The exciting and growing area of financial technology (fintech) saw huge investment and expansion in 2014. This trend is set to continue in 2015 and as more fintech companies emerge this year, offering smarter, cheaper and easier payment and finance solutions, the companies that have already hit headlines and peaked our interest during accelerators and funding rounds in 2014 may also be worth keeping track of in 2015.
WePay is an online payment service provider in the US. Founded in 2008, the company are backed by funding programme YCombinator and raised $15m in 2014. WePay aims to dominate the online payments for platforms sector and have ploughed their money into their payments API which enables platforms such as crowdfunding sites to collect payments from a large number of customer and distribute them to a smaller number of merchants. Figures show that in 2013, the API which launched in 2012 had been adopted by 300 platforms and revenue grew by 600 per cent.
Zipmark is a mobile payments transaction platform that enables businesses to send and receive digital checks securely. Zipmark offers a solution to small businesses that are often left waiting several days for payment, by moving check payments online and processing them overnight. Founded in 2013, the company have already agreed to the terms of acquiring billing and accounting solution, WorkingPoint in November 2014, creating an all-in-one payment platform for SMEs.
Founded in 2006 under the name Plastyc, Banking Up (as it has been known since last year) provides basic financial services to the underbanked and working poor. The Banking Up platform enables businesses and financial institutions to deliver better banking and payment services to consumers via mobile and web. The company were also one of three contractors awarded a project in the field of innovative payments by the US Department of the Treasury in November 2014.
Using natural language processing and artificial intelligence, FinGenius processes unstructured data for banks. The propriety technology of the London brand management company which gained recognition through Accenture’s Fintech Innovation Lab London 2014 and Level39, enables financial organisations to answer questions and queries from customers and employees instantly without having to rely on call centres or help desks.
Named as one of bobsguide’s Startupbootcamp FinTech: ones to watch in 2014, Epiphyte provides software and consulting to enable banks to legally manage Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency platforms. As well as being one of the winning Satartupbootcamp FinTech companies, Epiphyte also won the Innotribe Startup Challenge 2014 and already has banks in America and South-East Asia on board.
Square provides a point-of-sale platform that enables customers to use their credit card at all sized shops. To get started all that’s needed is an app and an account to start accepting payments, then Square sends a mobile-compatible credit reader to anyone for free. After a $100m round in September 2014, the company is now worth $6bn.
UK start-up Osper, provides a prepaid Debit Card for under 18’s with a mobile banking app for the whole family. The start-up closed a £6m funding round in June 2014, led by Index Ventures who previously backed SoundCloud and Etsy. Its pre-paid Deit Card is backed by MasterCard, and the accounts have no overdraft or credit so the young person can only spend what they have in stores, online and to withdraw cash from ATMs.
Other start-ups to watch in 2015
The finalists for Accenture’s Fintech Innovation Lab 2015 were also announced this week and could also be ones to watch this year. The companies taking part in this year’s program are, Atsora, Cytora, Duco, PontusVision, Ripjar, Torusware and xWare42.
By Nicole Miskelly, bobsguide Lead Journalist