© Can Stock Photo Inc. / jeffbankeIn case you hadn’t notices, FinTech startups are blowing up. But there are still some that have managed to fly “under the radar” — they either haven’t been talked about as much as they should, or their full potential has been overlooked.

Here are eight we’ve noticed so far this year. 

Bain Capital Ventures’ Matt Harris had this to say about investment management tool SigFig: “Most retail investors should be in low-cost index funds, ones that don’t pick stocks or pay enormous fees [which SigFig does].  Another thing SigFig does well is solve the question of how do you market [the product] to people. They partnered with financial media companies like AOL, Yahoo, and CNBC, so that users can look on those sites to track their portfolio. They’re funded by us and Union Square Ventures and I’m incredibly impressed.” SigFig has also partnered with major media outlets, like USA Today, and as of last year was tracking $75 billion in invested funds. With $20 million in total funding, SigFig is riding high.
This startup focuses on debt collection, an important issue for lenders, and one regulators tend to show intense interest in. TrueAccord uses big data to try and solve the problem of which delinquent accounts should be sent to collections, or should be given some time to solve a “temporary problem,” as CEO Ohad Samet puts it. The Israeli startup is known for being fair to the borrowers, and we’ve heard that it also posts some great loan performance statistics.
Earnest, a company profiled by Bank Innovation a few months ago, is the top rated personal lender on CreditKarma, and has been helping people with personal loans using merit-based ratings instead of the typical credit ratings most traditional lenders use. Earnest takes into account potential earnings, job history, education history, and other information, in order to have a more complete look at a borrower’s creditworthiness. CEO Louis Beryl told Bank Innovation that the goal of Earnest is to go back to an era when lenders knew their borrowers more intimately than just a set of data on a screen. The company’s mission is to help people who may be inaccurately deemed a credit risk, obtain credit at a reasonable rate. Earnest secured a $15 million Series A round earlier this year, led by Atlas Venture and Andreessen Horowitz (Beryl’s former employer), among others.
Ok, so Ripple isn’t really an “under-the-radar” startup, having presented at Finovate and gotten its fair share of media attention, but its full potential may still be far from realized. Ripple Labs created the Ripple payment protocol, which uses virtual currency to help facilitate cross-border payments quickly and without fees, which is a stark contrast from traditional international transfers, which can take weeks and carry many fees. Ripple accepts both virtual and fiat currency, and even other “currencies” such as gift cards and airplane miles. Here’s how investor Arjan Schutte thinks Ripple can change the world: “I’m excited about what’s going on at Ripple, it’s the biggest idea that we’re invested in with the farthest-reaching impact. Ripple doesn’t compete with bitcoin and I love the open framework.” Schutte envisions a world where the Internet (via protocols like Ripple) can serve as an unbiased third party for a plethora of uses, including the easy movement of money. With bitcoin regulation imminent, Ripple looks like one of the few companies with the financing and vision to deal with it accordingly.
Button, a brand-new startup, has captured our attention by adding value and interoperability between on-demand apps, an area that’s exploding. As services like Uber, Seamless, Hailio, and Lyft become more popular, connecting these apps and increasing user engagement is key. Button, a loyalty program, will use iOS 8 extensions to connect to apps and offer rewards for users based on the time of the day, location, and what apps they’re linked to. Extensions will allow apps to have “collaborative, cross-app, interactions without leaving the app,” cofounder Chris Maddern told Bank Innovation. It’s one of the first uses of iOS 8’s new extensions feature and has the potential to be quite powerful. Button is in beta, so app developers — sign up and test it out.
Person-to-person lending platform Sparo lets users form communities for exchanging money. The Facebook-like interface makes exchanges of money, well, social, even more than Venmo did. The appeal of borrowing from friends and family is clear –57% of borrowers would prefer t borrow from someone they know — and we imagine Sparo has cleared up some of the awkwardness of collecting from deadbeat friends, too. With a mistrust of banks, a love of all things mobile and social, younger borrowers are Sparo’s target market.
TraxPay has been around since 2009, but just a few years ago, pivoted to focus on helping facilitate transactions between businesses, and eliminate supply issues. B2B payments are riddled with issues — checks, anyone? They can be slow, and suppliers may face issues when delivering the order, leaving buyers in the dark. TraxPay operates in the cloud, so that any issue on either the buyer or supplier’s side can be instantly noted and no one gets shortchanged. Not only do these transactions become more transparent, but TraxPay’s cloud-based technology also makes payments real time.  There’s a big market for making B2B payments more efficient and transparent, and Traxpay is looking to accomplish both.
Hong Kong-based 8Securities just secured a $9 million Series B round a few days ago, and calls itself Asia’s “first and only social trading & wealth management service for individual investors.” The wealth management service has added a slew of new products, like Auto Portfolio and Social Trading, and combined with its mobile-first strategy, is trying to attract younger users to the world of wealth management. The company currently manages about $750 million dollars and is a testament to Asia’s burgeoning fintech startup market. Asia may be progressive in financial innovation, but the fintech startup culture is still small compared to hotbeds like the U.S. and Europe, Just look at Finovate, which canceled its Singapore event earlier this year. Still, 8Securities is just one sign that the FinTech startup industry in Asia still has a bright future.