The list of fintech startups — companies that combine the financial and technology industries — to keep an eye on this year is impressive. The fintech segment covers everything from payment apps like Google Wallet and Square to digital investment managers like Grow and WiseBanyan. And the list goes on because fintech categories include investing, banking, insurance, real estate, payments, money transfer and more products for both consumers and businesses.
If you’re looking to invest in a fast-growing industry this year, consider one of these nine promising fintech startups.
Compass is slowly entering the competitive real estate market — its technology-driven real estate portal competes with Trulia, Zillow, Redfin and RadPad to help consumers and realtors navigate the complex world of buying, selling and renting real estate. Compass, which is currently available in nine locations, will find a qualified agent for you or help you find an apartment or home.
Founded in 2012, the company received five funding rounds between 2012 and 2016 totaling $208 million. Recognizable investors include Goldman Sachs, Marc Benioff, Kenneth Chenault and Wellington Capital.
Compass’ marriage of top-level agents and proprietary technology sets it apart from the pack. Its access to large amounts of capital and disciplined entrance into the new market is proof of fintech’s potential.
The Square point-of-sale app enables businesses to accept payments, track sales, manage inventory and more. If you’ve shopped in a mom-and-pop store, you might have paid your bill using the ubiquitous white square device.
Jack Dorsey founded the San Francisco startup, which went public on Nov. 19, 2016. The company received $590.5 million in seven funding rounds before it went public and has completed 11 acquisitions in the past five years.
The Square retail app, launched on Feb. 8, 2017, underscores the innovativeness of this startup — it provides a full retail solution that includes inventory and retail management tools.
Stash, launched in October 2015, offers DIY investing tools and tips for people to build their own investment portfolios. If you don’t want to use preset, robo-advisor software for investing, Stash might fit the bill. You can choose from tech, healthcare, environmental, social network and globetrotter portfolios.
Stash received four rounds of funding totaling $38.75 million. Its well-known funding companies include Valar Ventures, Goodwater, Breyer and Entree Capital. In the crowded fintech investing arena — populated by Grow, Acorns, Motif, WiseBanyan and other new companies — Stash is turning heads.
As globalization continues, the demand for international money transfers is expected to expand. Transferwise offers a transparent money transfer system that enables individuals and businesses to send money abroad without hidden fees and offers fair exchange rates and low transfer charges.
In May 2016, the London-based company received its most recent Series D funding round of $26 million. The latest round capped its six funding rounds totaling $116.37 million from big-name investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Valar Ventures, Seedcamp and IA Ventures.
WiseBanyan might be a good fit if you’re searching for a small investment idea. Founded in 2013, WiseBanyan is shaking up the online investment management arena by helping you create an investment portfolio with only $1 and zero fees. WiseBanyan’s fees are lower than many robo-advisors including Wealthfront, Betterment and Acorns.
In June 2016, the company received an undisclosed amount of funding in two rounds from seven investors after its initial funding round in September 2014. As of February 2017, the company has 20,000 active customers and manages $80 million, according to its cofounder Vicki Zhou.
WiseBanyan’s app offers sophisticated computerized algorithms and consumer-friendly dashboard analytics. The $1 minimum entrance requirement and zero fee model brings this robo-advisor to the list.
If you own a vehicle but don’t drive much, Metromile might be the right auto insurance for you. Instead of paying a monthly or annual premium, Metromile charges a fee per mile to insure your vehicle.
The company received $205.5 million in funding during six rounds. The lead investor is China Pacific Insurance and others include Acequia Capital and Index Ventures.
Fast Company recently branded Metromile as one of five fintech startups to watch in 2017. Its new insurance model is making a splash with drivers who have short commutes and those who drive infrequently.
The Tilt app — a social payment platform — enables you to collect, fundraise and sell within your community. You can send and receive money, organize fundraisers and parties, and sell T-shirts and tickets to community members. Bloomberg touted Tilt as one of the fastest-growing platforms on mobile.
Acquired by Airbnb on Feb. 23, 2017, the Tilt app received $62.1 million in four funding rounds from 26 investors. Tilt plans on expanding its services — watch out for Tilt Pros for business — so it looks poised for growth in 2017.
8. Clarity Money App
Launched in April 2016, the free Clarity Money app is exploding, said chief strategy officer Marc Atiyeh. It serves as a financial concierge to analyze your spending, track bills, recommend top credit cards and set up savings accounts.
The Series A funders who took a chance on Clarity in May 2016 put up $3.5 million in one round of funding. Notable investors included ff Venture Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Soros Fund Management and Sherpa Capital.
“While Clarity isn’t alone in its consolidation of financial management tools under one umbrella, it’s certainly one of the first to market,” said partner Jeremy Levine in a recent TechCrunch interview.
Robinhood enables users to buy and sell U.S. listed stocks and ETFs with zero commission fees. Founded in 2013, this app outshines the traditional discount brokers like Schwab, Fidelity and Vanguard, all of which are in a fierce commission-lowering war. Fees for add-on services help boost the app’s bottom line.
Founded in 2013, funding came from 25 investors who put up $66 million in three rounds. The primary investors include Index Ventures and New Enterprise Associates.
Whether the bull market ends this year or not, cutting commission costs is a strategy that allows more of your money to go into stock shares instead of brokers’ pockets.
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