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Top 10 fintech disruptors

FinTech Magazine takes a look at 10 companies that are at the forefront of fintech disruption

10 | Kabbage

Kabbage is a cash flow technology company for small businesses. The Forbes Fintech 50 2019-listed company, formed in 2008, valued at more than US$1bn, uses innovative AI technology to make small business lending both more efficient and more profitable. It is capable of making loan decisions in 10 minutes, rather than the weeks that banks take. According to a survey by the Federal Reserve Banks survey on small businesses, online lender use has grown exponentially, from 19% in 2016 to 32% last year, meaning business looks good for Kabbage. Since it was formed, the fintech has lent as much as $8bn and continues to evolve rapidly as it launches new cash flow needs prediction tools. 

 

HQ: Atlanta, GA, US

Market Valuation: US$1.2bn

9 | Chime

Chime was formed with the mission of creating financial peace of mind. It also happens to be the fastest-growing mobile banking challenger in the US, having acquired unicorn status earlier this year after finaling a US$200mn fundraiser that placed it above its peers in the summer. In a world where many laud their digital disruption credentials, Chime is more than capable of walking the walk. It was co-founded in 2013 by CEO Chris Britt and CTO Ryan King, who wanted to find a new approach to improving financial literacy; it’s app already has around three mn users; it offers no-hidden-fees banking and an automatic savings account; and it lets users get paid early thanks to its instant direct deposits - yes, really. 

 

HQ: San Francisco, CA, US

Market Valuation: US$1.5bn

8 | Revolut 

Revolut is, for many, the go-to disruptor bank. And there's a good reason for that. Each month, 600,000 people open an account with the digital challenger bank to spend and manage their money. That’s an impressive statistic, whatever your metrics. But, considering that Revolut started only four years ago with the promise of never stopping moving forwards, it’s hardly surprising. The UK-based fintech was founded by Vlad Yatsenko and Nikolay Storonsky in July 2015 and today it has more than seven million customers worldwide. It offers a host of innovative digital banking services, including a prepaid debit card, currency exchange services, cryptocurrency exchange and peer-to-peer payments, all through its app. For the majority of those services, it also refuses to charge fees.

 

HQ: London, UK

Market Valuation: US$1.7bn

7 | Oscar Health

Oscar Health applies big data and machine learning to the enviable vision of reinventing preventative health care management, with a view to making it more transparent, safer and cheaper. The company was founded in 2013 by Josh Kushner, Mario Schlosser and Kevin Nazemi, each of whom had disruption firmly in mind. At the end of last year its was valued at upwards of US$3bn and is continuing to gain members rapidly. Schlosser has gone on record stating that increasing knowledge and options for those seeking health insurance can change the entire health system for the better, noting that change can be brought about through ‘engagement technology’. 

 

HQ: New York, NY, US

Market Valuation: $3bn approx

6 | Circle

Peer-to-peer payments company, Circle, was founded in 2013 by Jeremy Allaire and Sean Neville; today it is worth close to US$3bn. The business has been a leader in the field of crypto technologies since its founding; it received the first BitLicense issued by New York State’s Department of Financial Services in 2015 and received the first virtual currency license issued by the British government a year later. Today, the company offers a platform to individuals, institutions and entrepreneurs who want to build businesses, invest and raise capital with open crypto technologies in a bid to develop and implement next-generation blockchain technology. Circle partnered this year with Coinbase to develop an ethereum blockchain-based USDC coin, and is backed by the likes of Goldman Sachs. 

 

HQ: Boston, MA, US

Market Valuation: US$3bn

5 | Credit Karma

Credit Karma is just over 10 years old. And yet, the credit and financial management platform has 100mn users and counting.The company was co-founded by Kenneth Lin, Ryan Graciano and Nichole Mustard in 2007 under the belief that “everyone deserves to feel confident about their finances” and that financial progress should be possible for everyone. Credit Karma offers a comprehensive credit score and financial management platform to users, as well as several associated services. Crucially, every service that the company offers is free and, as it states on its website, this will always be the case. In October this year it was announced that Credit Karma is considering entering the UK sector to offer consumers its unique blend of personalised and education credit reporting services.

 

HQ: San Francisco, CA, US

Market Valuation: US$3.5bn

4 | N26

Disruptive challenger bank, N26, was founded in 2013 by Valentin Stalf and Maximillian Tayenthal; the N26 Mastercard was officially launched in 2015. Speed, ease of use and customer centricity define the N26 banking experience, where customers can access every aspect of their finances through their mobile, removing the need for desktops, laptops and banks altogether. N26 users can sign up for an account in minutes; “no paperwork, no fuss”, as it explains. Users will receive no fees on card payments abroad, they can control account security through the app and they are able to set aside funds or set out specific financial goals through ‘Spaces’ sub accounts and use services such as Apple Pay. Little wonder, then, that it boasts a customer base of more than 3.5 million people across 24 European countries. 

