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The most innovative firms in finance

There are many
places you can look to find leadership in the FinTech community.

One of the most reliable
sources is IDC’s annual FinTech100 listing  if you want to find the leaders in finance and

The 2012 listing confirms
FIS in top spot again with TCS, First Data and Cognizant all rising up the top

These may be the
strongest Fintech firms, but not necessarily those where the most innovation is
being demonstrated.

You tend to find
that in other places …

… such as Finovate’s conferences.

For example, this
year’s Finovate Europe had seven best in show winners, namely:

  • Credit-Agricole for
    its app store where it is wooing outside developers
  • ETRONIKA for
    its BANKTRON e-channel management platform
  • mBank with Efigence for their Facebook
    & social platform 
  • Meniga for its PFM platform, including "buy" vs "not
    buy" feature
  • Moven (Movenbank) for the worldwide launch of
    its mobile-optimized bank
  • Pockets
     for its group purchasing mobile solution
  • SumUp for its mobile point-of-sale system
  • Virtual
     for its kids' payment system with parental controls

Add these to the winners
in New York :

  • Credit
     for its Financial Fitness Indicator that gives
    users a comprehensive view of their financial situation
  • Dashlane for
    its instant login and checkout feature
  • Dynamics for
    its Triple Interface card, allowing for tap, swipe, or EMV payments
  • eToro for
    its social trading index 
  • LearnVest for
    its certified financial planning capabilities and mobile app
  • MoneyDesktop for
    its PFM platform and bubble budgets 
  • PayTap for
    its social bill-payment platform
  • ShopKeep
     for its tablet-based POS

San Francisco:

  • BehavioSec for
    its new security layer based on user typing/swiping patterns
  • BillGuard for
    its card charge dispute platform, BillGuard FI
  • Dwolla for
    its FISync service to enable banks to originate real-time payments
  • iQuantifi for
    its new financial planning & advice tools
  • MoneyDesktop for
    its PFM platform and integrated "deals"
  • Personal
     for its iPhone app and interbank funds transfer
  • SoMoLend for
    its P2P lending platform

And Singapore:

  • CurrencyFair showed
    off its new Marketplace for peer-to-peer international
  • Finantix launched Sharp digital
    banking platform to improve sales and service interaction
  • SocietyOne debuted its
    ClearMatch technology used to streamline the loan application
  • Ubank,
    a unit of National Australian Bank (NAB), launched its 
    peer-spending comparison tool, People like U

And you can see
where innovation is coming from.

That gives you a
view of the leading innovators from Finovate, but I also found another
interesting listing  the other day of the biggest fintech
innovators in London.  These include:


This peer-to-peer platform allows people to transfer money
abroad at a lower cost than is traditionally offered by the banks. The system
works by making sure there are people to want to swap euros for pounds, at the
same time as someone wants to transfer pounds from the UK. Very clever.

Founders Taavet Hinrikus (first employee at Skype) and
Kristo Kaarmann (Deloitte and PWC) came up with the idea out of frustration at
the amount they were paying sending money back to their native Estonia.

It has had $1m investment from a group of savvy investors
including IA Ventures and Index Ventures and recently partnered with start-up
peer The Currency Cloud to add more currencies to its roster.


Paul Aitken founded Borro in 2008 to become the world’s
first online asset lender. It offers short-term loans of £1,000 to £1m which it
secures against personal assets including jewellery, fine art, classic cars

Having made its first £1m loan last year to an antiques
dealer, the company expects a turnover of £10m for this year.


Founded in 2010 Crowdcube sees itself as the next generation
of business investment. The platform allows entrepreneurs to pitch for
investment from the public. By getting a group of smaller investments from Joe
Public, start-ups can by-pass the somewhat painful traditional ways of raising

This time last year the company helped to raise a whopping
£1m for bar group, Rushmore.

The Currency Cloud

Dissatisfied with the international payment services offered
by our friendly neighbourhood banks, The Currency Cloud founders set out to
solve the problem of cross-border payments for small businesses by creating a
system that is transparent and cost effective.

It deals in 140 currencies in 200 countries. This year The
Currency Cloud has partnered with Transferwise and secured a £2m round of
funding to help it expand globally.


Nutmeg is an online investment manager that makes
investments for you based on your aims and the level of risk you are willing to
take. You can monitor your investments at any time, withdraw or top up whenever
you like. You can put in as little as £100 per month or £1,000 for the year.

The start-up launched the platform in beta mode in May of
this year and has had £3.4m investment to date.


MarketInvoice turns outstanding invoices into cash for
UK-based SMEs. It is the first company of its kind in Europe and acts as an
auction house for invoices. It hopes to solve cash flow problems that many
smaller companies face.

Institutional investors bid for the invoices, like eBay for
outstanding bills. Medium-sized companies set up a payment platforms for their
small suppliers to get paid within five days in return for a discount of
between 3% and 5% on invoice value.


Founder Tom Higgins spotted a gap in the market to enhance
the FX trading process for retail brokers. Gold-i now develops products which
give retail brokers the same execution and risk management tools as institutional
brokers at a fraction of the cost.

Its flagship product, Gold-i Gate Bridge connects brokers’
trading systems to global banks. Each transaction through this platform
generates revenue for the start-up which is on course to turnover £1.5m this
year.  Its revenues have been increasing 100% year-on-year since launch.


Tradable, the world’s first open trading platform, will
allow traders to create a completely bespoke, online platform so they can work
in a way that best suits them.

The platform has only just launched but is already getting
attention, winning “most innovative financial company” in the Forex Magnates
summit on the day of the launch. According to CEO Jannik Malling the company is
already looking at global expansion.


It may sound like a mouthful but Iwoca stands for instant
working capital.

It has jumped on the speedy, online-retailing bandwagon and
offers loans to online businesses. Online sellers are expected to be generating
£20bn in the next five years, these online retailers often need access to
capital before they get their invoices paid. Iwoca is there to help them. It
asses the risk of lending based on quality of customer feedback, social media
presence and credit history.

Typical loan lengths are for three months.


Providers of P2P lending, Zopa brings people together to
lend and borrow money. The platform gives better rates for both lenders and
borrowers and tends to be more efficient than lending from banks.

It claims to be the first lending and borrowing marketplace.


Fixnetix provides outsourced services for ultra-low latency
trading. In June 2011 its iX-eCute Field Programmable Gate Array microchip for
ultra-low latency trading became the world’s fastest trading appliance for the
financial markets.

The company was founded in London during 2006. The three
co-founders come from investment banking, technology and prime brokerage.

There are a few more
on the list – I just noted the ones I know – but, as can be seen, there
are many, many innovative firms out there.

Watch this space for more coverage in the near future.

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here…

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