5 Fintechs To Watch From the Startup Alley

  • Grace Noto
  • May 17, 2017
  • 1

In a mood for some fintech inspiration? Take a walk down the startup alley.

At the TechCrunch Disrupt 2017 event, currently taking place in New York, Bank Innovation came across a gauntlet of bright, shiny new fintechs. Here are five of our favorites:

Spendwallet

While major banks are busy building NFC-enabled digital wallets, this fintech bets that swipe terminals will be around for a while.

A product of X Lab Inc., Spendwallet is a metal, card-sized device that can fit up to 10 cards. The wallet is compatible both with NFC-enabled terminals, and the regular swipe terminals. Launched in May 2016, the company has so far sold more than 12,000 devices ($120 each) as part of its pre-sale launch on Indiegogo, CEO Kevin Kong told Bank Innovation. The full rollout is planned for August of this year.

The company is now focusing on the production of Spend microchips. “We can fit all of our software into this small chip, so that IoT manufacturers can easily integrate our technology into their devices,” Kong said. X Lab will begin marketing its new offer to manufacturers by the end of this year.

Rapunzl

Can investing be a social activity? There are a few startups that have asked this question in recent years–including micro-investing platform Stash–but Rapunzl, a “crowdsourced” mobile investing platform, is approaching the subject a little differently.

Logging into Rapunzl app (just launched in a public beta, running right now with simulated portfolios to iron out the kinks), users can see the progress of their friends’ portfolios. They can also initiate comments and discussions on stocks, and see “top portfolios” displayed in the app for them to browse–think of it like Instagram, but for investing. The company will remain in its public beta phase until the end of June, according to CEO Brian Curcio. Users will then be able to link the app to their trading accounts.

“In June we will be able to link Scottrade, e-trade, and Fidelity,” Curcio told Bank Innovation, adding that the company is shooting for integration with Robinhood. “We’re trying to attract the millennial investor who doesn’t necessarily trust financial advisors–who definitely remembers ‘08, and feels comfortable investing through a mobile platform,” he said.

Popwallet

As a mobile marketing startup, Popwallet isn’t a pure fintech–more “fintech-adjacent,” CEO Elias Guerra told Bank Innovation. The startup provides marketers with a more direct line to their mobile-focused consumers, by integrating offers and branded promotions right into the consumer’s mobile wallet.

The company is seeking to better connect retail marketers with a consumer base who, while very attached to their mobile phones, still do most of their shopping at a physical location. Linking targeted offers and deals straight to that consumer’s mobile wallet might be a good step towards fixing that divide.

“Mobile [wallets] certainly aren’t ubiquitous now–but is there a doubt that it’s going to be?” Guerra said.

Debitize

Millennials don’t trust credit cards, so we choose to rely on debit cards. The problem is, without credit cards, it’s hard to build a credit score, and users miss out on credit card perks like reward points. Liran Amrany came up with a solution. He launched Debitize in 2014. It’s  a personal finance tool that makes it easy to use credit cards responsibly: “We let you use your credit card with the discipline and convenience of a debit card,” according to Amrany.

Here’s how it works: when a user makes a purchase with a credit card, Debitize charges the user’s checking account and stores the funds in a Debitize reserve account. At the end of the month, Debitize automatically pays off the credit card bill. Millennials can, therefore, build credit and get rewards, while still using “debit cards.”

Debitize is a member of INV Fintech, this site’s sister accelerator.

Emerge.me

In keeping with the rise of insurtech, meet Emerge.me: the very first digital advisor for emergency insurance.

The company’s mission is to thwart growing medical debt by making emergency insurance more transparent for consumers. Styling itself as a “digital insurance broker,” the company provides users with advice and recommendations through its online platform– with the help of its virtual advisor, Max.

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