 

HQ: Berlin, Germany

Market Valuation: US$3.5bn

3 | Transferwise

Unlike banks, which often have high charges for overseas transfers, Transferwise doesn’t. That’s the premise that founders Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus - who, incidentally, was the first employee at Skype - formed the business under, driven by their own experiences with transferring money between Estonia and London. It’s worked. The business has grown rapidly since, with around six million customers reportedly sending more than US$4bn each month through its platform. Transferwise uses machine learning technology to create a world for “people without borders”. For transfers, it charges the day’s bank exchange rate, offering the best possible rate; customers can receive money with international bank details, track transactions via mobile notifications and spend with a free debit Mastercard.

 

HQ: London, UK

Market Valuation: US$3.5bn

2 | Robinhood

It’s time to do money. A short, sharp introduction to Robinhood, a pioneer of the commission-free investing fintech model. Founded in 2013 by Baiju Bhatt and Vladimir Tenev, the California-based fintech lets users invest in public companies and exchange traded funds on US stock exchanges without paying commission, foreign exchange fees or account minimums, it enables the purchasing of cryptocurrencies and - in December of 2018 - began rolling out a range of banking services too. So far, these include checking and savings accounts, as well as debit cards. Earlier this year, Robinhood revealed it had doubled its users on the previous 12 months to around six mn. Much like its namesake, the company remains dedicated to providing for the many, not the few. 

 

HQ: Menlo Park, CA, US

Market Valuation: US$5.6bn

1 | Stripe

It’s hard to deny the rise of online payment innovator Stripe. The San Francisco-based fintech is behind a suite of online payment solutions, which it refers to a “the complete toolkit for internet business”, originally designed for small businesses navigating their way round ecommerce - today it’s used by tech giants such as Amazon and Microsoft. The business was founded by Patrick and John Collison, who wanted to make life simpler for those new online businesses looking to establish online billing and payment systems. Fast forward nine years and it’s now a featured company on the Forbes Fintech 50 list of the most innovative companies in fintech and recognised as one of the most highly valued private fintech companies in the US (as of 2019). 

 

HQ: San Francisco, CA, US

Market Valuation: US$1.4bn

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10 | Kabbage

Kabbage is a cash flow technology company for small businesses. The Forbes Fintech 50 2019-listed company, formed in 2008, valued at more than US$1bn, uses innovative AI technology to make small business lending both more efficient and more profitable. It is capable of making loan decisions in 10 minutes, rather than the weeks that banks take. According to a survey by the Federal Reserve Banks survey on small businesses, online lender use has grown exponentially, from 19% in 2016 to 32% last year, meaning business looks good for Kabbage. Since it was formed, the fintech has lent as much as $8bn and continues to evolve rapidly as it launches new cash flow needs prediction tools. 

 

HQ: Atlanta, GA, US

Market Valuation: US$1.2bn

9 | Chime

Chime was formed with the mission of creating financial peace of mind. It also happens to be the fastest-growing mobile banking challenger in the US, having acquired unicorn status earlier this year after finaling a US$200mn fundraiser that placed it above its peers in the summer. In a world where many laud their digital disruption credentials, Chime is more than capable of walking the walk. It was co-founded in 2013 by CEO Chris Britt and CTO Ryan King, who wanted to find a new approach to improving financial literacy; it’s app already has around three mn users; it offers no-hidden-fees banking and an automatic savings account; and it lets users get paid early thanks to its instant direct deposits - yes, really. 

 

HQ: San Francisco, CA, US

Market Valuation: US$1.5bn

8 | Revolut 

Revolut is, for many, the go-to disruptor bank. And there's a good reason for that. Each month, 600,000 people open an account with the digital challenger bank to spend and manage their money. That’s an impressive statistic, whatever your metrics. But, considering that Revolut started only four years ago with the promise of never stopping moving forwards, it’s hardly surprising. The UK-based fintech was founded by Vlad Yatsenko and Nikolay Storonsky in July 2015 and today it has more than seven million customers worldwide. It offers a host of innovative digital banking services, including a prepaid debit card, currency exchange services, cryptocurrency exchange and peer-to-peer payments, all through its app. For the majority of those services, it also refuses to charge fees.

