2019 saw FinTech take root in the public consciousness more completely than any year before. Increasing public awareness and expanding cloud capabilities means that FinTech development will only continue to expand its footprint. Since the ‘second Payment Services Directive’ regulation came into force in early 2018, open banking has paved the way for even more FinTech innovation and integration. In the coming year, we expect FinTech to seal its place in the tech world and follow many of the same trends facing the tech and development industry at large.
So, as we say goodbye to 2019, we think it’s a good time to look back at some of the top FinTech companies of the year and why they’ll succeed in 2020. (This is, of course, not an exhaustive list of FinTech winners.)
Starting with the personal investment and banking category, these three companies made big strides in 2019 and are setting themselves up to be big contenders for 2020 and beyond.
First out of the gate is Nutmeg, the online investment management company based in London. They focus on helping all levels of investors with sophisticated global portfolios.
In 2019, their customer base grew to over 70,000 including investment giant Goldman Sachs. They also acquired £2.5m from crowdfunding alone (a whopping 250% of their initial target), despite not yet making a profit. Because of the crowdfunding opportunity, they are now 1% owned by customers. Nutmeg’s dedication to customer experience can be seen throughout its proposition and positioning. In fact, although Nutmeg couldn’t work as well without technology as its backbone, the investments themselves are not operated by algorithms and AI, but by a team of people. This does suggest that the public may not have fully embraced ‘robo-advice’. If that changes, could that be the tipping point investors need to see profitable results? In 2020, Nutmeg seems confident that their model won’t be shaken by any global geopolitics and, in fact, they are looking to expand further.
The next personal investment success of 2019 is Trussle, a free online mortgage broker.
Transparency is as much a core value at Trussle as it is at Funding Circle. By using a data-driven approach to connecting borrowers with mortgage lenders, Trussle has created an approach to mortgage brokerage that really attends to contemporary needs. As the freelance economy takes hold, more and more people will be looking for non-traditional mortgages that accept freelance work as stable income. Trussle has recently hired a new CTO to drive innovation and develop its offering. With a fresh perspective in the mix, Trussle is sure to push even greater boundaries in 2020.
Moving on to personal banking, this is the category of FinTech that most consumers are familiar with, thanks to their accessibility and exciting marketing campaigns.
2019 was a big year for Starling Bank, one of the UK’s leading mobile-only banking solutions.
The last year saw Starling Bank win the Smart Money People British Banking Awards in three categories: Best British Bank, Best British Banking Provider and Best British Current Account Provider. In addition to gaining many accolades, Starling had a banner year financially. Expectations are that they will become profitable in 2020. This year they are also looking to begin expanding internationally. They have proven that taking client experience seriously is necessary for success going forward.
Starling competitor Monzo had a similarly exciting 2019 and will be making its own strides in 2020.
Monzo won a Smart Money People British Banking Award in 2019 for Best Banking App. Last year, Monzo spent a fair amount of time refining and reworking the way that the app functions and the capabilities of banking with them. They came in 2nd place in the Banking Lead Table in terms of customer satisfaction. Monzo also introduced an exciting new marketing strategy in 2019 that saw them open 260,000 new accounts in a single month. Additionally, Monzo raised £113 million in new funding.
Our next solution category steers our focus away from personal solutions to business solutions, with two companies making the most out of machine learning and cloud solutions.
Receipt Bank may not seem as glitzy and glamorous as personal FinTech solutions like Starling and Monzo, but this pre-accounting business solution still had a solid 2019.
The name of the game for Receipt Bank in 2019 has been consistency. They have set a growth trajectory and been continuing along that path. Receipt Bank has seen consistent expansion into France, Australia and the US, significantly broadening their horizons. In addition, 2020 will see Receipt Bank hosting a tailor-made event for the finance industry. This consistency of growth can be attributed to Receipt Bank fully embracing ‘banking of the future’ by using cloud computing with AI and data handling.
The next success story of 2019 is Funding Circle, a UK based lending platform.
Funding Circle is a data-driven platform for connecting businesses and investors. Using data and AI, they have already connected over 75,000 businesses with funding through peer-to-peer lending. 2019 saw a record year for them both in terms of revenue and customer usage. Driven by a desire to create a more efficient and transparent money lending service, Funding Circle has created a system that makes it easy to both invest and borrow with confidence. Funding Circle exemplifies both the use of AI to create tailored experiences and a focus on the attitude of collaboration and community.
Our final category of FinTech stars from 2019 is focused on payments and transfers, meaning that these brands have international reach.
Revolut struggled for much of early 2019 among a string of bad press situations.
From advertising gone awry to a toxic startup culture, this newly EU licensed bank was hit with it all. Thankfully, they took that difficulty and made strides to improve across all of those areas. This clearly shows as this ‘tech super star’ saw record growth in 2019. In fact, they gained over 800,000 new users in just August and September of last year alone! That spike in numbers brought their total user base to over 7 million across Europe and the UK.
Fingopay is a different kind of FinTech to those we have talked about so far. Removed from the banking side of things, Fingopay is a biometric identity authentication solution.
In 2019, Fingopay was shortlisted as Industry Innovation of the Year at the 2020 Card and Payment Awards, showing that they are pushing the boundaries of what can be done with the future of biometrics. Fingopay’s VeinID scans finger vein patterns and creates a ‘digital key’ which is then stored in the cloud. Cloud computing has made the wider use of biometrics more accessible than ever for practical use. Last year, Fingopay officially launched across Manchester and Copenhagen.
TransferWise has been a familiar player in the world of FinTech for quite some time and 2019 saw no slowing down for the popular transfer solution.
Like Revolut, TransferWise is a multi-currency solution. However, TransferWise has a much wider reach, spanning across 39 international currencies. In 2019, they also introduced the ability to pay direct debits across Europe through it, eliminating confusion for people living internationally. 2020 will see TransferWise focusing even more heavily on customer experience by enhancing speed and transparency. Already, the company has seen a 9% increase in instant global transactions. As the year develops, we are sure to see interesting things coming from TransferWise.
2019 was a big year in the world of FinTech, but 2020 is already promising to be bigger, better and more interesting! Interested in what it will take to become one of the top stories of 2020? Check out this blog here about 2020 trends in FinTech.
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