20 European start-ups changing how we spend and manage money

30 Jan 20202.45k Views

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These 20 fintech and e-commerce start-ups from across Europe are trying to shake up how and where your money gets spent.

With greater technology at our fingertips, there are more options than ever when it comes to determining how we spend, transfer and save money.

However, as more of these services move online, there are additional concerns to consider such as security, from anti-money laundering (AML) compliance to the implementation of PSD2.

Here are 20 start-ups from across Europe to keep an eye on in this industry in 2020, all of which are shaking up how or where your money gets spent.

UrbanFox

UrbanFox is a Dublin-based start-up, founded by Daniel Loftus, which aims to help protect payment processors and large online merchants from complex synthetic fraud attacks.

Close-up of a man in a gunmetal grey blazer and white shirt with the top button undone. He is smiling broadly.

UrbanFox founder Daniel Loftus. Image: Local Enterprise Office

“Essentially, what UrbanFox is able to do is simulate what it thinks the behaviours of these fraudsters are and then it compares them to what’s happening in real time, allowing us to detect fraudsters before they actually commit a crime,” Loftus told Siliconrepublic.com.

“The type of fraud we’re targeting isn’t a particularly well known type of fraud, but it’s highly valuable.”

Raisin

German fintech Raisin was founded in 2012 by Dr Tamaz Georgadze, Dr Frank Freund and Michael Stephan, offering an open-banking platform for online savings and investments for customers across Europe.

In 2019, Raisin raised $114m in its Series B, before receiving investment of $25m from Goldman Sachs. The company also entered the Irish market last year, launching a savings product, and it is now eyeing up the US market.

Unitek.AI

Dublin-based Unitek.AI was established with the aim of using smart automation to target roadblocks in financial services. It provides automated data analytics solutions such as data extraction, intelligent data entry and process automation.

Co-founder and CEO Martin Brown told us that he hopes to accelerate digital transformation for businesses operating in insurance, retail banking and financial services, as well as alternative lenders.

VeeLoop

UK start-up VeeLoop has created an online payment system that aims to help teens and young people to shop online safely and independently while keeping parents ‘in the loop’. Young shoppers pick what they want to purchase online, then their basket of items is sent to a designated parent, who can check through the list and approve what to purchase for their child.

The payment system, founded by Randa Bennett and Patricia Salume, is starting to work with a number of retail brands.

DX Compliance Solutions

Dublin-based DX Compliance Solutions is helping financial institutions of all shapes and sizes better manage their AML compliance concerns, providing software for the likes of challenger banks, payment service providers and high-transaction businesses.

“Our specialities are really focused on monitoring behaviour and transactions of customers to detect suspicious activity, and on automating many of the back-office processes that our competitors have not covered,” founder Simon Dix told us.

Deposit Solutions

German fintech Deposit Solutions has developed an open-banking platform for gathering deposits. The Hamburg-based company helps banks raise deposits by connecting them directly with consumers, and enables partner platforms to offer bank deposits directly to customers.

In 2018, Deposit Solutions raised $100m, and last year Deutsche Bank acquired a 5pc stake in the company. Nearly 100 banks from 18 countries are now using the platform.

TradeIX

TradeIX was founded in 2016 by a team of experts in trade finance, blockchain technology and enterprise software. Together, they created a trade finance platform, powered by Corda blockchain technology, to facilitate the flow of goods, services, transactions and information within a secure environment for global trade.

The company is headquartered in Dublin with offices in London, Kettering and Singapore, and operations in Germany and the US.

Last year, the fintech announced plans to expand its global headquarters in Dublin, creating 70 new jobs. In December, Accenture announced that it invested in TradeIX, with plans to form a new “strategic alliance”.

Active Asset Allocation

Founded in 2010 by Adina Grigoriu and Olivier Hiezely, Active Asset Allocation specialises in the management of portfolio risks and the optimisation of investment strategies, targeting asset managers and institutional investors. Its platform provides a range of services with ongoing monitoring and reporting for clients.

The French fintech has raised €4.1m to date.

Aid:Tech

Dublin-based blockchain company Aid:Tech was founded in 2014 with the aim of delivering international aid using distributed ledger technology.

Speaking at Inspirefest 2019, the company’s co-founder and COO, Niall Dennehy, explained that, unlike many companies caught up in the hype around blockchain, Aid:Tech’s platform was designed to provide greater transparency for donations made to aid organisations from people around world.

