23 December 2014

Startups and innovation

Asif Faruque - Finextra

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Fintech startups: A week in review

28 July 2014  |  1954 views  |  0

Fintech is booming. OK - according to VentureBeat it 'might not be the sexiest thing happening around town' (who claimed it was?) but it's growing, and growing quickly. 

The startup arm is even more explosive - New York, London, Berlin, Croydon (who'd've thought it?) are all hotbeds of startup activity. 

It's not all central counterparty clearing and middleware these days, oh no. The startup scene is making waves in mobile payments, virtual currencies, peer-to-peer loans and crowdfunding to name a few.

Here's a few items from the past week in review:

1. A research on fintech startup 'smart money' 

CB Insights, an NY-based database of venture capitalists, did a bit of research on where the 'smart money' is going in the fintech world. 

If you don't know what I mean by smart money, you might be familiar with the term 'wise guy' - a gambler with knowledge who makes big wins. 

It's the same in the venture capitalist world too - VCs who've exited a startup for over $1 billion dollars - they're called Unicorn VCs (really).

And what sectors are these unicorns interested in? Lending, PFM, payments and bitcoin. No surprises there, eh? 

2. Some research on the DACH startup scene

FinTech Forum, a hub for startups in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (or D.A.CH) has just completed a study on its startup scene. 

They hosted an event, asked a few questions and got some data. 

The geographical hotspot? Berlin. Closely followed by Frankfurt and Munich. 

The most popular sector? Payments, followed by corporate banking. 

3. Nigeria's 5 most exciting fintech startups

Tech Africa, a media startup covering the African tech scene, have compiled a list of their top 5 Nigerian startups. 

One, Paga, is similar to Kenya's success story M-Pesa in that it allows the movement of money, without a bank account, through the power of SMS. 

Another, CashEnvoy, lets merchants accept payments through debit cards or through a proprietary online wallet. A bit like PayPal - which is convenient as PayPal have just launched in Nigeria.

The common thread? Every startup in the list deals in payments. 

4. Apply Financial gets more funding. 

True Ventures, the VC firm that brought you delights such as GigaOM, GoodReads, TypeKit and BandCamp have just dropped further cash on Apply Financial, a London-based startup which helps banks validate their payments. 

5. Level39 launches exclusive club lounge. 

Ever feel like there's too much riff-raff hanging around your accelerator lab? Can't stand the stench of bearded developers chugging red bull and munching through ready meals? Never fear, Canary Wharf accelerator Level39 has just opened the doors to its private members club.

It's called ClubLounge39 and it hopes to get the banking c-suite types in front of the bearded startup types. It's 2-grand a year, unless you're willing to do a bit of mentoring once a week, and then it's a grand a year. It's got a fancy restaurant inside too. 

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