25 European e-commerce and fintech start-ups to watch in 2019


21 Jan 20195.14k Views

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Europe is a hotbed of fintech and e-commerce promise, underpinned by revolutions in open banking, apps and blockchain.

Home to the oldest banking systems in the world, Europe is actually quite nimble and at the cutting edge when it comes to the new future of finance enabled by deep tech and new regulations around open banking.

All over the region, start-ups are revealing new apps, new ways of making transactions and, quintessentially, aiming to take the frictions out of finance.

Our list of 20 of Europe’s hottest fintech start-ups to watch in 2018, as part of our Europe Start-up 100 2018 list, pointed to players such as Circle, CurrencyFair, Gan Integrity, ID Finance, Klarna, Monzo, Onfido and Revolut.

As the recent State of European Tech report points out, Europe’s overall economy and traditional industries are stuck in the doldrums, but tech start-ups represent the best hope for growth and powering job creation.

This listing is part of our Europe Start-up 100 series for 2019, which every day this week will focus on a different list, including deep tech, hardware and the internet of things (IoT), and medtech and life sciences start-ups. On Friday (25 January), we will publish our full Europe Start-up 100 list of the ones to watch.

Remember, these lists are not absolute because they are only a dip in the ocean of European innovation. As such, they are devised to give you a flavour of the kind of activity that is happening.

And so, in the realm of fintech and e-commerce, here are 25 European start-ups to keep an eye out for in 2019.

Accountable (Belgium)

Brussels-based Accountable provides online accounting services for self-employed professionals and can also be used for sharing data with a professional accountant. Founded in 2017, the company is led by CEO Nicolas Quarré. It raised €1.7m in December last year in a funding round led by Connect Ventures, with participation from business angels.

Argent (UK)

London-based Argent offers a smart wallet for Ethereum, enabling users to manage cryptocurrencies in a secure manner with no transaction fees. Founded in 2017 by Itamar Lesuisse, Gerald Goldstein and Dr Julien Niset, the start-up describes itself as “the gateway to the decentralised web”. Lesuisse wrote in Medium: “We believe you shouldn’t need to understand blockchain to benefit from it, just as you don’t need to know about HTTP to shop on Amazon.” In November 2018, Argent closed a $4m seed round, with investors including Index Ventures and Creandum.

Banked (UK)

Banked started out with a bang, raising £1.5m in November 2018 having launched the same month. Founded in 2017 by friends Brad Goodall (who leads as CEO), Neil Ambler, Patrick Cox and Ellen Fernandes, the company’s first product – as well as a public developer portal – is expected to go live early this year. The early support from Backed VC will help further Banked’s mission “to be the trusted channel between banks, businesses and individuals” as this London fintech capitalises on the open banking movement and promises to connect bank accounts to third-party applications via secure APIs and well-designed consent flows.

Bidroom (Netherlands)

Image: Bidroom

Bidroom is a Dutch membership-based online booking platform offering hotels and apartments at discounted room rates right across the globe. Launched by Michael Ros and Casper Knieriem in 2014, the start-up has grown rapidly, announcing in November that it had raised €15m – out of a total of €21m – and was expanding its staff from 50 to 200 across its offices in Amsterdam and Kraków, Poland. Following the announcement of a partnership with Visa earlier last year, it recently announced plans to expand its service into France.

Cazoo (UK)

Successful entrepreneur Alex Chesterman, who founded house-hunting hub Zoopla, is now turning his hand at used cars with his latest venture, Cazoo. Cazoo will allow users to buy, rent or finance a pre-loved vehicle and have it delivered in as little as 48 hours. If customers aren’t quite enamoured with their purchases, the platform will offer free returns within the first seven days. Funding-wise, the firm truly has its foot on the gas, having drummed up more than £30m from Stride.VC, DMG Ventures and Octopus Ventures in December 2018.

Cobase (Netherlands)

Amsterdam-based Cobase is a fintech start-up that offers payments, cash management and treasury services. The company, founded by Jorge Schafraad, is a multibank platform with a single point of access for its customers. In 2016, Cobase completed ING Wholesale Banking’s accelerator programme and in September 2018, the company raised €7.5m from ING Ventures, a corporate VC fund of the Dutch bank. It also featured on the CB Insights Top Fintech Startups of 2018 list.

Crisp (Netherlands)

Crisp is an app-only online supermarket focused on delivering fresh products sourced directly from local growers and producers. Founded in 2018 by Tom Peeters, Michiel Roodenburg, René Bink and Eric Klaassen, Crip recently raised €3m in funding from Dutch entrepreneurs and private investors.