CorribPoint

Galway-based CorribPoint is looking to bring credit unions into the fintech age with a cloud-based technology platform, Akula, that helps smaller financial institutions to meet AML obligations.

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CorribPoint founders John Rushe and Caitriona McGuckian. Image: CorribPoint

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The company was founded in 2016 by Caitriona McGuckian (CEO) and John Rushe (CTO), and it has received funding from Enterprise Ireland and the NDRC.

TransferMate

B2B payments platform TransferMate, which was founded in 2010, is headquartered in Kilkenny but has offices across Europe, the US and further afield.

Its platform aims to reduce international payments costs for business customers that are sending or receiving transactions. TransferMate secured investment of €30m from AIB in 2017 and €21m from ING in 2018. 

Flender

Peer-to-peer lending start-up Flender, launched in 2016, offers flexible, multi-purpose loans to Irish SMEs. Led by CEO Kristjan Koik, the company funded more than €13m in SME loans in 2019 and secured an additional €75m funding line to provide loans to Irish businesses in 2020.

The start-up was in the news this month after it was announced that former Irish rugby international Jamie Heaslip will be joining the company as head of brand marketing.

Grover

Berlin-based tech rental start-up Grover offers a subscription-based rental platform for consumer electronics. Individuals and businesses can subscribe for access to more than 2,000 tech products including smartphones, laptops, VR headsets and wearables.

Last year, the company claims to have recirculated almost 100,000 devices and recorded a 200pc growth in active subscriptions and cash revenue. Earlier this month, the company secured a €250m funding deal, bringing its total funding to about €300m. 

ID-Pal

Dublin-based ID-Pal has developed a digital identity verification solution that enables businesses to onboard their customers in real time in a secure and compliant manner, using a combination of document, database and biometric checks.

ID-Pal began life at Accenture’s Fintech Innovation Lab in 2016, and is now expanding its Dublin team as the security landscape continues to evolve.

Spendesk

Fintech start-up Spendesk was founded in 2016 to develop a corporate card and expense service for businesses. The company, which is headquartered in Paris, raised €35m in its Series B round last year.

“We’ve already seen the private payments sector disrupted by new players like Revolut and N26, but most businesses still manage spending like it’s 1995 – with archaic processes like shared company credit cards, petty cash or manual expense reports,” said Spendesk CEO Rodolphe Ardant. “We’re here to change that.”

Atom Bank

The likes of Revolut and N26 may be shaking up personal finance, but they’re not the only players trying to make their mark in this space. Durham-based mobile-first challenger bank Atom Bank, which offers savings as well as loans and mortgages, is also trying to shake up the UK banking industry.

Founded in 2014 by Anthony Thomson and Mark Mullen, Atom Bank has raised more than £450m, with some high-profile investors including musician Will.i.am.

Monzo

Another challenger bank that has been increasingly catching people’s eyes – particularly with its distinctive coral-coloured card – is London-based Monzo.

The mobile-only banking start-up launched with a prepaid card in 2015, but now offers current accounts, savings and lending, claiming that more than 3.6m people now use its cards around the world. Last year, Monzo was valued at £2bn after raising £113m in fresh funding.

Oathello

Founded by Jennifer Hourihane in 2016, Dublin-based Oathello has developed a platform to accelerate the process for the signing, execution and completion of documents online.

While Hourihane originally aimed to target legal professionals with this platform, she has found herself working with several fintech firms that are trying to bring their customers online.

“Finance is attractive to us,” she told Siliconrepublic.com. “We have attached ourselves to that system, so to that extent we’re fintech.”

Goin

Barcelona-based start-up Goin has created a savings platform with a machine-learning app that aims to automate and optimise saving. This includes the ability to round up purchases made with your credit card and have the difference transferred to your savings account.

The Spanish fintech app has 270,000 users and has raised €2.5m in funding since it was founded in 2017.

Lunar Way

Challenger banks are also making a mark in Scandinavia, and one of the ones to watch is mobile-based banking app Lunar Way, which is operating in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

The Danish fintech company, founded in 2015, offers banking services through its app, which has been downloaded by more than 130,000 users. Lunar raised €26m in fresh funding last year, and was granted a full European banking licence.

Sarah Harford is sub-editor of Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com