Small Business

Top 5 Fintech Startups: Learn How to Succeed from the Best

Teamwork over company plans

“New FinTech companies want to eat our lunch” says the CEO of JP Morgan Chase. Global financial institutions are all too aware that FinTech is changing the financial industry. They are fast becoming vital in the startup world as entrepreneurs turn to FinTech instead of traditional financial institutions to raise capital.

If you’re going to learn from fintech innovators, you need to know how to wade through the multitudes to pick out the gems. Sure, you could look at something simple and measurable like who raised the most capital in 2014, but investment doesn’t necessarily correspond to innovation.

If you want to know who’s really disrupting finance and what you can learn to help your new business ideas succeed, take a look at what these five companies are doing.

#1 Fintech Takes on Value with Fastacash

This Singapore-based global payments platform has taken very literally the technology mantra of “always provide value.” Their service enable users to easily transfer a huge variety of valuables over any number of social media and messaging platforms using secure links.

What does that mean? It makes sending cash, airtime, coupons, pictures, etc. possible with a single platform. True, there are many ways to transfer these items already, but bringing them all together with a single service that works on nearly any device makes this a company to watch.

It’s also a fascinating example of how a startup can build itself around a simple, well-executed idea.

#2 Juntos Makes Mobile Banking Personal in Developing Markets

Fintech companies that bring financial technology to developing markets are a dime a dozen. Unfortunately, what many in the financial services industry fail to realize is that culture plays an enormous role in how these tools will be used, or misused, by new customers.

Juntos is tackling that problem head on. They provide financial institutions with detailed market research that considers cultural particularities and their influence on decisions about the use of financial instruments.

It may sound abstract, but crafting an application for a specific culture has the potential to take many other great ideas for bringing new financial tools to developing markets and multiply their success. Venture capital has responded by funding Juntos to the tune of $2.9 million.

#3: Financial Technology Meets Hard Currency with Bitreserve

The worldwide fame of Bitcoin came as much from its failure as its success. Its underlying utility as a global digital currency can’t be doubted, but volatility has prevented its widespread adoption by risk-averse consumers.

Bitreserve is seeking to build on the fundamentals of Bitcoin by merging them with techniques used to maintain stability in traditional currencies. This means consumers use Bitcoin whilst also maintaining an actual cash reserve to back the holdings.

The company believes this combination of tradition and innovation will bring new-found trust to the often chaotic world of digital currency.

#4: The Future of Banking Technology Is Bankless Says Starling

We all know we should do more to monitor our expenditure and save more efficiently, but banks could be doing much more to help customers plan their finances. Starling is working to make this happen.

When you lose your bank card, you call to cancel it. When you find it again, you grumble in frustration. Starling allows users to turn their cards on and off with a simple touch. It also compiles your banking information into simple charts and graphs to allow you to plan better.

More than simply providing these services, making them easily accessible through a global bank without any physical branches is what makes Starling revolutionary.

#5: Square’s Motto: Have 3G, Will Spend

 
Image courtesy of Square
 

If you’ve visited the US or lived there in recent years, you’ll have seen tiny white squares attached to tablets and smartphones. Square is pushing Point of Sale (POS) systems as far and wide as possible by providing free POS software and affordable hardware.

That means places like farmers markets are seeing a huge expansion in their POS capabilities. Even bricks and mortar stores are switching from their older POS systems to Square. This move away from cash brings more security and financial information to these vendors.

By making it easier to be a flexible and mobile small business, Square is enabling its users to do more in more places. The company itself has proved to be innovative by building itself primarily on angel investments, reaching a current valuation of $6 billion.

Translating Success into Insight

Looking more widely at these up-and-coming stars of the fintech world, what can you learn from their strategies? The biggest trend here is obviously that a company doesn’t have to seem revolutionary at first glance for them to be serious market disruptors. They also don’t have to rely on traditional methods of financing — there’s an entire world of alternative finance, allowing disruptive startups to get funded.

As most famous entrepreneurs will tell you, sometimes that extra bit of value is the bit that gives a product or service the edge.

Don’t forget to check out our previous article on fintech success stories.


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