Top 10 FinTech Unicorns
FinTech Magazine looks at the most innovative companies to achieve 'Unicorn Status'.
10 | Lemonade
Lemonade, the contents and liability insurance company targeted at urban residents is a certified B-Corporation that focuses on giving back through charity donations from leftover money in the user’s insurance pool. It functions in reverse to the traditional insurance model by taking a flat fee, paying claims within minutes and giving any leftover money to causes. In addition, like many finance companies today, Lemonade has an AI bot, Maya, integrated into its messaging services to provide quotes and advice, allowing customers to get insured in a matter of seconds.
Headquarters: New York, NY, US
9 | Monzo
One in 20 adults in the UK carry Monzo’s hot-coral-coloured card in their wallet, and with over 55,000 individuals signing up every week, this number is only set to increase. Monzo achieved unicorn status in 2018, following an £85mn fundraising round from US venture capital investors. The digital-only bank has disrupted the payment space with its commitment to helping customers be smarter with money. A particularly interesting feature of Monzo is that it has a block feature for gambling, which was a tremendous success with over 140,000 individuals using it in October 2019. According to an interview with Wired, CEO Tom Blomfield hopes to move onto a junkfood block. Monzo was also one of the first digital banks to offer “pots” within a customer's account, which can be customised around its purpose to the customer.
8 | Brex
Brex was founded in 2017 by Pedro Franceschi and Henrique Dubugras, who both moved to Silicon Valley in order to create the service for entrepreneurs. In 2018, Brex launched its first corporate card for startups, following a $57mn round of funding. Soon after, it introduced its rewards programme, and announced a partnership with TravelBank to allow Brex users to book travel directly through its platform. In 2019, the fintech launched a corporate card for ecommerce companies, as well as announcing a number of new partnerships including one with Clear Channel, which enables it to offer discounted advertising.
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA, US
7 | TransferWise
Overseas transfer fees add up. No one knows this better than TransferWise’s founders, Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus, who developed the concept for their service as they were losing out to fees when transferring money between Estonia and the UK. The money transfer service, which was founded in 2010, has since expanded to six million customers, who collectively send a total of over US$4bn each month. Instead of creating its own rate, TransferWise works off of the bank transfer rate of the day, offering the best possible rate across 750 currencies.
Headquarters: London, UK
6 | Toast
As the name may imply, Toast specialises in food and, more importantly, restaurants of all sizes. The American cloud-based restaurant software company leverages PoS, front and back of house, as well as customer interfaces in order to provide excellent customer service. Originally launched in 2013 by Steve Fredette, Aman Narang, and Jonathan Grimm in Narang’s basement, today Toast has over 2,000 employees across 230 US locations, working with more than 70 partners in order to improve services from loyalty rewards through to payroll, for any type of eatery.
Headquarters: Boston, MA, US
5 | Klarna
As of August 2019 , Klarna was the largest fintech in Europe, following a US$460mn round of funding. Clocking in at a valuation of $5.5bn, the company continues to grow exponentially, with the addition of 50,000 new customers each week, who choose to pay for items 30 days later, or divide the cost across three months with Klarna’s 1,500 retailers. One of Klarna’s most notable partners is ASOS, the online-only retailer that is reputed for its free delivery and returns, providing the financial services company with access to an additional 80 million active customers across 250 countries.
4 | Robinhood
The English folk hero has never looked more modern, or American. Robinhood is the California-based FinTech that allows its users to invest in public companies and exchange-traded funds on US stock exchanges without paying commission, foreign exchange fees or account minimums. It also enables them to purchase cryptocurrencies and now has a range of banking products that include checking and savings accounts and debits. In the two years since the company was founded by Baiju Bhatt and Vladimir Tenev, it has grown to serve six million users.
Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA, US
3 | NuBank
Brazillians pay some of the highest fees and interest rates in the world for what is often considered poor banking services. For this reason, Nubank offers its customers a free account, with no maintenance fees. Nubank is the third bank in Brazil to achieve unicorn status after achieving a valuation of US$1bn in 2018. It was founded in 2013 by David Velez, Edward Wible and Cristina Junqueira, before becoming active in 2014. The bank is headquartered in São Paulo, Brazil, and serves Brazil, Mexico and Argentina with digital accounts, credit cards and personal loans. In October 2019, Vélez revealed that the bank now has over 15mn users.
Headquarters: São Paulo, Brazil
2 | One97 Communications
|One97, India’s largest marketplace clocks in at a valuation of US$10bn. With its slogan “Mobile First. Mobile Always”, mobile access has always been at the core of the company’s business since its founding in 2000 by Vijay Shekhar Sharma, when it started out as a prepaid mobile and DTH recharge platform. Today, One97 Communications is best known for its flagship brand, Paytm, which services over 350 million users across a platform that is available in 11 Indian Languages. Contained to a QR code, a massive range of products can be paid for through the platform from over seven million merchants, from bills to shopping, through to parking, pharmacies and educational institutions.
Headquarters: Noida, India
1 | Stripe
Stripe has skyrocketed to prominence, topping our list by the billions with a whopping US$35.5bn valuation. “The complete toolkit for internet business” was originally created by Patrick and John Collison in 2010 in San Francisco and initially started off by providing solutions for SMEs who required assistance in navigating the payments industry. Stripe drives to provide a complete product that allows users to create complex billing systems; connect buyers and sellers; use SQL-powered analytics, while also incorporating fraud detection tools. Additionally, it allows for the creation, issuing and distribution of cards. As a result, it is perhaps unsurprising that today it is used by over 100,000 companies, including tech giants Amazon and Microsoft, helping the company achieve its overall goal of increasing GDP of the internet.
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA, US