Yes. It's Fintech, the next generation.
London is swiftly gaining a reputation as the fintech capital of Europe. As more and more number-crunching startups settle down here, the city is carving out its own cross-industry niche. In fact, recent figures reveal that investment in financial technology in the UK's capital is growing faster than anywhere else in the world, and accounts for more than half of European investment in this sector.
1. Osper - For empowering the next generation to manage their finances
What happens when you let young people build their own bank? That's the question posed by Osper, a participant in London's first TechStars program in 2013. And by young, we’re talking back to the days of piggy banks and lemonade stands. Osper aspires to instill the next generation with the right kind of money-saving values from a young age. Founded by Alick Varma, who formerly worked at Spotify and Mendeley, the small team aims to inspire good habits in young people beyond offering a standard banking service. So far they've launched youth organisations including ShellsuitZombie, Capture Collective and Interns Experience. Backed by an impressive group of advisors, we’re excited to see this family focused venture thrive.
2. Elliptic - For preventing irreversible Bitcoin binning mishaps
A need for secure trading channels for digital currencies comes hand in hand with the need for secure places to store them. Elliptic are on the forefront of this space, working to unleash the potential of Bitcoin as the “world’s first insured storage service”. As part of London’s 2014 Seedcamp Week, the early stage company has rolled out its first product called Elliptic Vault. This service offers users 'deep cold storage’, meaning the privately encrypted key is stored offline and in a secure location. Co-founders Tom Robinson, James Smith and Adam Joyce have announced more upcoming projects, which could make this London startup a big player in the Bitcoin storage space.
3. Invoiceable - For soothing our admin headaches
There are plenty of ventures tackling the fintech scene with business administration and payment processing software. When it comes to the age-old invoice though, Invoiceable wins our vote for simplicity. The free platform allows users to create, send and manage professional looking invoices in seconds. Launched in September 2012, the company reached record growth with 26,000 registered users in two months and was rated the #1 billing and invoice app on <bestvendor.com>.
4. Iwoca - For financially supporting the eBay entrepreneur
Since its launch in March 2012, iwoca— which stands for “instant working capital”— has extended millions of pounds to online retailers selling everything from collectable stamps to handmade jewellery. As the only provider of short-term finance in this space, they aim to be the one-stop shop for small business owners using platforms like eBay and Amazon. That could mean offering support in funding, inventory, technology, recruitment or international expansion. In the UK alone, the online marketplace for independent traders turns over £10bn a year and is expected to double in the next five years. Identifying this fast-growing market, former investment banker co-founders Christoph Rieche and partner James Dear left their the City to embark on a mission to revolutionise business finance for the independent ecommerce trader.
5. PixelPin - For letting us use real life to sign in to digital life
Hopefully making the tedious "forgot password?" routine a thing of the past, PixelPin allows you to choose four allocated points on a photograph to log in. Creating a personalised and user-friendly way to authenticate yourself online, their technology reduces fraud and increases activity with security up to a banking level standard. The first business ever to secure £150,000 in private equity through Seedrs and selected for this year’s FinTech Innovation Lab, this is surely one London startup to watch.
6. Coinfloor - For securing the Bitcoin trading lane
The problem with cryptocurrencies is exactly how it sounds— they’re rather cryptic. With their unclear origins and fluctuating legal structures, being able to spend money without any institutional involvement is a source of confusion or many. However, Bitcoin is unstoppably on the rise (you can now pay for your flat white with a digital wallet in Shoreditch) along with the increasing need for secure marketplaces. Founded late 2012, Coinfloor is a VC-backed Bitcoin trading platform that offers expertise in this relatively new area. Priding itself as being a British based, sterling denominated venture that is strictly anti-money laundering, the company focuses on security, regulation, and legitimacy. But just a little something to disclose - Transferwise’s co-founder Taveet Hinrikus is an investor.
7. Ringpay - For making small transactions smarter
At Transferwise we're all for going cash7less, which is why we’re fans of this forward-thinking venture that allows your phone to act as a digital wallet and a point of sale. Ringpay is a member of Canary Wharf Group's Level39 accelerator and has built technology that's patent pending. It can be used for smaller transfers by shops, non-profits as well as peer-to-peer transactions through its own platform and mobile apps. Varying in stage and size and ranging from business admin to BitCoin, these fintech stars are just some of the ventures helping to establish London’s booming financial startup ecosystem. What other companies would you add to the list?