Fintech trends and startups that will change the way we approach banking

The banking sector as we know it is ready for disruption. Who needs huge transaction fees, mountains of printed forms and long waiting times in our digital age? Technology and startups are already changing and hopefully optimizing the way we approach banking and traditional banking services.


According to a BI Intelligence survey from 2017, “71% of millennials say it’s very important to have a banking app and 60% say it’s very important to have an app to make payments.” While many traditional banks are not there yet to serve this need properly, fintech startups from across the world are ready to fill the gap.

This week we looked at some of the biggest trends in the financial sector, to give you an overview and to introduce you to Europe-based startups that are innovating on top of these trends and that are already profiting from the underlying changes.

Lending marketplaces for SMEs

Instead of borrowing money from traditional banks, more and more SMEs are using online lending providers and lending marketplaces. Compared to traditional banks, these solutions are often a bit less bureaucratic and less time-consuming. Three startups that are innovating in that space are: Spotcap, which operates as a direct lender to SMEs (already secured over €100 million in funding), Bitbond, which is a Blockchain-based SME lending platform from Berlin, and Barcelona-based LoanBook, a marketplace which focuses on the provision of working capital loans and other types of financing to Spanish SMEs.

Consumer Credits and Credit Scoring

Also for consumers, online lending marketplaces become more popular. Do you have a stable income, own some real estate, do you have debts? These are probably the most important and most common factors for banks and other financial service providers when it comes to estimate the credit-worthiness of a client. But actually, there are many more factors or approaches. Kreditech, for example, also measures some data points from social media platforms in order to evaluate if you’re credit worth or not. The German fintech startup not only does credit scoring, but also offers consumer loans. Another fast-growing company in that space is Barcelona-based ID Finance. The most prominent ID Finance assets is probably the smart data online lending service MoneyMan. An online lending service with more than 3 million registered clients. The idea behind MoneyMan is to help people to solve their short-term cash flow needs by providing a fully automated loan service operating round-the-clock.

Blockchain Technology

In the future, blockchain technology might have a big impact on the global banking system. The implementation of the distributed-ledger technology has the potential to play a major role when it comes to payments, settlements or compliance. The blockchain’s key properties of decentralization, immutability, efficiency, cost-effectiveness and security might lead to the technology’s adoption across the entire spectrum of financial services. Although it’s an exciting concept, there are not so many working use cases for it yet. One example of a European startup using blockchain technology is the Estonia-based Funderbeam. The crowdinvesting platform uses blockchain to secure issuing tokens, trading tokens, keeping track of investors (cap table management) and clearing the trades. This way, the blockchain carries many roles that in traditional stock markets are provided by many intermediaries. It is the trust that intermediaries should represent and the trust is now built in technology — blockchain.

Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies will change everything and will democratize and decentralize the whole monetary system as we know it. That’s at least what my taxi driver told me last week. Let’s hope he’s right, when we think of all the money that is currently getting invested in that field. In the physical gold rush times of the past, companies selling shovels and gold digging supply made a lot of money. Today, this is also the case with cryptocurrency marketplaces. No matter if prices go up or down, they win. The leading and most basic cryptocurrencies marketplace is probably Coindesk, which was founded in 2013 by the London-based serial entrepreneur Shakil Khan. Coindesk lets you buy and sell Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoins.

Saving up money

Saving up money can be hard, especially if you don’t have a big salary. But there are more and more startups that set out to help consumers save up money. They haven’t replaced savings accounts or piggy banks yet, but they are on a good way. You want to grow your savings as well? One of the newest and most promising startups in that space is probably Madrid-based Arbor. It’s an automatic savings app with the mission of helping users save seamlessly without impacting their lifestyles. Users control how and when they want to save. Arbor for example offers to round up all card and bank transactions to the next euro. All these little amounts are then going into the user’s savings account. With Arbor you can also just set up recurring savings transfers. For example by choosing to save up €5 every Tuesday. The Arbor solution integrates with the user’s existing banks which means they don’t even have to change banks.