 

HQ: London, UK

Market Valuation: US$1.7bn

7 | Oscar Health

Oscar Health applies big data and machine learning to the enviable vision of reinventing preventative health care management, with a view to making it more transparent, safer and cheaper. The company was founded in 2013 by Josh Kushner, Mario Schlosser and Kevin Nazemi, each of whom had disruption firmly in mind. At the end of last year its was valued at upwards of US$3bn and is continuing to gain members rapidly. Schlosser has gone on record stating that increasing knowledge and options for those seeking health insurance can change the entire health system for the better, noting that change can be brought about through ‘engagement technology’. 

 

HQ: New York, NY, US

Market Valuation: $3bn approx

6 | Circle

Peer-to-peer payments company, Circle, was founded in 2013 by Jeremy Allaire and Sean Neville; today it is worth close to US$3bn. The business has been a leader in the field of crypto technologies since its founding; it received the first BitLicense issued by New York State’s Department of Financial Services in 2015 and received the first virtual currency license issued by the British government a year later. Today, the company offers a platform to individuals, institutions and entrepreneurs who want to build businesses, invest and raise capital with open crypto technologies in a bid to develop and implement next-generation blockchain technology. Circle partnered this year with Coinbase to develop an ethereum blockchain-based USDC coin, and is backed by the likes of Goldman Sachs. 

 

HQ: Boston, MA, US

Market Valuation: US$3bn

5 | Credit Karma

Credit Karma is just over 10 years old. And yet, the credit and financial management platform has 100mn users and counting.The company was co-founded by Kenneth Lin, Ryan Graciano and Nichole Mustard in 2007 under the belief that “everyone deserves to feel confident about their finances” and that financial progress should be possible for everyone. Credit Karma offers a comprehensive credit score and financial management platform to users, as well as several associated services. Crucially, every service that the company offers is free and, as it states on its website, this will always be the case. In October this year it was announced that Credit Karma is considering entering the UK sector to offer consumers its unique blend of personalised and education credit reporting services.

 

HQ: San Francisco, CA, US

Market Valuation: US$3.5bn

4 | N26

Disruptive challenger bank, N26, was founded in 2013 by Valentin Stalf and Maximillian Tayenthal; the N26 Mastercard was officially launched in 2015. Speed, ease of use and customer centricity define the N26 banking experience, where customers can access every aspect of their finances through their mobile, removing the need for desktops, laptops and banks altogether. N26 users can sign up for an account in minutes; “no paperwork, no fuss”, as it explains. Users will receive no fees on card payments abroad, they can control account security through the app and they are able to set aside funds or set out specific financial goals through ‘Spaces’ sub accounts and use services such as Apple Pay. Little wonder, then, that it boasts a customer base of more than 3.5 million people across 24 European countries. 

 

HQ: Berlin, Germany

Market Valuation: US$3.5bn

3 | Transferwise

Unlike banks, which often have high charges for overseas transfers, Transferwise doesn’t. That’s the premise that founders Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus - who, incidentally, was the first employee at Skype - formed the business under, driven by their own experiences with transferring money between Estonia and London. It’s worked. The business has grown rapidly since, with around six million customers reportedly sending more than US$4bn each month through its platform. Transferwise uses machine learning technology to create a world for “people without borders”. For transfers, it charges the day’s bank exchange rate, offering the best possible rate; customers can receive money with international bank details, track transactions via mobile notifications and spend with a free debit Mastercard.

 

HQ: London, UK

Market Valuation: US$3.5bn

2 | Robinhood

It’s time to do money. A short, sharp introduction to Robinhood, a pioneer of the commission-free investing fintech model. Founded in 2013 by Baiju Bhatt and Vladimir Tenev, the California-based fintech lets users invest in public companies and exchange traded funds on US stock exchanges without paying commission, foreign exchange fees or account minimums, it enables the purchasing of cryptocurrencies and - in December of 2018 - began rolling out a range of banking services too. So far, these include checking and savings accounts, as well as debit cards. Earlier this year, Robinhood revealed it had doubled its users on the previous 12 months to around six mn. Much like its namesake, the company remains dedicated to providing for the many, not the few. 

 

HQ: Menlo Park, CA, US

Market Valuation: US$5.6bn

1 | Stripe

It’s hard to deny the rise of online payment innovator Stripe. The San Francisco-based fintech is behind a suite of online payment solutions, which it refers to a “the complete toolkit for internet business”, originally designed for small businesses navigating their way round ecommerce - today it’s used by tech giants such as Amazon and Microsoft. The business was founded by Patrick and John Collison, who wanted to make life simpler for those new online businesses looking to establish online billing and payment systems. Fast forward nine years and it’s now a featured company on the Forbes Fintech 50 list of the most innovative companies in fintech and recognised as one of the most highly valued private fintech companies in the US (as of 2019). 

 

HQ: San Francisco, CA, US

Market Valuation: US$1.4bn

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