CorribPoint (Ireland)

Galway-based technology start-up CorribPoint offers a cloud-based solution to help credit unions and smaller financial institutions meet anti-money laundering obligations. Founded in 2016 by John Rushe and Caitriona McGuckian, the company has received funding from the Enterprise Ireland Competitive Start Fund and NDRC. “Our ambition is to create and deliver world-class compliance software to the microfinance sector,” McGuckian said. “We aim to expand our development team and product offering and make CorribPoint the ‘go to’ company for all regulation technology solutions for this sector worldwide.”

Evocco (Ireland)

Exciting Irish start-up Evocco, a recent Start-up of the Week, is developing a sustainable shopping app that helps consumers find out the environmental impact of what they buy. Founded by Ahmad Mu’azzam and Hugh Weldon in 2017, the app also gives tips on how you can make more environmentally friendly purchases. The app is currently in beta mode and the team is preparing for launch along with a seed funding round early this year. The founders are already earning recognition, though, including a Young Champion of the Earth prize for Weldon from the UN.

Festicket (UK)

Aimed at the massive music-lover market, London company Festicket offers a platform where you can book festival tickets as well as accommodation, transport and other extras. The website offers lists of countries to visit, featured festivals, music genres, popular artists and more. It was founded in 2011 by Zack Sabban, Jonathan Younes and Jerome Elfassy when they became frustrated trying to organise a group trip to Coachella in California. According to Crunchbase, Festicket has raised $20.6m to date, including a Series D round of $10.5m in November 2018 from investors including Beringea and U-Start.

Fred de la Compta (France)

SaaS start-up Fred de la Compta connects entrepreneurs with accountants and helps them to collaborate. Using AI, it enables automated data entry and “dematerialises the entire administrative life of your company”. Founded in 2015, Fred de la Compta is led by CEO Roman Passilly. It has raised €6.3m in funding to date, including €4m in a round in November 2018 from NewAlpha and Go Capital.

Finleap (Germany)

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Founded by CEO Ramin Niroumand with backing from HitFox Group in 2014, Finleap is a Berlin-headquartered international fintech company builder with an office in Milan. The company has developed ventures such as SolarisBank, Infinitec Solutions and Pair Finance. In November 2018, China’s Ping An conglomerate led a €41.5m funding round for Finleap. Previous investors include SBI Group and MS&AD Ventures. Last year, Nirumand told EU-Startups.com: “Since our launch four years ago, we have been transforming the financial industry with our unique ecosystem of technology companies, digital offerings and partners.”

Flipdish (Ireland)

From left: Conor and James McCarthy. Image: Flipdish

Launched in 2015 by James and Conor McCarthy, Dublin-based start-up Flipdish is an online ordering platform for the restaurant and takeaway market. It builds individual apps and websites branded under each client’s own name, increasing customer loyalty and retention. Currently based in more than 12 countries, the company has undergone major growth in 2018 with two funding rounds bringing total funding to €7.5m, and revenues at more than 300pc compared to 2017. The latest round of funding is set to accelerate the start-up’s growth by increasing staff count, building out its product line and delivering a greater service to its expanding worldwide customer base.

Fluidly (UK)

Fintech start-up Fluidly was founded in 2016 in the UK by Caroline Plumb. Its aim is to change how businesses plan and manage cash flow, using data science and accounting domain expertise. In November 2018, Fluidly raised £5m in Series A funding in a round led by New-York based Nyca Partners, with participation from other investors including Octopus Ventures and Anthemis. Fluidly is working with some of the top accounting firms in the UK and won the Emerging App Partner of the Year award at the Xero UK Awards 2018.

Form3 (UK)

Form3 is a cloud-based platform for total end-to-end processing of payments. It was founded in London in 2016 by banking veteran Michael Mueller, who spent more than 25 years working at various management positions at esteemed financial institutions such as Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays. Through this experience, he observed the seismic shift the world of finance was undergoing and the difficulty that can arise with making payments in this brave new world. Mueller’s venture is still in the early stages of funding, most recently generating $13m in seed funding from Draper Esprit, Barclays and Angel CoFund in November 2018.

GoEuro (Germany)

Headquartered in Berlin, GoEuro is a travel-planning website where you can compare and book trains, buses and flights to a destination in Europe. GoEuro was founded in 2012 by CEO Naren Shaam after he went on a backpacking trip and discovered a gap in the market for a multimode travel site. According to Crunchbase, it has raised almost $300m in funding to date, which includes a Series D investment round of $150m in October 2018 led by investors Temasek Holdings and Kinnevik AB.

