21 top fintech startups in the UK

These are UK's best fintech startups, from challenger banks to savings apps and open-banking platforms.

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Now it can link with bank accounts to see a user's existing financial commitments and what they can afford to borrow. So even if a customer has never had a credit card before, its algorithms work out how much debt they can take on based on actual financial history.

Credit Kudos raised a £5 million Series A funding round in April 2020, led by AlbionVC and joined by TriplePoint, Plug & Play Ventures, the Ascension Ventures’ Fair by Design fund, Entrepreneur First (EF), and other well-known fintech angels.

OpenFin

London-based OpenFin calls itself the operating system for finance. In reality, it is a range of modern desktop apps that sit on top of legacy systems, allowing financial services firms to theoretically move away from archaic systems for their employees and drive greater agility.

The startup also launched a new Cloud Services offering to allow firms to offer private app stores for employees and customers.

OpenFin claims to work with most major banks and asset management firms who are running more than 1,000 applications across 200,000 desktops in 60+ countries.

It raised $17 million (£13.4 million) in Series C funding in May 2019 from big names like Wells Fargo, Bain Capital Ventures, J.P. Morgan, and Pivot Investment Partners. OpenFin has raised more than $40 million (£31.5 million) to date.

"Agility and interoperability are core pillars of our digital strategy because time is a precious resource, especially in a banking environment. OpenFin accelerates our innovation cycle and allows us to create better workflows, enabling our colleagues and clients to make more productive use of their time,” said Brett Tejpaul, head of digital and client strategy at Barclays Investment Bank, as part of the latest funding announcement.

Tully

Tully is an online budget builder that leverages open banking data to ease customer concerns and offer tangible advice to manage their money. It was authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority in March as a digital debt advice solution.

Thanks to open banking, Tully can access your transaction data (with permission) and start to create a detailed and realistic budget complete with a range of debt options and advice with a flexible repayment plan that adapts to your finances. Tully makes money on lender referrals.

It is only in early access for now, but came out of "venture builder" Blenheim Chalcot and received FCA authorisation in early 2019. CEO and cofounder Stuart Bungay is an ex-Barclaycard employee and CCO Steve Bradford is an experienced fintech operator.

Wagestream

London-based Wagestream is fighting payday loans by allowing employees to get an advance on a pre-agreed proportion of their monthly salaries for a flat fee of £1 via its online platform. The startup charges 50p per employee per month to the employers themselves for the service. Gym group David Lloyd, Camden Town Brewery, Slug & Lettuce pubs, and Carluccio’s restaurants are named customers.

Wagestream raised a £20 million Series B funding round in July 2020, led by Northzone with participation from QED Investors, Latitude Ventures, and Balderton Capital. This brings total investment in the startup to £65 million.

TrueLayer

TrueLayer is a London-based fintech startup building APIs to allow fellow fintech startups to access customer banking information (with their permission).

With the introduction of open banking in the UK, the big banks now must open up access to customer  account information if requested. TrueLayer built an API enabling access to the banking data, charging a small fee for access to the API.

The data API allows clients to access identity data, balances, and transactions from users' bank accounts. The payments API will allow users to transfer funds directly from their bank account as an alternative to card payments and direct debits.

TrueLayer was founded by former Silicon Valley venture capitalist Francesco Simoneschi and raised a $25 million Series C funding round in September 2020. The round included participation from existing investors Anthemis, Connect Ventures, Northzone and Temasek. In April 2021, Series D funding saw the company raise a further $70 million.

GoCardless

Founded by Oxford graduates Matt Robinson and Hiroki Takeuchi, GoCardless uses technology to process business-to-business payments and direct debits quicker than traditional providers.

The technology brings down barriers for small businesses to process direct debits by aggregating payments, with fees kept low at 1% per transaction (capped at £2).

Customers can process payments using one of three tools: an online dashboard, account software partnerships, or via an integration via an API. Customers can't accept credit card or instant payments using the platform, though, and the system is limited to the UK and Europe.

GoCardless raised a $95 million Series F funding round in December 2020, led by BainCapital Ventures, valuing the company at close to $1 billion.

ClearBank

ClearBank is the UK's first new clearing bank in more than 250 years. Launched by Nick Ogden, formerly of Worldpay, ClearBank is different than most fintech companies in that it is not for consumers.

Instead, ClearBank provides access to the primary UK payments and card issuing systems, like Faster Payments and SWIFT, to help new entrants to the financial services industry get started quickly and easily.

The startup plans to use Microsoft cloud technology through two data centres; it hopes that will give it greater agility, transparency, and the ability to charge lower fees than the big four clearing banks, which are laden with legacy technology.

Ogden himself is worth north of £40 million; the startup has been backed by John Risley, a Canadian entrepreneur, and Petr Kellner, who founded the PPF investment fund.

Chip

Chip is an automated savings app that links up with a user's current account. The Chip algorithm calculates how much you can afford to save and transfers it to a Chip savings account — held with Barclays — adjusting in real-time depending on spending habits.

Users of Chip simply download the iOS or Android app and grant Chip read-only access to their online banking through an encrypted API.

Chip currently works with Barclays, HSBC, Santander, Lloyds, NatWest, Nationwide, RBS, TSB, Halifax, First Direct, Cooperative Bank, and Metro Bank. The mobile savings app market is crowded, with rivals like the Facebook messenger app Plum and Moneybox.

The startup, which says it has 350,000 users, raised £7.3 million from angel investors in November 2019, with an additional £3.8 million in crowdfunding. In April 2020, Chip completed a £2.6 million private Crowdcube funding round.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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