Back in February, the highly anticipated Kalifa Review of UK Fintech led by former Worldpay CEO Ron Kalifa was published. There are many takeaways from this review highlighting how the UK can establish itself as the world-leading fintech market.
The review identifies that the majority of investment pumped into UK fintech companies in the past five years has come from overseas capital. But at the same time, many homegrown investors are also aggressively investing in fintech brands.
In comparison to Silicon Valley, for the UK fintech industry, its just the beginning. And to compete with the world superpowers, the industry would need a vibrant fintech startup community with innovative goals. The good thing is, this throbbing community is already coming up and has some really ambitious names in its club.
Despite the Covid and Brexit challenges, many UK fintechs have churned out practical solutions to help users. We at UKTN have cherry-picked some promising fintech startups from the country that you need to watch out for in 2021.
Founder/s: Vivek Madlani, Mike Curtis
Founded year: 2016
Multiply is an automated financial planning and advice app for first time home buyers. It is the first consumer-facing advice app that the Financial Conduct Authority approves.
Multiply delivers regulated financial advice via its AI-powered chatbot. It claims to have advised on over £1 billion of debt and assets and made 11,000 individual recommendations.
London-based financial planning app has got backing from Octopus Ventures and uses machine learning and financial modelling to create financial plans for consumers, from mortgages to investments and savings.
Founder/s: Dmitry Lazarichev, Georgy Sokolov, Pavel Matveev
Founded year: 2014
Wirex, based out of London, is a digital payment platform that aims to make crypto and traditional currencies equal accessible to everyone. It makes fintech simple with its mobile app. The Wirex card allows its users to buy, store, exchange, and spend a wide variety of conventional and digital currencies quickly and securely sans any hidden fees.
In 2020, the crypto payment card and bank raised £3.7 million crowdfunding on Crowdcube. This took the valuation of the company to £125 million.
Founder/s: Sara Green Brodersen, Andre Karihaloo, Dominic Botten
Founded year: 2019
Canaree is a software platform company headquartered in London, which allows early-stage businesses to understand and improve their future finances. The financial planning software uses machine learning and replaces complex spreadsheets with a smart way to manage and calculate startup finance.
Founder/s: Fernando Ripolles, Julian Turnbull, Sylvia Carrasco
Founded year: 2018
Another London startup, Goldex is a smart trading technology fintech platform that allows users to invest in physical gold through its mobile phone application. It is the first gold marketplace that powers ethical pricing for both retail and institutional gold investors. It is an award-winning global gold marketplace, which uses smart trading technology to allow customers to easily invest in physical gold via its free mobile application.
In 2019, Goldex, gold trading fintech app bagged $1.5 million funding from UK India cross-border fund of Unicorn India called Unicorn Ascension fund.
Founder/s: Gabriel Le Roux, Paul Anthony
Founded year: 2020
Primer enables e-commerce merchants and online payments facilitators to consolidate their payments services stack and seamlessly connects third-party services. Dubbed ‘Zapier for payments’, the London-based startup enables e-commerce merchants and online payments facilitators to connect and maintain their entire payments ecosystem through a unified payments API.
In November 2020, the fintech pocketed £14 million Series A funding round led by Accel. Existing investors Balderton, SpeedInvest, and Seedcamp also participated and were joined in the round by RTP Global.
Founder/s: Tom Howsam
Founded year: 2017
Durham-based Paid lets gig economy workers and freelancers to get paid as soon as work is completed instead of waiting for late invoices.
In addition to this, its platform removes the hassle of running a business with features such as free client management, contracting and invoices.
In November last year, Paid raised €2.4 million (nearly £2 million) seed funding round led by top early-stage tech investors Crane Venture Partners alongside Seedcamp, Techstars and notable angel investors including Jens Lapinski, Matthew Robinson, Chris Adelsbach and Charles Songhurst.
Founder/s: Nicholas Sherratt, Richard Hayes
Founded year: 2017
Funding: £7.2 M
Based out of Manchester, Mojo Mortgages, an online digital mortgage broker. It uses technology to revolutionise the way people find and apply for mortgages online. Mojo handles the entire mortgage application from making all the necessary phone calls and arrangements for customers until their deal is finalised.
In 2019, Mojo Mortgages secured £7 million Series A funding led by NVM Private Equity, Maven Capital Partners and others.
Founder/s: Benjamin King, Georgia Stewart, William Goodwin
Founded year: 2018
Bristol-based Tumelo helps investors make more socially responsible investments. The impact-focused fintech operates with the mission to enable retail investors and pension members to create and benefit from a more sustainable investment system.
Its white-label software delivered via APIs and/or a user dashboard integrates with existing investment platforms. Eventually, it improves customer engagement, acquisition and retention for providers.
Back in 2019, Tumelo raised £1 million seed funding that helped it develop a platform to show investors exactly which companies they own through personal investments and pension funds. The investment was pumped by singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel.
Funding; £13.1 Million
Founder: Conrad Ford
Backed by the British Business Bank as an alternative lending platform, Funding Options connects business owners to the right funding so they can trade, plan and grow with confidence. Through its panel of more than 120 lenders, Funding Options has delivered more than £450m in vital finance to thousands of businesses across the UK and the Netherlands.
In 2019, Conrad Ford officially stepped down as Chief Executive and the business has since been led by Simon Cureton, a founding member of Esme Loans. In June of the same year, Funding Options received a £5m grant from the Capability and Innovation Fund.
Funding: £70 Million
Founder’s: Alastair Lukies, Fiona Roach Canning, Jonathan Hughes, Tim Joslyn
Founded in 2017, Pollinate is a global business with over 100 staff, headquartered in London. NatWest and Pollinate partnered to re-imagine merchant acquiring and Tyl by NatWest was launched in September 2019. Pollinate is now working with other leading banks around the world to implement the Pollinate platform for its customers. Pollinate gives banks a modern, cloud-based toolkit for SMEs. Agnostic to terminal, processor or gateway, the platform takes data feeds from any bank and third-party systems. It gives merchants a single place to understand, manage and grow their business, and is built with bank-grade privacy and security at its heart.
Funding: 300k (crowdfunding)
Founder’s: Egi Messito, Giuseppe Caltabiano
EverUp is a prize-linked savings startup, launching the first UK digitally-native prize-linked money account that rewards customers for saving by giving them a chance to win tax-free cash prizes. EverUp’s mission is to make saving fun and get everyone saving. EverUp aims to build over time a full-scale financial hub where their customers can accomplish all types of financial transactions while being rewarded for solidifying good financial behaviours through a prize-linked suite of personal finance products.