3 Startups to Watch: PeerStreet, Clarity Money, UTU

One of the best things about the fintech world is the variety—it’s like a sushi bar for financial services; which is why learning about new startups is so much fun.

With that in mind, here are three startups you should keep your eye on this week:

PeerStreet

You’re probably used to hearing the word “crowdfunding” by now, but you may not have heard of too many real-estate crowdfunding platforms—which PeerStreet is. (Fintech veterans may recall the late debit reards compnay PerkStreet — no relation.) The company rang in its one-year anniversary last month by announcing that during its first twelve months of activity, it funded $150 million in investments with a total loss amount of zero.

This, said co-founders Brett Crosby, COO, and Brew Johnson, CEO, is due both to the technology and to the company’s approach to the asset class.

“Part of the reason we’ve been able to scale is because of the business model,” says Brett, whom you might recall from his days at Google Analytics (he co-founded that too)—adding that “the most advancement is in the accounting processes and the data analytics, using technology to make underwriting more efficient.”

With the company closing out its first year with zero losses and investor returns up to 12%, it certainly seems like a winning combination.

Clarity Money

If none of the other personal finance apps you’ve come across really do the trick for you, give Clarity Money a try—at the moment you can sign up for the beta, but the app is designed to make actionable suggestions based on user spending, credit score, and other factors.

“We want to give consumers an advocate,” says company CEO Adam Dell. “There’s no one on their side and we think we’re in a position to really do good here.”

The app is focused on delivering insights in a way that will best turn those insights into consumer actions, a trick businesses have been trying to perform for a while now. When it comes to financial management, automatically creating a customer budget, determining saving amounts, and helping users find better credit cards is a pretty good start, though.

UTU

Two terms everyone in financial services is familiar with: “cross-border transfer” and “rewards program.” Combining the two is the point behind UTU, which launched just this month in Thailand, partnering with Visa Thailand. According to co-founder Asad Jumabhoy, the service is best described as a “loyalty rewards platform” with a global twist.

“We’re trying to connect merchants and customers [directly],” says Jumabhoy, adding that cultivating loyalty points or rewards forms a more engaging relationship with the merchant service. The company is currently working with about 7,000 merchants, and its service of course works through mobile.

Furthermore, the consumer is control of what promotions they receive or do not receive, and can redeem their points at retailers including Boots, Zara, and Starbucks.

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