Equity Crowdfunding for Startups and SMEs

Another alternative financing form which gets more and more popular is equity-based crowdfunding. Instead of raising money from traditional venture capital firms or getting a loan from your bank, you can offer some shares of your company through platforms like Seedrs, Crowdcube or StartupXplore. Of course it still needs some time and efforts to create a successful funding campaign, but some standard due diligence processes and most of the bureaucratic steps are handled by the crowdfunding platform. Most importantly to note is, that it’s not necessarily easier to raise funding via a crowdfunding platform, but in many cases it will happen faster compared to traditional fundraising.

International money transfer

Are you also annoyed of huge transaction fees and long waiting times when it comes to international money transfer? With Transferwise and other solutions, this is now a thing of the past. London-based Transferwise was founded by Estonian entrepreneurs in 2011 and today is headquartered in London. The fast-growing fintech company makes sending money overseas up to 8 times cheaper than traditional bank, and their borderless account allows you to manage money in 28 different currencies. The Transferwise team aims to provide the fairest, easiest way to manage your money internationally.

Mobile banking

With mobile banking, you can do most of the things you can do with your regular bank account, but all on your smartphone. For example with apps like N26, Revolut or Atom. With those modern banking providers, opening a new bank account takes less than 10 minutes and can be done directly from your smartphone. Users receive a credit card to pay cashless or withdraw cash all around the world. They can block or unblock their card with a simple click and send money instantly to friends and contacts. And it’s no secret that the mobile banking space is really booming right now. Earlier this month the UK-based mobile bank Atom raised £149 million in funding led by Spanish bank BBVA. This week, the Berlin-based mobile bank N26 raised $160 million to accelerate growth in the US and the UK.

Conclusion — the future of banking

It’s of course hard to predict the future of banking, mostly due to the yet untapped potential of the blockchain technology. But with traditional banks and startups exploring innovative use cases of decentralized financial solutions, there will be certainly big changes coming, which will completely transform the way how consumers and businesses access/use banking services. And most likely it will not be the Deutsche Banks or BNPs of the world which will be leading that field in the future, but probably a fintech startup that is just getting started.

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E.

Essential Podcasts for Entrepreneurs & Tech Lovers

Podcasts are a great way to discover new subjects and new people. Whether you are a tech lover or an entrepreneur, bellow you will discover podcasts for entrepreneurs you should – without a doubt – listen to. 

Itnig Podcast with César Migueláñez, Bernat Farrero and Carlos Pierre
Itnig Podcast with César Migueláñez, Bernat Farrero and Carlos Pierre

« Masters of Scale » 

with Reid Hoffman

The host: Reid Hoffman decides to turn to the corporate world instead of pursuing a university carrier. He worked for Apple, Fujitsu for then starting his own business: SocialNet and left it in 2000 to join Confinity. Confinity gives life to Paypal after fusionning. Finally, in 2003, Hoffman co-founds LinkedIn. He is Master of Scale’s host. 

About: The podcast welcomes some of the greatest entrepreneurs. You will discover throughout the talk how they managed to take their companies from 0 to a lot of zeros. You can listen to Masters of Scale’s special guests like Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Selina Tobaccowalla (Evite), Brian Chesky (Airbnb) or Nancy Lublin (Crisis Text Line). Must-hear: one of the top tech podcasts for entrepreneurs.

Listen to the podcast: On their website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Youtube

The Team: Reid Hoffman, June Cohen, Deron Triff and Jai Punjabi

« Rocket » 

with Christina Warren, Simone de Rochefort and Brianna Wu

The hosts: Christina Warren started as a Freelance Writer. Then, she worked at Mashable as a Senior Tech Analyst and Tech Correspondent and ended the journey at Microsoft as a Senior Cloud Developer Advocate. About Simone de Rochefort, she is  Senior Video Producer and co-host of The Polygon Show. Brianna Wu founded her first startup at the age of 19, Giant Spacekat. She was Head of Development at the time. She is now running for US Congress. 

About: In this podcast, you will discover three passionate women and their “geek conversation” as they like to call it.  No guest speakers, but you will be able to listen to a panel of tech subjects from Apple to Comics, you will not be disappointed. 

