What it does: Processes direct debit payments in a cleaner, simpler, quicker way.
Why it’s hot: Having become the UK’s leading direct debit provider, the company is launching new products, and focusing its attentions on larger businesses and foreign markets, starting with Europe.
What it does: Transparent, low-cost money transfers across currency boarders.
Why it’s hot: Has transferred £1 billion of its customers’ money. Investors already include Peter Thiel, Richard Branson, Index Ventures and Seedcamp. Recent speculation suggested that possible investment from Sequoia Capital could value the company at close to $1 billion.
What it does: Online payment technology that allows companies to accept payments through their app or website.
Why it’s hot: Working on e-commerce with Apple, Facebook and Twitter. Closed a $70-million funding round late last year which valued the company at $3.5 billion, more than double what it was worth less than a year ago.
New York and San Francisco
What it does: App links to users’ bank accounts and allows them to send money to contacts instantly, and for free.
Why it’s hot: Although payments are currently free and only between consumers, the app could be used to transact payments to merchants who would pay a fee for the service.
What it does: Payments platform that claims to enable businesses to accept almost any type of payment, anywhere in the world.
Why it’s hot: Closed a $250-million funding round at the end of last year that valued the company at $1.5 billion.
Israel and Palo Alto
What it does: Streamlines and automates the way companies make payments to large numbers of payees.
Why it’s hot: Designed to take care of regulatory and tax requirements, even when payees are in multiple countries. Currently serves more than 250,000 payees globally and processes over $1 billion annually.
Hangzhou and Shanghai
What it does: A range of technology-based financial services. Formerly known as Alipay, an affiliate of the now-public Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba.
Why it’s hot: Currently has a user-base of 300 million, controls half the Chinese e-commerce market and processed $519 billion in payments during 2013. Has 100 million users of its mobile wallet and is reportedly eyeing international expansion.
What it does: Pre-paid virtual card technology and cross-border payment services.
Why it’s hot: Already the largest company of its type across Latin America, it has now completed a successful test in China and is targeting expansion there. It will offer Chinese consumers the ability to make international online payments, something that many currently lack.
What is does: Provides business with protection and advice regarding the digital footprint they leave behind.
Why it’s hot: Monitors millions of data sources, including social media in 26 languages, to identify and mitigate security threats. A graduate of the fintech innovation lab at Level 39, the company will close a Series-A funding round and open offices in San Francisco and New York this year.
What it does: Publishes and contextualises private companies’ information.
Why it’s hot: Offers users the ability to understand the financial performance of their competitors, suppliers and customers, and already offers data about private companies in 20 countries. Has partnered with Investec to launch an index of the fastest growing mid-size companies in the UK.
What it does: Platform for peer-to-peer (P2P) or marketplace lending.
Why it’s hot: Has facilitated more than $500 million of loans. Company has also struck a deal with a US investment group that will lend £132 million to small UK businesses via the platform in one of the first international deals in alternative finance.
What it does: The platform provides companies with access to invoice finance services, without forcing them to commit to long-term contracts.
Why it’s hot: With £1.5 million in seed funding, it has gone on to lend more than £300 million, act as a conduit for UK government funding, do a deal with PwC and partner with FTSE 100 software provider Sage.
What it does: P2P mortgage lending for buy-to-let investors and property entrepreneurs.
Why it’s hot: The first and biggest P2P real estate platform in the world. Provides fast loans of up to 75 per cent of the value of a property to borrowers and returns of 5 to 8 per cent for investors. Has lent more than £170 million to date.
What it does: Various types of peer-to-peer lending.
Why it’s hot: Floated on the New York Stock Exchange at the end of last year and currently has a market value of around $7.5 billion. Recently announced a deal with Google, one of its largest investors, to facilitate small-business loans to the tech giant’s partners.
What it does: P2P lending.
Why it’s hot: Comes from the Rocket Internet stable of companies, founded by the controversial Samwer brothers. The business has had huge success by replicating proven internet business models and rolling them out in new markets.
What it does: A credit bureau for the digital age, offering highly individualised loans to smartphone users, based on algorithms and big data.
Why it’s hot: As long as someone uses a smartphone, the company should be able to establish their creditworthiness. As a result, emerging markets present a huge, as yet untapped, opportunity.
What it does: Allows bitcoin to be held as real-world currencies.
Why it’s hot: Backed by a reserve of real money, Bitreserve aims to eliminate the risk and volatility of bitcoin, but retain its benefits. Raised £6.3 million in funding via Crowdcube and Venovate, smashing Crowdcube’s previous record of £1.9 million.
What it does: Makes it easy for people to buy, sell and use bitcoin.
Why it’s hot: With 2.1 million consumer wallets, it is thought to be the most widely used bitcoin wallet in the world. Also processes bitcoin payments for 38,000 merchants and is fully operational in 19 countries.
What it does: Provides enterprise software that enables banks and other financial institutions to take advantage of digital currency.
Why it’s hot: Could help established institutions to fend off the startups that have been threatening to lure customers away with significantly cheaper fees for currency transfers.
What it does: Platform to allow investors to manage and keep track of all their crowdfunding and P2P investments.
Why it’s hot: With alternative finance in the UK growing by around 150 per cent each year, a free supermarket-cum-dashboard makes perfect sense.
What it does: Accessible wealth management for anyone with £1,000 or more to invest.
Why it’s hot: Being a web-based platform allows it to charge significantly lower fees than its traditional competitors.
What it does: The “robo adviser” automates personal investment based on individuals’ specific preferences and requirements.
Why it’s hot: Only four years after being founded, it already has $1 billion of assets under management and charges only 0.15 per cent to 0.35 per cent in fees.
STARTUPS TO WATCH
What it does: Branchless mobile banking for the iPhone generation.
Why it’s hot: Led by a former Allied Irish chief operating officer and backed by WPP, the startup will set out to be more like Google or Amazon than a typical bank. Expected to launch late this year.
What it does: P2P lending platform that gives borrowers personalised rates.
Why it’s hot: Lendable uses information about would-be borrowers to match them with investors. Even people with less-than-perfect credit ratings can borrow, if they pay a higher rate.
What it does: Helps users to monitor their personal finances via an app.
Why it’s hot: Claims to have 200,000 users in Sweden – 2 per cent of the country’s total population – and has sights set on European expansion following $4-million Series-A funding round and “best in show award” at industry expo Finovate.