That flood of capital carried so many promising startups to the next level that our job at Forbes of whittling down the fintech universe to the 50 most innovative startups was the hardest it’s ever been. Among this year’s newcomers is a big contingent of startups working to make banking faster and more accessible for other businesses. For example, Plaid cofounder William Hockey and his wife Annie Hockey bought a federally chartered bank for $50 million, renamed it Column, and are using it to provide non-bank fintechs with a suite of banking services like holding deposits and interbank transfers. With bitcoin hitting nearly $68,000 last year, crypto startups saw an influx of new customers–and our list contains four new crypto and blockchain honorees.
OpenSea became the go-to place for people to buy and sell nonfungible tokens, processing about $3 billion in transactions a month. Crypto analytics firm TRM Labs, which helps financial institutions and government agencies like the IRS investigate money laundering, crypto fraud and other financial crimes, is already monitoring more than one million different digital assets. And one San Francisco startup, Chipper Cash, hit a $2.2 billion valuation in just three years by helping Africans transfer money cheaply and easily. Founded by Ham Serunjogi and Maijid Moujaled, entrepreneurs from Uganda and Ghana, Chipper also lets consumers pay bills and invest in crypto and U. .
Financial app aimed at helping Americans living on the edge build up their money management skills and credit scores, while avoiding bank overdrafts and traditional payday advance loans. The $9.99 a month subscription service links to a user’s bank account and based on their cash flow approves them for an interest free loan of $50 to $250. A free version of the app provides advice, but no loans.
App that lets customers in five African countries, the U. It earns revenue through foreign-exchange fees and crypto brokerage commissions. Chipper grew from roughly two million registered users in 2020 to more than five million by the end 2021.
Funds ecommerce startups via revenue-sharing agreements plus a 6-12% fee. Investments range from $10,000 to $20 million. «Blind funding» algorithms help generate term sheets in 20 minutes, and accompanying software helps clients track metrics like revenue and ad campaign performance. Funds nine times more racially diverse founders and 25 times more women founders than the average venture capital portfolio.
Funding: $50 million plus from husband-and-wife cofounders
Tech-focused, federally chartered bank that aims to replace the patchwork of financial services providers that fintech digital «banks» need to partner with. All built around the nucleus of a one-branch national bank in Chico, California, with $300 million in deposits, which the founders bought last year for $50 million.
This startup aims to become a key financial cog in the creator economy with a two-pronged strategy. The other is a service to help some YouTube and other creators grow their online businesses by providing capital infusions of $25,000 to a half-million in exchange for a share of their revenue.
One of the largest crypto trading exchanges in the world, it handles some 11% of the $2.4 trillion in derivatives traded each month. The company raised $1.5 billion in private funding last year, jolting its valuation from $1.2 billion to $25 billion. A $500 million raise this past January took its valuation to $32 billion. customers with a separate entity, FTX US, valued at $8 billion.
After starting with solar panel loans, last year GoodLeap expanded to more than 20 categories of sustainable improvements, including battery storage, energy-efficient windows and water-saving turf.
Helps small businesses pay bills and get paid online, instead of through paper checks. It charges customers a 1% fee to expedite a same-day payment and a 2.9% to pay by credit card. Half of its employees and all of its customers are U. .
Its $15 million in 2021 revenue came primarily from interchange on debit card transactions and a share of interest on deposits. But in March, it expanded into venture debt–term loans for up to four years, typically for between 25% and 50% of a recent equity funding round. Mercury, which charges interest and takes a warrant to buy a small amount of stock, aims to lend out $200 million this year.
Once a customer has locked a loan, Morty guides them throughout the entire process, step-by-step. Like more old-fashioned mortgage brokers, Morty makes its money by charging lenders a fee when the loan closes.
Although OpenSea is facing heightened competition, including from crypto giant Coinbase, which launched its own NFT marketplace in May, it continues to dominate the NFT market with more than 1.5 million accounts having transacted on the platform.
Makes identify verification tools used by the likes of Robinhood, Square, Brex and BlockFi to confirm their customers are who they say they are, whether they’re opening an account, making major withdrawals or trading cryptocurrencies.
Revenue streams are anonymized and packaged together according to risk profile, with an average return in the mid-single digits. Sellers, ranging from startups to publicly listed firms, have raised billions of dollars on the platform since its debut in June 2020, including $1.2 billion last year.
Brokerage app offering commission-free investing in stocks, ETFs and crypto, as well as fractional trading of NFTs and other collectibles and the ability for users to share their portfolios and trades–if they want to. In April it launched another new revenue source–a «Pulse» service that allows companies wanting to promote their stocks to pay for data about retail investors and to hold town halls. Early customers include buzzy cannabis stock Tilray and Dubai ride-hailer Swvl.
Payment processing startup lets companies like cannabis dispensaries, alcohol retailers and sports gaming sites accept payments online. In 2018, it minted its own cryptocurrency, SHX token, and today it distributes those tokens to customers as loyalty rewards.
It has its own corporate card, Liquid, which simplifies expense management and lets employers set custom spending limits for their employee cardholders. Revenue from its Liquid card comprises about 25% of TripActions’ total revenue–the rest comes from business lines like collecting sales commissions from hotels and airlines.
Source: JEFF KAUFLIN | FORBES.COM