Listen to the podcast: On their website, Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Spotify and Castro

« This week in Startups »

with Jason Calacanis

The host: Jason Calacanis starts as an internet industry journalist in New-York. In 2003, he co-founded Weblogs, Inc and then a few years later he joined Sequoia Capital, launched the web directory Mahalo. He also founded ThisWeekIn.com. Furthermore, he created This Week in Startups podcast and a startup named Inside.com. Finally, he was part of the creation of the Sydney Launch Festival. 

About: Either you are looking to start your own company, or you are a successful entrepreneur, or you just love technology, this podcast will give you a peek to the entrepreneurship world. You will hear stories of all kinds! On his website, you will also find his events and some research on transportation, healthcare and more. This is one is part of the tech podcasts for entrepreneurs not to be missed.

Listen to the podcast: Apple Podcasts, Youtube, SoundCloud and RSS Feed

You can also subscribe to their newsletter in order to receive episodes directly. 

The Team: Jason Calacanis, Jacqui Deegan, and Tony Agapiou

« Recode / Decode » 

with Kara Swisher

The host: Kara Swisher is an American journalist specialized in the technology industry. She first started to work for an alternative newspaper in Washington for then working for the Washington Post. She wrote articles for the Wall Street Journal and New York Times and wrote her own books. Finally, in 2014, she created Recode, a website dedicated to the latest technology news. In 2015, she initiates Recode Decode. 

About: The weekly podcast welcomes tech experts and great entrepreneurs. They review how they got there, what’s on their mind about the current industry and what they would improve or create. Her recent guests were Elon Musk (Tesla CEO), former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mark Zuckerberg. 

Listen to the podcast: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn

« K Fund PodKast »

with Jaime Novoa

The host: Jaime Novoa’s background is quite diverse. He is a writer and an investor, but he also worked in data analysis and social media analysis. In 2014, he founded Novobrief, a newsletter for startups. Then, in 2016, he becomes an investor at K Fund and he founds, in 2019, Dealflow, a weekly tech newsletter. 

About: The podcast discusses startups, entrepreneurs and Venture Capital. You will discover enterprises and their story. From data science, unicorns or digital platforms, you sure will find more than one interesting podcast. 

Listen to the podcast: On their website and Soundcloud

« Clockwise »

with Dan Moren and Mikah Sargent

The hosts: Dan Moren is an active author and writer as well as podcaster. He was a Senior Editor at Macworld. Today, he hosts two podcast shows: Clockwise and The Rebound. As for Mikah Sargent, he started as a Website Designer and Developer for then switching as a Senior Editor at Newsy. He now hosts few podcasts such as Clockwise on Replay FM or on TWiT.tv. 

About: The weekly podcast discusses technology and welcomes each time 2 special guests. For 30 minutes, they address 4 topics where all four speakers get to elaborate on the matter, highlight the issues and expose their thoughts. 

Listen to the podcast: On their website, Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Spotify and Castro

« Itnig Podcast»

with Bernat Farrero

The host: Bernat Farrero starts his career as a Developer. In 2009, he founded Itnig, a startup ecosystem that organizes entrepreneurship events. They also have a coworking for startups, a podcast and a fund for early-stage projects. Furthermore, he is a Founder of Factorial, Quipu and Camaloon. He is also a Board Member of Playfullbet, GymForLess and Parkimeter. Finally, he hosts Itnig’s weekly Podcast. 

About: The podcast welcomes every week a new guest. If you wish to learn from successful entrepreneurs, you are on the right platform. The discussions turn around Technology and its industry. You will come across guests like Carlos Pierre (Badi), Vincent Rosso (BlaBlaCar) or Oscar Pierre (Glovo).

Listen to the podcast: Youtube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Ivoox, and Google Podcasts

You can subscribe to their newsletter if you want to receive the podcast’s link every Monday. 

Whether you are at an early stage of your project, an investor or you are just curious, these podcasts for entrepreneurs give you the opportunity to be updated on tech and business news. Also, you get to learn from successful international entrepreneurs, which can definitely be very useful for your business.