Welcome to the Bank Innovation Watchlist!

The Watchlist monitors startups from around the world, highlighting those that could transform financial services. Here, you’ll find some of the freshest, most innovative startups in the industry today — from alternative lending, to payments, and virtual currencies.

Through INV Fintech, this site’s sister accelerator, we often hear about new startups (or new projects at “older” startups) first, and are eager to share that with our readers.

The Watchlist is updated regularly, through Bank Innovation listicles (like this one, or this one), so check back often. Each listing includes not just the company’s name and contact information, but a short description, website links, and links to all Bank Innovation published articles based on that company.

To be listed in the directory, please contact us here.


Online lender focused on building "honest finance" products for consumers.

The online lender is spearheading a new category in fintech, which it calls “honest finance.” The goal, as the name may suggest, is to offer “transparent” and “honest” financial products, which do not hurt consumers’ financial health.

Once approved for a loan at POS, consumers receive a one-time use virtual card via Affirm’s app, which they can use for the purchase. Then, Affirm splits the bill into monthly payments. At year end 2016, the lender had signed north of 900 merchant-partners, up from 100 from the year prior.
Krakow, Poland

Provides technology solutions for financial services with products such as LiveBank.

Ailleron creates products and solutions for financial services such as its LiveBank solution, which is currently used by Standard Chartered and Poland's mBank, among others.

The solution enables banks to move away from physical branches and implement a technology-first, virtual branch, using technology like voice biometrics, eKYC processes, and face-to-face, real-time video chat between bankers and customers. It's other financial solutions deal in credit management, mobile banking, and market automation.
California, U.S.

"Socially conscious" alternative investing/lending service aimed at the underserved consumer.

Aspiration tracks two main factors for about 5,000 companies–restaurants, retailers, coffee shops, and other– measuring the impact of those companies on “people and planet,” as its CEO Andrei Cherny puts it. The factors are tracked from the purchases made from a user’s Aspiration card, supported by Mastercard.

This feature is in line with a growing trend of transparency within financial services, as consumers become more curious about the end impact of their spending and investments.

However, before Aspiration, the approach has not been widely seen in personal banking space.

New York, NY

Mobile banking service providing digital products and financial literacy programs to consumers.

A digital bank currently backed by local Florida community bank Flagship, BankMobile provides a mobile-first, modern banking experience to its customers.

Aside from its digital innovations, the bank also seeks to educate its users by providing financial literacy tools and training, and Bank Innovation suspects there is only more to come.

Uses data analytics, mobile algorithms to better analyze consumer data for FIs.

BeeEye is using data analytics, combined with a few mobile algorithms, to make it that much easier for banks to analyze customer financial data.

The startup employs machine learning and analytics to aggregate both bank and third-party data, before providing client banks with its own version of a credit score—one that gives banks a broader understanding of the customer, beyond the typical FICO score.
New York City, U.S.

Fully automated online mortgage platform providing transparent, fast loans to potential homeowners.

Better Mortgage, founded in 2014 by Vishal Garg, thinks that for a transaction that costs about $5,000 in administrative fees alone, the mortgage process should be, well, better. The first step is digital, which is why the New York-based company provides a completely digital, automated mortgage experience for users. The startup utilizes data science and machine learning on its platform to provide the best possible loan matches and recommendations for that particular user.
New York, N.Y.

Betterment is an online (and mobile) investment tool attempting to differentiate with a superior user experience and customer service.

There are quite a few investment tools out there for well-heeled Ge Y'ers, but Betterment appears to be finding traction.

The company is now pivoting to manage its customers’ entire financial lives, much as alternative lender SoFi has.
New York, NY

A data analytics and infrastructure platform for loan originators and investors.

Launched in 2014, Blackmoon offers "marketplace lending as a service."

The company provides a secure platform for both loan originators and investors, offering loan scoring tools and an area for flexible investment portfolio building.

Why are we watching them? The company offers a composite approach to lending, which means implementing marketplace approach on top of traditional lending infrastructure.

Loan origination is a complex thing, and it's worth keeping an eye on a company that uses automation and data analytics to make it just that much simpler.
Baltimore, MD

Offers POS financing for consumer purchases.

Applying for financing or credit cards at the POS at retail giants such as Best Buy is a no-brainer. Small and medium-sized merchants, however, don’t usually have that option.

Blispay – launched in March 2016 – is set to tackle that issue, with a solution aimed at SMEs.

The company's Blispay Visa card has the benefits of a Visa card, allowing consumers to make purchases anywhere Visa is accepted, with a few additions.

Blispay consumers can earn 2% cashback on their purchases, and the company's re-financing platform means there is no interest on purchases above $199 if that purchase is paid in full within 6 months.

That's the kind of re-financing we want to see.
Berlin, Germany

Offers free credit scores to users before providing personalized financial recommendations, tools.

A startup founded in 2015 by alumni of Zalando and McKinsey, the company offers consumers free access to their credit score, before allowing that user to upload other financial data.
Once uploaded, the startup provides credit tools and personalized financial recommendations to the user, enabling consumers to have a more transparent, holistic view of their money.

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