Bay Area top spot for fintech startup funding

Bay Area top spot for fintech startup funding

Fintech startups in the San Francisco Bay Area tend to raise far more in capital funding than those in other parts of the US, figures put together by the Financial Solutions Lab (FinLab) suggest.

FinLab is a five year, $30 million programme established last year by the Centre for Financial Services Innovation and JPMorgan Chase to identify, test and expand the availability of services that increase household savings, improve credit, and build assets.

An opening competition for a $3 million prize pot attracted entries from some 298 startups. The lab has now crunched the numbers on the entrants to give a snapshot of trends in the burgeoning fintech market.

Between them, the 298 serve over 10 million Americans, employ nearly 2000 people, and are based in 34 states, although the Bay Area and greater New York City account for 38% of all applicants. Just 31% have female founders, which drops to 25% when the 62 non-profits are stripped out.

In total, the 298 have raised $178 million in capital. However, Bay Area organisations have pulled in an average of 71% more in funding, despite not having a significantly larger number of customers and having the same median team size as firms from other parts of the country.

Funding is not the be-all and end-all for the startups: asked for their motivation in applying to the lab, 72% said the access to partner opportunities, while 63% said capital and 37% networking.

When it comes to what the startups actually offer, more than half have a hybrid product, combining two or more traditional things. Financial planning tools are popular, but there is a growing consumer desire for technology that goes beyond information and allows users to take action, says FinLab.

Meanwhile, the nature of credit is evolving. Many applicants use technology to "enable short-term liquidity solutions that leverage personal relationships in new ways," says the report. Another hot area is prepaid. Of the 21 virtual account products among the lab’s applicants, a significant number are leveraging prepaid infrastructure.

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