5 min read
11 US fintechs on our watchlist right now
There’s a reason counties often refer to their tech hubs as “the Silicon Valley of [insert country name here].”
The Bay Area is the proud birthplace of some of the world’s biggest technological triumphs, home to global powerhouses like Apple and Visa. Every year the Valley also attracts a host of fintech start-ups - such as Credit Karma, Chime and Varo Bank, to name a few.
But it’s not just California driving the future of financial services. We’ve done our research to see which companies across the 50 states are leading the fintech charge.
(Did you miss our first blog? See who’s doing awesome things on the other side of the pond with our list of the hottest European fintechs.)
There are over 7 billion people on the planet. And over 3 million of those are underserved when it comes to credit.
The good people at TALA noticed that that’s quite a lot of needs that aren’t being met - particularly women in under-developed regions. So they decided to give some power back to the people.
Through their app, anyone with an android smartphone can apply for microloans of between $10 and $500, even if they don’t have a credit history. “But how can they do this?” we hear you ask. If an applicant has no credit history, their algorithm uses behavioural and device data, such as which pages of the app a person visits, and what type of phone they have. This information helps TALA to verify the person’s identity and assess their eligibility for a loan. They’re pretty open about their data ethics - read more about it here.
You know what they say: you can TALA-lot about a person by the model of their phone...
HQ: New York
Exams. The dark. Credit. All of these things can be pretty scary 😱 But finding credit that works for you shouldn’t be (according to Petal, anyway).
Whereas traditional banks and lenders will look at your credit score when you apply for a credit card, Petal assesses your creditworthiness by looking at your income, spending and savings - handy if you’re new to credit or don’t have a great score.
Once you’ve been accepted, their wonderfully simple app will help you track your spending and manage your credit without even thinking about it.
It looks like Petal is set to disrupt the credit industry, once and floral.
Admittedly not the sexiest of business ideas, TrueAccord is the self-professed ‘modern debt collection agency’.
We talk a lot about being truly digital here at 11:FS, and this is a company that’s doing just that.
As a full service digital-first brand, they use machine learning to collect debts from your customers to save you from making those difficult phone calls. Choose which channels they use to contact your clients and what payment methods to offer, all while protecting your brand and your bottom line.
So wave goodbye to awkward phone conversations and *debt* ready for your happiest customers yet 😁
Student loans are for fulfilling your dreams, not emptying your bank account. Okay, we got that from their website, but it’s a nice sentence and we couldn’t agree more.
Commonbond offers stress-free student loans - including undergraduate, graduate, dental, medical and MBA - so you can get back to focusing on school rather than how you’ll pay for it. Their handy calculator resource will help you understand and compare your loan options in minutes.
Plus, every time you take out a loan through Commonbond, they’ll cover the cost of a child’s education through their partnership with Pencils of Promise.
Lending money and a helping hand. Nice work, Commonbond 🙌
HQ: Washington DC
It started with a hashtag. #donate, to be precise.
Now, Goodworld - comprising Cheerful and Goodbusiness - is helping organisations around the globe become a force for good.
When it comes to doing business, more and more companies are recognising the need to meet societal and environmental needs as well just make money. Goodbusiness’ software makes corporate social responsibility affordable and easy.
If you’re a non-profit organisation, Cheerful can help you create spare change donations, run crowdfunding pages and deepen your existing donor relationships.
It’s great to see a business doing good - especially at such a difficult time for the economy when all eyes tend to be on revenue.
If there’s one thing teenagers all have in common, it’s a longing for more money (along with a love/hate relationship with their parents).
Sadly Step can’t give teens more money, but they can give them the freedom to manage what they already have. Whereas you have to be 16 to apply for most bank accounts, you can get a Step account on your 13th birthday.
With their Visa card, account holders can spend, send and receive money instantly while building a positive credit rating, and there’s no interest or fees. And you don’t have to worry about your kids overdrafting, as they can only use the money in their account 🙌
So parents: if you’re still giving your teens pocket money, get down with the kids and get Step.
HQ: New York
KYC. AML. API. WTF? The fintech industry is drowning in acronyms, and the identity operating system Alloy is no different.
But while they might use a lot of confusing terms, their mission is simple.
Slow approvals, account takeovers and suspicious transactions are all damaging to customer experience and brand loyalty. Bad for clients = bad for business. By reducing the room for error during user onboarding, Alloy’s clever dashboard helps banks and fintechs make better decisions and enhance the customer experience.
HQ: New York
Got a dollar lying around? Great - that’s all you need to get a Stash account.
Stash is a personal finance app with a vision we can get behind: to help everyone reach their financial goals, no matter what your network or net worth. A bright financial future shouldn’t just be reserved for the wealthy. That’s why you can start using Stash for just $1 a month (or upgrade to their $3 or $9 subscription plans).
Whether you want to budget, save for retirement, or just like the sound of a bank account with no hidden fees, this is the app for you. You’ll even get free financial education.
Despite the fact it’s from one of America’s relatively lesser-known states, this is a business making serious moovs on the fintech circuit.
Moov makes sending, receiving and storing money simple for all kinds of different companies. Whether you’re a digital bank, a retail marketplace or a SaaS start-up, you can embed its banking and payment functionality into your own software, so you don’t need to worry about building a banking stack from scratch.
Say goodbye to nasty legacy technology and hello to open source, portable solutions you can count on.
Moov over Silicon Valley. Iowa’s the place to be now 🤠
HQ: New York
What do you think of when you hear the words ‘company credit card’?
If you’re an employee, it might be ‘how much can we get away with spending at the work Christmas lunch?’ If you’re in the finance team, however, it’s probably a vivid flashback to that time last month when you pulled an all nighter filing expense reports.
If that’s you, breathe a sigh of relief. Ramp, the modern expense management experts, offers ‘the only corporate card that strengthens your finances’. It’s a bold claim, but thanks to their instant spend alerts, numerous account integrations and determination to cut wasteful expenses, we’re willing to bet it’s true.
Did we mention you get 1.5% cash back on everything? Everything. You know what to do 👉
11. Esusu Rent
HQ: New York
Ahhhh to be a homeowner. You’re free to paint the walls, rip up that ugly three-piece avocado bathroom suite, and your mortgage payments contribute to your credit score. That’s more than you can say for renting.
More than 43 million households in the US are rented, yet less than 1% of credit profiles include any rental data 😖
Until now! There’s been an *interesting development*, in the form of Esusu Rent, who are shaking up the industry.
It uses data and insights to increase landlords’ income while helping tenants build their credit scores. Esusu found that when paying rent boosts a person’s credit score, they’re more motivated to pay on time. That means fewer nasty conversations and evictions for landlords. Sounds like a win-win.