Fintech startups to watch in 2019

Written by Ben Alexander

#startups #innovation #PSD2

UK startups and scale-ups remained centre stage for European VC investors in 2018, attracting £1.4 billion in investments in the 3 months to September, up nearly 7% on the same quarter year-on-year (KPMG Enterprise, Q3 2018), securing more than double its nearest national competitor, Germany.

The Fintech industry, in particular, has continued to demonstrate growth, reflected by increased deal sizes as the sector matures and more established players seek to scale, both geographically and horizontally. Putting aside uncertainty over Brexit and the macro-economy, here’s who we’re tipping to thrive in 2019!

Fintech

Truelayer

London-based Fintech Truelayer, founded just 2 years ago, is an early mover in Open Banking and the complementary Payments Services Directive (PSD2) arena - where Retail Banks are obliged to open up access to customers' account information.

They’ve built an API ecosystem to help fellow Fintechs access customers' banking information across multiple institutions (ahem GDPR, with the customer’s permission...) without having to design and build their own systems and infrastructure.

Truelayer’s turnkey ‘Data API’ provides access to customers’ identities balances and transactions data in their accounts. The soon-to-launch ‘Payments API’ plans to let users "transfer funds directly from their bank account, as an alternative to card payments and direct debits."

With the burgeoning innovation and plethora of the UK Fintech community, spanning lenders, personal finance apps, accounting applications, and crowdfunding to name just a few, Truelayer looks to have huge scope for growth.

Truelayer

Monese

It might not have had the same amount of coverage as others but, under the radar, Monese was the UK’s first mobile-only bank way back in 2015!

When founder Norris Koppel first moved to Britain he faced a frighteningly prevalent challenge: with no credit history or utility bills proving his address, he couldn’t open a bank account - consequently, he found it near impossible to receive a salary or rent accommodation.

Monese solves this dilemma by allowing anyone to open a bank account almost immediately without the need for a home address, a feature that no other bank at the time was able to offer.

In turn, Monese’s no-nonsense, pain-solving proposition has delivered enviable acquisition growth, and retention as the holy grail ‘Primary Account’, via educated migrants and overseas students alongside driving rapid expansion across 20 countries, culminating in more than 400,000 account holders. We predict good times ahead for 2019 for Monese.

Monese

PensionBee

In a similar vein for straightforward, problem-solving propositions, we love PensionBee’s approach: “PensionBee combines all your old pensions into one new online plan”.

As employment patterns evolve with people moving companies more frequently, the rise of the gig economy, and regulatory auto-enrolment into company schemes, the unwitting consequence has been increased complexity - it’s become common for people to have multiple, small pension pots scattered around. Keeping track is hard and relatively high fund charges can undermine the return on those savings.

That’s where Pensionbee comes in to play. App-users can consolidate multiple pension pots at no initial cost into a choice of 3 investment plans, managed by some of the largest fund managers globally, according to your risk appetite. Once you’re signed up, you can see your current balance, projected retirement income and set up regular contributions via iOS or Android apps. Simple.

PensionBee have grown their customer numbers impressively to more than 120,000 and established partnerships with the likes of Starling Bank’s Marketplace and are clearly going places.

PensionBee

As a Fintech specialist, Digital Risks have worked with leading underwriters to build a bespoke PSD2 insurance policy to meet the regulatory requirements for payment initiation and account information service providers.

Tail

Tail might change your perspective of how Open Banking and PSD2 can be applied in the consumer space, ushering in ever-more convenient and customer-friendly services.

Currently integrated via Starling Bank’s and Monzo’s APIs, and available on iOS and Android, Tail gives you cashback when you spend at London’s latest and greatest restaurants. Customers can browse and redeem curated offers in-app with discounts and savings applied to your account at regular intervals.

We expect to see significant growth in Open Banking innovation during 2019, particularly in the development of Challenger Banks’ marketplaces, where they seek to grow and retain their customer bases through community-enhancing strategic partnerships. Watch this space.

Tail

Akoni

Akoni helps SMEs select the best possible rates for their savings with the bold promise of “Earn 10x more interest on your business cash”.

That’s right, Akoni are a leading proponent of the Open Banking and PSD2 sphere. Their platform gives you a consolidated view of the cash held in each of your business bank accounts. But here’s the clever bit: every day Akoni’s algorithm scans the marketplace, covering more than 300 products from 70 leading banks to find the best options. It’s then up to you to choose the best products for your cash requirements and start earning more.

This type of application of Open Banking is something of a standard-bearer for the increased ‘democratisation’ of banking services, with small businesses now better able to access savings rates and act, a domain that previously seemed the preserve of large institutional investors.

Akoni was named by Harrington Starr as one of the most influential Fintech companies of 2018 and we see them consolidating this reputation further in 2019.

Akoni

Craft Gin Club

Confession time, it’s not a Fintech. But it is a startup. We stumbled across this during the inevitable Christmas shopping frenzy and thought we’d share it with you!

Craft Gin Club is a subscription service helping consumers discover the best premium gin brands at home. Simply choose the frequency, according to your thirst, that you’d like to receive a delivery, and you’ll receive one of the world’s finest small-batch gins - including rare and exclusive editions not available elsewhere - paired with a selection of delicious mixers and treats.

Craft Gin Club

Here’s to a Merry Christmas!

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