3 Startups to Watch: Cookies, Blendle, Neighborly

  • Grace Noto
  • August 17, 2016
  • 0

So many startups, so little time.

This week, these three fintech startups stand out from the crowd for a variety of reasons: one is the first P2P lending app for Germans (a notably cash-loving country); another is a journalism micropayments platform designed to put readers first; and the last is making public finance investments simple and easy for both professional and amateur investors.

 (c) Can Stock Photo


If you think about it, these are among the three reasons to move to Germany: Oktoberfest, free college, and Cookies, the newest and only P2P lending app to launch in Germany. Frankly, Cookie sounds better than some of the many options offered in the US. Until Cookies, which was created by former N26 employees and is currently available by invitation only, Germans had to rely on wire transfers and other slower technologies to send money, since Square, Venmo and the like only work in the US. Cookie is compatible with most German banks at the moment, and users don’t carry a balance: instead, outgoing transfers are whisked right from the bank account plugged into the app to a friend’s account, while incoming transfers zoom immediately into a account. Each time, someone sends money to a friend using the app, it opens a conversation where the two parties can exchange messages. And, here’s the best part: Cookies comes with an emoji, or “paymoji,” option, as the app calls it, similar to Mondo, where users can send emojis as part of their payment. For Cookie users, this includes the lightning “paymoji,” which can “supercharge” a customer’s payment so that instead of taking 1-3 business days, it only takes 5 to 120 minutes.


As a journalist, a reader, and a millennial, cutting through digital … let’s call it noise, is a skill I employ hourly, so Blendle, a startup with a team of in-house editors reading content 12-20 hours a day in order to recommend pieces of quality to Blendle users, definitely caught my attention. A micropayments journalism platform begun in Germany and the Netherlands and which reached the US, as well as its 1 million user mark, this year, Blendle is designed to put readers first through a mix of algorithmic predictions and the human curation described above. The app runs micropayments of about $0.20 per article through PayPaliDeal, or credit card. Perhaps the reason it’s succeeding where so many micropayment platforms have failed is because it offers customer refunds if users don’t like an article — refunds which, it’s worth noting, number close to 10% platform-wide in the US.


At this point, a fair chunk of the population manages their finances mainly through digital channels, and that includes investments and financial advice. Described as “the next generation of public finance,” this San Francisco-based startup has been around for just about a year now, and aims to directly connect retailers or investors with the civic projects or funds they’ve invested in. Registered as a broker-dealer, personal or professional investors can use the startup’s technology to interface directly with their municipal bonds, research and access key data about the projects they’re interested in or have already invested in, as well as maintain investor relations, all from the company’s data platform, which also allows users to keep an eye on key market trends.

To learn more about startups, join us at Bank Innovation Israel this November 1-3 in Tel Aviv. Learn more and register here.

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