7 fintech start-ups pioneering in the sector

10 Sep 2020

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This week, we look at a variety of fintech businesses worth keeping an eye on for their technology and innovative approaches to traditional financial processes.

With the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a push towards digital spending, whether that’s online or in stores. The surge in digital transactions is creating an environment in which many fintech start-ups can thrive.

This week, we take a look at some of the most exciting players in the field of fintech, from the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Technology Pioneers to start-ups focusing on financial audit technology and remittance payments.


Headquartered in Dublin, Circit is a financial audit management platform that was founded by David Heath. The start-up aims to automate critical aspects of financial audits while providing real-time visibility of audit confirmation to reduce the potential for fraudulent activity.

In July 2020, the firm raised €1.1m in funding to accelerate its international expansion and create 20 new jobs within Circit. The start-up provides its services to banks, solicitors and audit firms and counts PwC and Deloitte among its 200 clients.

The Irish company has recently been granted Account Information Service Provider status by the Central Bank of Ireland, giving it permission to access information stored with account-keeping financial institutions on behalf of customers. Circit’s backers include Enterprise Ireland, Commodore Investments and the European Angels Fund.


Recognised by the WEF as a Technology Pioneer for 2020, ComplyAdvantage founded by Charles Delingpole in London in 2014. The company has since gone on to open offices in San Francisco, New York, Singapore and Romania.

ComplyAdvantage was set up with the goal of neutralising the risk of money laundering, terrorist financing, corruption and other financial cybercrimes using AI-driven risk detection technology. The firm currently has 500 customers in 75 countries that use the technology to understand the potential risks associated with who they are doing business with through a real-time database.

Counting the start-up’s recent $50m Series C raise, ComplyAdvantage has raised a total of $88m from investors including Index Ventures, Balderton Capital and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, which is one of the world’s largest pension plans with CAD$207.4bn in net assets. ComplyAdvantage counts Visa, Inpay and Santander among its customers.


Founded in 2013 in New York by Atish Davda, Phil Haslett and Shriram Bhashyam, EquityZen is another WEF Technology Pioneer in the field of fintech and monetary systems. EquityZen’s platform aims to connect shareholders of private companies with investors seeking alternative investments.

The aim of EquityZen is to improve the way start-up employees are paid by using their equity compensation in a way that benefits all key players, enabling clients to provide the opportunity to invest in large private firms and address liquidity and risk concerns.

By leveraging technology and market expertise, the start-up provides accredited investors with access at reasonable minimums through investment funds. Some investors in EquityZen include Draper Associates, ZenStone Venture Capital, Click Ventures, TSVC and Projector Ventures.


Recently featured as a Siliconrepublic.com Start-up of the Week, Leveris has set out to become ‘the Google of banking’ by helping banks take advantage of the massive quantities of customer data they hold. The start-up has built an end-to-end core banking platform for both traditional and challenger banks, as well as consumer brands entering the banking and lending space.

Founded by Conor Fennelly in 2016, the start-up has grown its team to more than 200 employees who have experience in financial services, technology and banking. Banks and fintech clients using Leveris can use the platform’s real-time data to generate insights on customer behaviour and inform business decisions. The company quietly raised $15m in 2018 and plans to raise another $100m to achieve its next set of goals.


Another WEF Technology Pioneer, MindBridge is a Canadian financial data business that was founded by Eli Fathi and Solon Angel. The start-up uses machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to detect anomalous patterns of activities, unintentional errors and intentional financial misstatements.

Results of MindBridge’s audits are visually explained through an intuitive web interface that aims to help organisations minimise financial loss while providing transparency and ensuring the integrity of financial transactions.

Since it was launched, MindBridge has raised funding from investors including Real Ventures, PeakSpan Capital, National Bank of Canada, 8VC and Reciprocal Ventures. Companies using MindBridge’s technology for risk assessment include Dixon Hughes Goodman, financial services firm HBK and Maastricht University.


Based in Seattle, Remitly is a mobile payments company that was co-founded by Josh Hug, Matthew Oppenheimer and Shivaas Gulati in 2011. The company is backed by Bezos Expeditions, TomorrowVentures and Trilogy Equity Partners, among other investors.

Remitly’s platform supports person-to-person international money transfers from the US, to support expats as they send remittance home to their families and friends. Remitly aims to eliminate the unnecessary forms, codes, agents, time and fees associated with the traditional money transfer process.

Remitly current offers users the ability to send money for free or for a reduced fee through its economy transfer service, while also allowing users to opt into a more expensive method, which charges users per transaction. The start-up was recently valued at $1.5bn, following an $85m fundraise aimed at fuelling growth and expanding the start-up’s suite of digital financial services products.


ZestMoney is another WEF Technology Pioneer that has developed a consumer lending platform aimed at the Indian market. The start-up was founded in 2015 by Ashish Anantharaman, Lizzie Chapman and Priya Sharma.

ZestMoney enables consumers to pay for products using equated monthly instalments (EMI), without the need for a credit card or credit score. The start-up believes that the ability to pay in EMI should be available to all consumers.

The start-up’s technology can be used with merchants such as Amazon, Flipkart, Decathlon, Apple, Uber and Puma, among around 3,000 others. ZestMoney uses its automated, end-to-end AI platform to disburse credit to users in India, without the need for contact with another human.

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Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic