9. Scott McCormack, President, Social Money
Social Money is a fintech startup with a number of products, including SmartyPig — an innovative take on that peskiest of financial products, the savings account. With a social take on savings and goals — sharing them with friends — Social Money is a forward-looking product that is built with companies outside the financial services industry in mind. Social Money also partners with prepaid cards to provide a fuller banking product to customers. McCormack is a veteran of the prepaid industry and First National Bank of Omaha.
The lesser-known cofounder of Square, Jim McKelvey has arguably been doing more interesting work in fintech than his partner, @jack. His St. Louis-based SixThirty is an accelerator that works with just eight fintech startups in a given year and provides them with connections and mentors, not to mention $100,000 in funding. The four companies in its “Fall Class” are Wealth Access, LendingStandard, PromisePay, and Gremln.
Makoski has been working for Silicon Valley giants for the past 10 years, starting at Microsoft as a user experience director before moving to Motorola to be its global head of design. Makoski then went to Google (which acquired Motorola in 2012) where he led Project Ara — a Google program to create free open hardware to develop highly customizable smartphones. Earlier this month, Makoski surprised the industry by leaving to become the vice-president of design at Capital One, where he will focus on “breakthrough experiences in mobile commerce and payments.” Could Makoski’s defection from a tech behemoth to a bank be a sign of things to come?
Anthony Gallippi is nothing if not ambitious. His bitcoin startup BitPay has been snatching mainstream headlines since its inception. Between its record-setting $30 million funding (the most ever for a bitcoin-related startup), acquiring the rights to sponsor the “Bitcoin” St. Petersburg college football Bowl Game, and adding to its already extensive list of vendors who use BitPay for its services (most recently adding NewEgg), BitPay is one of the cryptocurrency industry’s most prominent startups. Look for the company, which allows businesses to accept bitcoin payments, to continue its growth throughout 2014.
Jeremy Allaire has been a digital entrepreneur since the web’s early days. The CEO of Circle has helped his company become a leader in helping bitcoin attain legitimacy in the financial world. Circle became the first and only virtual currency company to help advise the U.S. Treasury Department in preventing and detecting money laundering, one of the biggest issues facing bitcoin proponents. The company also added $17 in funding from a number of venture capitalists, and has been quietly beta-testing its product that helps customers use bitcoin in the real world. Look for a wider release later this year (and sign up for early access). Allaire previously founded Brightcove, an online video marketing platform.
Dave McClure’s 500 Startups is one of the most enthusiastic bitcoin investors, funding five cryptocurrency startups already this year. The accelerator gave five startups $100,000 so far in 2014: GoGoCoin, Bonifide.io, Coinalytics, Neuroware, and Monetsu.While the dollar amounts are small, the sheer number of bets shows McClure and his team think virtual currency is worth betting on. McClure is a member of the PayPal mafia, having run marketing for the company from 2001 to 2004. (eBay bought PayPal for $1.5 billion in 2002.)
Maule’s title is manager with Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting, but he is better known for beating the drum of innovation loudly and proudly across various social media channels. Maule’s passion for fintech innovation is palpable, even if you’ve only heard it in 0s and 1s. He has several videos and slideshows online for a closer view. His socks, much like Matt West’s hands, have taken on a life of their own and inspire fierce envy and devotion among the fintechnerati.