12 Top London FinTech Disruptors To Watch In 2018
FinTech is booming in the UK. London’s Silicon Roundabout - just down from our offices - is bustling with startups transforming the technologies and customer experience behind financial services. Last year, PitchBook estimated that the sector attracted £1.34bn in funding in the UK. That’s almost half of the £2.99bn that was invested across all tech UK companies. It’s still growing too, as new opportunities - such as Open Banking (aka PSD2) removes the barriers to customers and their data.
Here’s a lowdown of some of the most exciting FinTech companies around London right now: from the young disruptors to the later stage almost-unicorns eyeing an IPO.
Truelayer builds APIs to allow FinTech businesses to access customer banking information and integrate with their accounts. Founded by Silicon Valley VC Francesco Simoneschi, they have raised $4.5 million of funding through two rounds from the likes of Connect Ventures and Anthemis Group.
Truelayer is building a bridge. It’s positioned itself as a simple way to break down barriers to Open Banking and PSD2, making it simple for young startups to access data - without the cost or hassle of integration. It’s not only a massive opportunity, their approach should create a step-change in Open Banking innovation, and put pressure on banks to create better, more innovative customer experiences.
Trussle is the UK’s first online mortgage broker. It makes the process of finding and securing the right mortgage for their consumers, as easy as possible.
Trussle are really thinking about consumer needs to provide a perfect mortgage offer. They sift through more than 11,000 mortgage deals from 90 lenders. But they don’t just stop at securing the deal for you. They also continue to monitor the market and provide you with the opportunity to switch to a more suitable mortgage deal at a later stage in the process.
Atom is the latest in a series of digital-only challenger banks coming to market. They were one of the first to receive a licence - in June 2015, and launched services by April 2016. Founded by Anthony Thomson ex co-founder of Metro Bank, it has raised £234m to date.
Atom is directly targeting the user experience. It’s mission is to ‘reinvent the relationship that people have with money’. They focus on personalised and convenient services - through mobile, and leveraging AI and biometrics to make the banking experience better. Its phenomenal popularity should be a strong signal for incumbent banks that user experience is paramount.
Like Atom Bank, Tandem has a full banking licence, having acquired Harrods Bank last year.
Tandem have had their difficulties, losing their licence following a £35m funding round from House of Fraiser Group falling through in March last year. So far, Tandem has raised over £25 million from investors including eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, £1 million through crowdfunding on Seedrs in 2016. They announced in September last year that they were buying loss-making Harrods Bank, allowing them to regain a licence, while Quatari owners injected £80m of new capital into the deal.
Tandem go a little further than Atom in their customer experience offer - and we think it’s a glimpse of the future. They find you better deals so you can save on bills, and provide an excellent customer experience via the app. But do people really want this stuff? One stat is all you need on that. They have a 27,000+ waitlist.
Nutmeg founder Nick Hungerford started the company to create more accessible investment management services. It offers services from just £1000, and sets saving goals for users too. Nutmeg was founded in 2011, and has a rumoured £400m total assets under management.
Nutmeg took investments to a mass market, cutting costs through ‘robo-advising’. It was first to market. It got high profile investors, including Schoders, which allowed it to advertise heavilty to London commters to gain market share.
The city believes that Nutmeg has proved the model, but now needs to scale to really take on the banks in a meaningful way. Martin Stead has recently replaced Nick Hungerford as CEO.
Circle is a peer-to-peer payment platform. Customers can use iOS and Android device - now iMessages too - to send and recieve payments in euros. The company has raised $136m in four rounds so far.
Their ambitions are lofty and exciting. Clear wants to change our relationship with money in the same way that email changed the way we communicate. They want to enable funds to be sent to anyone, anywhere, quickly and free. Allaire, chief executive of Circle believes that “Making payments should be as easy as using social media,”
Cleo is an AI chatbot pegged to replace your banking apps (especially now, with Open Banking). It uses Facebook Messenger, and allows you to chat, asking simple questions like “how much have I spent on lunch this month…” (lunch is a serious focus at Think Plan Thrive). Founded last year by Barney Hussey-Yeo and Aleksandra Woziniak following a stint in the EF acceleration programme. They’ve raised $2m so far.
AI gets a little too much hype in our book. Expectations and reality are too far apart - ask anyone with an Amazon Dot. And though chat bots don’t solve all ills, these little, specific interactions can bring consumers a much more human experience. Done right, we believe that tech like Cleo will help people look after their money better, understand how to invest, borrow and manage through conversations not endless smallprint.
Curve, the London fintech startup that offers a platform that lets you consolidate all your bank cards into a single Curve card and manage your money, is on the verge of closing $10 million in Series A funding.
Curve have been highly-strategic within both the development of their offering and also their investment raises. They have positioned themselves perfectly for partnership with large banks in a number of different ways - one being that they are giving banks a way to get ready for the competitive landscape PSD2 will bring. Their investors include InnoVentures - the venture arm of a multinational bank Santander - and there are rumours flying around that they’re already building something together.
DoPay was Founded by Dutch serial entrepreneur Frans van Eersel in 2013. The company works from Level39 in Canary Wharf and has raised $6.5 million of investment so far. They have built a cloud-based payroll platform which allows employers to pay people who don't have a bank account. They make it happen without anyone having to deal in cash.
DoPay has a mission to ‘bank the unbanked’ - a huge and currently completely underserved market. Currently, two billion people worldwide have jobs but no bank account.
The company is committed to transforming the lives of people without access to banking alongside their employers who, in employing these people, currently are faced with managing large amounts of cash, which is costly and inconvenient.
YoYo Wallet was born out of our own Imperial Business School. A payment system and a loyalty scheme, YoYo negates the need for cash or coffee stamps, using a mobile app and QR codes to process payments. It’s the fastest growing mobile wallet in Europe. Last year co-founders Michael Rolph and Alain Falys raised £12m, and expanded their reach to 300 corporate offices and 70 universities in the UK.
Why is this interesting?
YoYo is convenient, especially for campus environments. It’s analytics allows the team to predict user behaviour, to push personalised offers to consumers. The value of the data is at the heart of their commercial model, and we expect them to leverage the advantages they can bring to customer loyalty over the next year.
TransferWise have been valued at over $1.6 billion after just seven years in business. Their offering is a means to transfer money across borders up to eight times cheaper than if you did it through a bank. They have achieved this by setting up local bank accounts across the world - so, for example, to send money to France from the UK you will in reality be paying into TransferWise’s UK bank account and then receiving a payment form their French account.
TransferWise have recently launched a ‘borderless’ account and credit card. The account allows customers to spend in local currency anywhere in the world. They are moving from being a money transfer service, to disrupting the banking industry, in competition with a number of other challenger banks (including Revolut, below).
Digital challenger bank, Revolut, has secured millions in new funding from top investors to fuel ambitious expansion plans. The startup has raised $66m (£51m) in a series B from existing investors Balderton Capital, Index Ventures and Ribbit Capital in the latest sign of investor appetite for startups looking to take on the big banks.
Aware that competition is hotting up, Revolut are putting a great deal of effort into honing their proposition, alongside how they deliver the most value to users and the customer experience. From undercutting competition (even Transferwise) by offering up to £5000 in transfers completely free, to integrating a “turbo” option which allows customers to transfer money overseas in one to two business days for a flat fee of £5 per transaction.