9 Rising UK Fintech Startups to Watch in 2020

9 Rising UK Fintech Startups to Watch in 2020

by April 1, 2020
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In 2019, UK fintechs attracted US$48 billion in funding, reaching a six-year high, according to KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech H2’2019 report. The UK accounted for half of Europe’s ten biggest deals and over 80% of the region’s overall fintech funding of US$58 billion.

With the UK continuing to lead the European fintech landscape, we look today at 9 UK fintech startups to keep a close eye on this year.

These startups made notable strides in 2019, either by gaining the backing of notable investors, inking partnerships with key players, or expanding their client base, and their momentum is expected to continue in 2020 and onward.

Curve

Founded in 2015, Curve is a payment card that aggregates multiple payment cards through its accompanying mobile app, allowing a user to make payments and withdrawals from a single card.

Using the mobile app, users link their debit and credit cards to the Curve card. Transactions on the card are processed through the MasterCard network and can be made using EMV, magnetic stripe or contactless payment.

Curve has raised US$74.2 million in funding so far, the latest round being its Series B in September 2019, according to Crunchbase. The startup opened its first US office in December 2019 where it plans to create 185 new jobs by 2024, and invest US$17 million in research and development (R&D) over the next decade.

Thought Machine

Founded in 2014, Thought Machine has built a core banking solution entirely in the cloud. This solution, Vault, allows established and challenger banks to compete in the cloud-native era, enabling them to reach higher levels of scalability, resilience and security.

In 2019, Thought Machine announced a major expansion plan in Asia Pacific (APAC) with the opening of Thought Machine Singapore. The startup will be launching in North America later this year.

Thought Machine raised a US$83 million Series B funding round in March 2020, which it said it would use “to grow rapidly enough to serve all our target markets” and invest into its core technology. It counts amongst its clients the likes of Lloyds Banking Group, Standard Chartered, SEB and Atom Bank.

Tide

Founded in 2015, Tide provides business current accounts and smart financial administration services to over 150,000 small-business owners through its mobile-first platform. Users can set up an account in just a few minutes and Tide can be fully integrated into most accounting systems.

In 2019, Tide launched new products and services, including Tide Plus, an upgraded business account offering, and Tide Capital, a subsidiary company allowing Tide to offer its own credit products. The startup also raised a US$54.3 million Series B funding round, which it said it would use to increase its share of the UK business banking market, as well as to support its planned international expansion.

Tide is not a bank, but a business banking platform. The company is headquartered in London with offices in Sofia, Bulgaria, and Hyderabad, India.

TrueLayer

Founded in 2016, TrueLayer is an open banking API provider. The company offers two products for businesses: Data API and Payments API, which allow applications to connect securely with the end user’s bank in order to read their financial data, initiate payments, or verify their identity.

Last year, the company established a presence in Australia, marking the beginning of its expansion to APAC. It also inked a partnership with Visa, enrolled new clients including challenger bank Tandem, and raised US$35 million from Tencent and Singapore government-owned Temasek.

Cleo AI

Cleo AI (Cleo) is an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered chatbot that helps users manage their finances, either via the Cleo app or Facebook Messenger, and through integration with Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Google Home.

In mid-2019, Cleo took venture debt from US-based TriplePoint Capital. Sources told TechCrunch that the need to raise debt financing was partly related to Cleo Plus, the startup’s stealthy premium offering set to launch more widely soon. The new product would offer Cleo users a range of perks, including rewards and an optional £100 cash advance.

Cleo reached 3 million users in March 2020, and is looking to expand to North America, other parts of Europe, Asia, and Australia soon.

Zego (Extracover)

Founded in 2016, Extracover is the operator of Zego, an insurtech platform focused on flexible and on-demand insurance coverage to the gig economy for segments that include ride-hailing, ride sharing, car rental and scooter sharing. The company also has a business-to-business (B2B) offering for which it has partnered with Uber, Deliveroo and Stuart, among other companies, enabling them to offer its services to their drivers.

In 2019, Zego launched in Spain, France and Belgium, introduced a new pay-per-mile fleet product, raised US$42 million in a Series B funding round, and secured its own insurance license, becoming the first insurtech in the UK to be able to underwrite its own insurance products.

Habito

Founded in 2015, Habito is a digital mortgage broker that has helped over 180,000 homebuyers to source a mortgage or switch to a better one. Habito’s algorithm analyzes 20,000 mortgages from over 90 lenders to find the best option for customers.

Last year, the company began direct lending via its own range of mortgage after receiving regulatory approval, and raised £5 million in a funding round. It also launched an open mortgage API, and inked several partnerships with companies that include Impact and Moneybox+.

This year, Habito introduced a new home buying service called Habito Plus which combines brokerage with property surveys and all the necessary legal work to complete a typical home purchase.

Everledger

Founded in 2015, Everledger is a startup leveraging blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), intelligent labelling and the Internet of Things (IoT) to create a digital record of an asset’s origin, characteristics and ownership. The company digitally streamlines clients’ compliance processes to help them demonstrate the lifetime story of an asset with greater efficiency and accuracy.

In 2019, Everledger closed a US$20 million Series A funding round led by Tencent, launched the world’s first blockchain for colored gemstones, and worked with Accenture, Mastercard, Amazon Web Services and Mercy Corps on a new circular supply chain capability.

This year, Everledger began tracking rare earth minerals including cobalt and lithium, and its CEO and founder Leanne Kemp, joined the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s new blockchain expert group.

Jaja Finance

Founded in 2015, Jaja Finance is a mobile-first business providing digital and physical credit cards and other financing services. The company operates an online finance platform offering digitally-led products with a focus on simplicity, functionality, service and security. Jaja Finance’s offering includes a digital wallet and its accompanying card, foreign currency exchange services, as well as “near instant” credit decisions leveraging AI.

In 2019, Jaja Finance raised £20 million in a Series B funding round and £4.9 million in an equity crowdfunding campaign. The startup also made headlines when it acquired the UK credit card portfolio of Bank of Ireland, which includes a number of key accounts covering the AA, the UK’s Automobile Association, the Post Office, as well as a card branded Bank of Ireland itself.

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