Hotelmize (UK)

An open laptop displaying the Hotelmize platform view of analytics and colourful bar charts.

Image: Hotelmize

UK-based Hotelmize was founded by Israeli team Dor Krubiner (CEO), Omry Litvak and Guy Levitan in 2015. Promising higher profits for hotel distributors, Hotelmize is a fully automated solution that runs in the background, deploying big-data and machine-learning technologies to track and predict price fluctuations, helping hotel resellers to increase their profitability. In November 2018, the company reported $3.8m in Series A funding led by Australian investment group Investible.

Kontist (Germany)

Led by CEO Christopher Plantener, Kontist is a fintech start-up that aims to give freelancers banking services that are actually suited to their needs. Founded in 2016 and based in Berlin, the company offers a number of services to reduce the administrative work that comes with self-employed banking, and provide advice on automating owed tax and VAT, or helping to save for a pension. Last October, it announced it had secured a major investment in the millions of euro from the Haufe Group, a German market leader in enterprise management and accounting for SMEs and freelancers.

Mintos (Latvia)

A P2P lending platform based in Riga, Latvia, Mintos was founded by Martins Sulte and Martins Valters in 2014. It has a base of 87,000 investors from 71 countries and provides retail investors with transparent ways to invest in loans. Last year, the company secured €5m in Series A funding from Grumpy Investments, previously known as Skillion Ventures. The fintech plans to launch a Mintos banking account and debit card, significantly expanding what it has to offer.

Omni:us (Germany)

Applying AI to insurance documents is, in the mind of Omni:us CEO Sofie Quidenus-Wahlforss, a match made in heaven and a match that she, speaking to TechCrunch, has said will soon define the insurance industry. The start-up takes the drudgery out of processing claims via digital documents by automating data extraction and classification tasks. Its services have proved popular and the firm works with a number of global insurance companies including Allianz, Baloise and AmTrust as well as a spate of insurtech firms. In its recent Series A funding round in October 2018, it generated €19.7m.

Pointy (Ireland)

Retail tech company Pointy combines hardware and software to help local retailers establish an online presence. Pointy is a Dublin-based start-up that was founded in 2014 by Charles Bibby and Mark Cummins, and it has raised more than $19m in funding since it began its start-up journey. The company’s most recent funding raised $12m in a Series B round led by Polaris Partners and involving Vulcan Capital. This came shortly after an announcement earlier in 2018 of 25 new jobs in its Dublin headquarters.

Qonto (France)

A challenger bank for SMEs, Qonto aims to make banking easy, efficient and transparent. Founded in 2016 by Alexandre Prot and Steve Anavi, the company has raised $36.1m in funding to date, including $23m in a round in September 2018 led by existing investors Valar Ventures and Alven Capital, with participation from the European Investment Bank.

Tiqets (Netherlands)

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Dutch start-up Tiqets, which almost went bankrupt before turning its fortunes around and securing €15m Series B funding in May 2017 and a further €20.4m led by HPE Growth Capital last November. Hailing from Amsterdam and active in cities around the world, Tiqets is a smartphone-based ticketing service. Founded by CEO Luuc Elzinga, Maarten Raaijmakers, Christiaan Solcer and Bas de Boer, its first ticket was sold in 2014.

Tourlane (Germany)

Berlin-based booking platform Tourlane enables users to plan their individual travel journeys, including multi-day tours, in more than 30 countries across the globe. The vision is “to make travel both unique and human by enabling travellers to discover once-in-a-lifetime adventures and experiences that are tailor-made”. Founded in 2016 by Julian Stiefel and Julian Weselek, Tourlane last month raised $24m in a Series B investment round, bringing its total funding so far to $34m. Investors include Sequoia Capital, Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk, and Trivago co-founders Malte Siewert and Rolf Schrömgens.

Yulife (UK)

Calling itself the world’s first lifestyle insurance company, Yulife is a London start-up that was founded in 2016 and is using AI and behavioural science concepts to gamify life insurance within companies. Employees in a company have an app on their phone and are then rewarded for achieving wellness activities. Led by Sammy Rubin, Yulife partnered with AIG Life earlier this year. In November, Yulife announced that it had raised £3m in a funding round led by LocalGlobe, with participation from Anthemis Exponential Ventures and OurCrowd.