context-aware and highly personalised experiences. Our context intelligence platform supports solutions for Lifestyle Based Insurance, Contextual Commerce and Marketing, Smart Mobility, Connected Health, Smart Home and Smart City.
  • Ultimately, it’s all about customer experience and how companies can excel at preempting and addressing highly individual needs in the moments that matter most. At Sentiance we have coined this the ‘Internet of You’ by enabling smart connected devices and applications to learn from your behavioral patterns and interpret context and intent, so they can adjust to your specific needs in realtime.
  • We use cutting edge technology such as sensor fusion and machine learning to enable new ways to engage and deliver value to users and customers. By shifting the paradigm to behavioral and contextled propositions the core premise of many industries is being shifted as well: from marketing to engagement, from protection to prevention, from support to coaching, from service to assistance.
  • Our core purpose is to become the context engine for the Internet of You leveraging our core expertise in behavioral analytics based on observed data. We look to inspire our customers with use cases from multiple different industries and geographies, and assist them in building out deeper and more valuable relations with their endcustomers. It’s very early days, but our contribution to enabling the Internet of You will hopefully be seen as something highly positive and rewarding, to the common benefit.

Joanne DEWAR, Chief Operating Officer at Global Processing Services (GPS)

  • Creating C-Level Opportunities for Women in Fintech Fintech is seen as being both innovative and disruptive. However, could more be done in this revolutionary space to encourage females who have taken a career break from senior roles to come back to work?
  • I took a career break to be a fulltime mum. This is a hard decision many women in senior level positions make. Their professional talents are ‘lost’ in family life and their identities become more about their position at home. Returning to work can become a challenge and reclaiming those big roles can be even more difficult.
  • Some financial institutions, such as JP Morgan, have launched ‘Return to Work’ programmes, but growing fintech companies could provide more opportunities by extending their progressive ways of thinking and doing things outside the norm.
  • Research in a 2015 report entitled ‘Power Women in FinTech Index: Bridging the Gender Gap’ suggested that organisations founded by women or that champion leadership roles for women in fintech are more innovative and return better results.
  • With that in mind, I am a strong advocate for re-engaging this ‘lost’ pool of talent and creating the right opportunities to enable women – and men – to resume their careers.
  • My employer allowed me to return gradually, progressively increasing my time and responsibilities in the workplace, as the responsibilities of home life decreased and my confidence returned.
  • However, there are many barriers to address in returning to work at this level and companies need to look at what they can do to create opportunities to attract female C-level talent. There are real opportunities for financial services and technology companies to differentiate themselves and become more successful by taking advantage of this pool of lost talent. Entrepreneurs are ideas people and have the power to open more doors. Let’s get our thinking caps on!

Mihai IVASCU, CEO and Founder of Moneymailme

  • Ideas to change the world – social money transfer. The world of finance has changed almost beyond recognition in recent decades and today’s millennials are driving forward brand and product innovation as companies try to adapt to 18-35 year olds’ demands. Millennials want collaborative technology and they expect it fit in to their interconnected lifestyles. With the world becoming smaller and smaller, technology solutions must be efficient, easy to use and allow people to communicate internationally instantaneously.
  • Consumers now want, and more importantly need, to send money globally with the knowledge that their recipient will receive it immediately. In the world of FinTech, this idea of collaboration is really at the heart of it all. We believe in the power of an app to let consumers send and receive cash while chatting or video calling. Ease, speed and collaboration are key, whether sending money to friends abroad, paying back family members, donating to a charity helping to save rhinos from poachers or finding a solution to build a solar powered school in Zimbabwe.
  • This point around charity donations is very important to millennials, half of whom (48%) believe that physical money will be obsolete within 20 years and 62% of whom feel frustrated if they are forced to make purchases with cash. Our own research, which surveyed 1,000 18-25 year olds around the UK, highlighted that it is important there is transparency about where charitable donations, with over a third (35%) saying that they would use a mobile app to make donations as long as they could clearly see where the money was going. Nearly a quarter (24%) would do so as long as there was no charge.
  • So whether charity donations or micro transfers to family and friends, we believe social money transfer is the future and will change the way we interact with money and serve the millennial market.

Simon GILBERT, Managing Director and Founder at Elmore Insurance Brokers Limited

  • Don’t leave the Homeless behind We are speeding towards a cashless society. Credit & Debit cards now swipe their way through the simplest of transactions. Soon even our wallets will become exempt as contactless chips are embedded into our devices, wearables and possibly in the not too far future even into us. While this provides many benefits of convenience, a future cashless society leaves a dilemma for the unbanked homeless.
  • There are over 250,000 homeless people in the UK and over 100 million world-wide, but how will people show their spontaneous generosity in a future cashless society?
  • The Elmore Fintech Insurance Team want to change the world by bringing a robust and low cost contactless payment infrastructure to the homeless.
  • A perfect partnership between FinTech and homeless charities. Homeless people could be registered with a wearable card reader which could be biometrically authenticated to the person, at the same time a pre-paid account with the charity could be opened in the person’s name.
  • Quite simply any donation the person receives, 1/3 go to the charity to further their cause and 2/3 would be accessible in credit for the person to receive meals, clothes, blankets, and other services required in times of need.
  • Anyone could choose to donate by simply tapping the card reader which could be fixed at £5/£10 per transaction. Donors could be rewarded by governments (using a clear audit trail) for their donations by a reduction in their tax bills. Contactless payments could revolutionise people’s instinctive kindness, in a considerate and convenient way, ensuring donations make a real change when they are most needed.

The Fintech Times selects the startups accurately and strictly via recommendations of global fintech hubs, event organisers and accelerators. The list of TOP startups and ideas goes live monthly.

To find out more startups listed as TOP-10 cnahging the financial world as we know it please follow the link


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