Oakland, California

Startup creating higher returns for impact investing.

This California-based fintech wants to upend the world of impact investing, or socially aware investing, by making sure its users get the maximum return possible. Through a combination of its “technology-first” approach and providing clients access to U.S. Treasury Department-certified financial institutions or CDFIs (Community Development Financial Institutions), the startup is able to give the majority of the interest generated back to the client.

This approach enables the company to give its users more than 40 times the rate of return of a traditional savings account, according to its website, citing a 2.5% rate of return. Returns are subject to the performance of CDFIs, though Cnotes’ rates are tied to prime.
I Know First

Provides a daily investment forecast with AI, machine learning technology.

I Know First uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide users with daily investment predictions and forecasts. The company’s “self-learning” algorithm is then able to provide clients with more targeted investment opportunities.

The company is currently active in Israel, the U.S., as well as in various European countries, including Germany and France.
San Francisco, California

Real estate investment platform provider.

eal estate investment is a growing area of interest for financial services, with companies such as Unison developing new, modern ways to open that door to investors. Startups like Juniper Square is another such company, operating an investment platform that better allows users to track outside capital for new projects.

The company, which developed its real estate platform in 2014, currently has about 50,000 investors using the service, managing nearly $200 billion-worth of investments.
San Francisco, California

Collaborative hedge fund using machine learning to regularize financial data for data scientists.

Taking financial data, aggregating it, regularizing it via machine learning, and then providing it to anonymous data scientists paid in bitcoin sounds a bit like science fiction. Numerai has been doing it for two years.

The San Francisco-based startup is aiming to push more financial data to scientists, taking out the human bias that normally filters into the stock market by using machine learning to make the data both more available and more abstract. Essentially, Numerai is using data and machine learning to build a giant, collaborative brain working on the best model for hedge funds and stocks—and its scientists are paid in bitcoin for the trouble.
London, England

Online investment platform specializing in savings, pensions, ISAs.

Changing consumer behavior when it comes to finances is not particularly easy (there’s a reason there are about a dozen personal finance management and investment apps vying for the top slot), but startups like Nutmeg are making pretty decent strides.

The London-based startup has been active since 2010, and provides an online investment platform for users that specializes in investments and savings. The service also gives users more transparency when it comes to managing their pensions and ISAs.
London, England

PFM chatbot that automatically saves on behalf of the consumer.

This London-based startup is using AI and Facebook Messenger to provide consumers with a more holistic PFM experience.
The fintech monitors the daily spending of users before automatically setting aside money to save, without seeking approval from the user.
Once done, the money stays in that user’s Plum account, outside of their other financial accounts to protect from “#yolo” moments, as the company states. Users can sign up for Plum on the company’s site now, and will communicate with the bot via Facebook Messenger.
San Francisco, California

Wants to create better financing options for investors looking into properties, investments outside of the U.S.

Several fintechs are presently taking runs at credit scoring methods—why should your level of “creditworthiness” depend on a bank?
That’s the question San Franscisco-based startup Rapa is asking; the fintech wants to create better financing options for those who might want to invest outside of the U.S.
In other words, it’s looking to build a system of global credit, for global citizens: “why in the world should you pay more than twice the amount you would pay to finance U.S. property? ” Rapa asks users on its site.
Users can sign up for early access on the company’s website.


Crowd-sourced mobile investing platform.

Rapunzl, a “crowdsourced” mobile investing platform, allows users to see he 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.
Vienna, Austria

“Micro” VC looking to fund early-stage marketplace businesses.

While not technically in fintech, funding remains an integral part of financial innovation, and Speedinvest wants to fill that role. As a European “micro” venture capital fund, the company is targeting early-stage, marketplace startups with its new fund.
The company will look to fund those marketplace startups whose businesses could benefit from a “platform approach.”
New York, NY

WiseBanyan is a free digital financial advisor.

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.