5 Fintechs to Watch: APIs, Robos, and More

Now that banks and fintechs have learned to coexist, we see new players emerge (or older ones re-emerge), most with a new focus on partnering with FIs for the better.

Keeping track of emerging players is the best way to stay up to date on the current market trends, and Bank Innovation is here to help. 

Here are the five startups we are adding to our watchlist today.

TrueLayer

The startup wants to connect developers with the banking infrastructure.

The U.K.-based TrueLayer, established in July 2016, unveiled its first API suite last month. REST API allows developers to sync their apps with the data of customers’ accounts from all the major banks and credit cards in the U.K.

“Customers are shifting from banks to banking,” the company said in a Medium post. “We expect to access and share our bank data with other apps; to easily send payments; even to finance an online purchase or apply for a travel insurance while we are booking our next vacation.”

Wisebanyan

In the (very) cluttered robo advising space, with players like SigFig or Wealthfront, it’s hard to imagine any smaller players making progress.

But in comes WiseBanyan. Launched in 2014, the fintech claimed to be the “first free financial advisor” in the market. It started off helping people save and invest for their goals with a free app.  In 2016, the company hit its stride, launching its first paid product (tax-loss harvesting), more than doubling its user base, and nearing a $100 million benchmark in assets under management. The company ended 2016 with more than 20,000 users, up from 9,000 a year ago.

The startup is now developing new financial products, such as mortgage and insurance, and “building a bank backwards,” co-founder Herbert Moore told Bank Innovation previously. “When you already have all those clients and the relationship established, it makes so much more sense to offer new products,” he said.

Onfido

The company was started in 2012, according to Crunchbase, but received its first angel round funding in Aug. 2014.

Using machine learning, Onfido provides remote identity verification solutions, targeting the on-demand economy. “Onfido combines global coverage and unparalleled match-rates with a robust and rigorous configuration of checks, allowing you to on-board a maximum number of users with minimum risk,” according to the company website.

The company raised almost $30.5 million in total funding to date.

Grain

The startup wants to help new investors take the first steps in building portfolio, through an online, social, Watson-powered platform.

San Francisco-based Grain, founded in 2014, has recently gone live with the 2.0 version of its app in the iOS app store. Version 2.0 amplifies and advances its “social investing” strategy and service. Specifically, Grain allows users to “play” investing with friends before committing funds to actual investments. The app helps its investors discover investments, but is not an investment advisor.

“Our vision is to be the place where you go to take complete control of your investments, without feeling overwhelmed by piles of data and confusing reports,” Grain CEO told Bank Innovation previously.

Grain is a member of the current class of INV Fintech, this site’s sister accelerator.

Payjoy

The startup–launched in 2015 by former Google Maps gurus–offers leases on the one thing millennials can not live without: smartphones. Customers register for PayJoy at a local merchant with their Facebook account, phone number, and government issued I.D. The company then provides a mobile financing solution, enabling customers to purchase smartphones, with a pay-as-you-go model of monthly installments.

But here’s where it gets interesting: at the end of the month, if a customer fails to make a payment, PayJoy will remotely shut down the smartphone, only allowing customers to dial 9-11, and PayJoy customer service (which will ask for a payment, naturally).

So far, the company raised $10.5 million in three rounds of funding.

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