The financial sector has not been seen as synonymous with any sort of institutional change — in fact, it’s largely been the opposite.
Hidden behind heavy bank vaults, the opaque world of finance has remained relatively unchanged for the past couple hundred years, gate kept by a select few at the very top, and largely immune to an increasingly demanding and tech-savvy customer base.
But that’s all changing now thanks to a swarm of new fintechs who are armed with the latest in disruptive technology and questioning everything from data privacy to credit systems.
So who are these pioneers leading us into a brave new world? Meet our top seven from X-Europe’s latest batch of fintech startups. On course to graduate from the six month accelerator program, these fintechs are ready to challenge the status quo.
Thanks to the pandemic, more and more workers are ditching their desks and packing their backpacks for the world of remote work abroad. According to a report from MBO Partners, 4.8 million workers describe themselves as digital nomads globally, and a further 17 million aspire to one day become nomadic.
Taking meetings from the beach sounds pretty nice, right? Well, things like financial investing become a lot more complicated once you’re no longer a resident of your home country.
Enter: Abroaden, a Spanish wealth-building platform made for people living abroad. Abroaden works a bit like a financial adviser, using a combination of tech and human expertise to learn about customers’ goals, investment preferences, and risk tolerance — based on these factors, the service then designs an investment strategy tailor-made to the user. This service then seamlessly moves with you as you move from country to country, allowing you to build wealth as you go. Elliott Locke, CEO of Aboraden, says:
As we leave the pandemic, more professionals than ever before will either move abroad for work or become international remote workers. While that’s fantastically enriching on many levels, continuing to save and invest in your long-term goals for retirement is needlessly expensive and complicated.
By leveraging ‘WealthTech 2.0,’ new regulations, and our personal experience with the pain point, we’re making wealth-building more accessible and affordable for millions of expats, remote workers, and digital nomads.
According to Ioanna Stanegloudi, co-Founder & Chief Risk Officer of Finclude:
There are 510m adults within the EU and there is no uniform way to assess their financial standing, which leaves 58m people with no access to credit. Finclude revolutionizes the creditworthiness and affordability assessment of individuals with machine learning tech based on their actual, real-time transactions.
Finclude wants to revolutionize the notoriously opaque world of creditworthiness via an embedded finance solution. The pan-European fintech analysis uses transactional data and spending patterns, offering a more transparent option for affordability assessment. This, Finclude says, should provide a more holistic view of a retail credit applicant to creditors and lenders.
As a B2B, Finclude works as an embedded API to a business’ apps or websites, allowing it to seamlessly become part of the customer journey, increasing customer engagement digitally and ensuring a more inclusive path to creditworthiness.
According to Angela Griggio, CEO of B-Datagray, one of the biggest issues facing data privacy in Europe is that search engines rely on massive centralized server farms which are inflexible and oligopolize the market. Her company’s model is focused on tackling the exploitation of customer data for profit.
B-Datagray is an Ireland-based blockchain startup whose aim is to decentralize cloud computing, making it less reliant on oligopolized server farms. This blockchain based system allows for more resiliency to outages (increasing cybersecurity) and provides a privacy-friendly solution.
To increase the cost effectiveness of the decentralized cloud computing infrastructure (Datagen Infrastructure), B-Datagray is leveraging the huge potential of crypto finance, starting with the creation of Datagen Infrastructure’s utility token, the DataGen token (#DG), minted in the Binance Smart Chain blockchain on March 21st, 2022.
Privacy is one of tech’s big hot button issues — 294m people in the US alone had their identity stolen in 2021 — and no sector faces the pressure more acutely than fintech.
Croatia-based Identyum is a digital ID wallet allowing for customer identification, onboarding, data extraction, and legally valid document signing, giving users better control over their identity data.
How it works is that when a user creates their digital ID profile, their personal information becomes encrypted and locked via a PIN, making the ID data unreadable to others. Every time an app, for example, wants to read your data, you need to enter your PIN — and a secondary security factor — to decrypt it.
Users can use Identyum to do things like prove their financial capacity, conduct an identity check, or sign a document. Robert Ilijaš, CEO of Identyum explains:
The Internet was once a fundamental tool for society’s progress. Today it represents an environment loaded with hoaxes, fake news, phishing, hate speech, and similar issues. We at Identyum believe that the Internet should become a network of trust, finely balancing the need for anonymity and personal data protection with the need for credible identity verification.
Gen Z is still a hugely underserved market when it comes to banking — and a massively missed opportunity, considering they now make up 32% of the population.
One of the new fintechs on the block looking to take a piece of the pie is Woli, a money management app and Mastercard for kids aged 10 to 18 years old. Co-managed by, and securely linked to parents, Woli does things like automating pocket money and teaching teens good financial behavior.
The cards are also prepaid, so users can never spend more than their balance, and parents can also set up chore-based incentives for kids — walk the dog, and that’s $1.80 straight into your account. According to Vasilis Zoupas, CEO and founder of Woli:
Young people still grow up with limited financial skills, which eventually leads to an adulthood of poor financial decisions. We really want to help the new generations make fewer mistakes, by empowering them with financial freedom and knowledge through a unique and enjoyable banking experience.
And this is backed by investor confidence as the company recently closed a 700k seed funding round.
Another data security fintech, Togggle, is on a mission to give users back control of their personal data. CEO Michelangelo Frigo explained:
One of the biggest problems is data centralization: people don’t have the possibility to control and manage their information directly and sometimes that information is not secure at all.
Togggle is the decentralized bank for data, where people have more control over their digital identity and companies can find inter-platform data in a single place to offer a better customizing service. Togggle is building a solid and transparent infrastructure for the identity layer. At the moment our focus is the KYC process for web2 and web3 companies with a web3 architecture.
Using the PIMS concept, the app allows users to see and manage which companies are collecting their data and who it’s being shared with. With this overview they can then completely decentralize where their data is stored.
Meanwhile, for companies, they offer an identity verification solution that is completely decentralized, avoiding data privacy risks.
BNPL is one of the hottest trends to come out of fintech in recent years. It’s proven popular amongst millennials and Gen Z alike, but Liridi wants to take it to a new market.
UK-based Liridi wants to bring this popular alternative payment method to small business owners in emerging economies, allowing them to buy the goods and services they need at their own pace.
Specifically targeting African and Asian entrepreneurs who have traditionally been locked out of funding, how it works is that an entrepreneur can buy the product they need for their business via the Liridi app, which ensures fair pricing and lets them pay in installments.
This, Liridi says, empowers underbanked entrepreneurs to grow their business sustainably.
Learn more about these and other up and coming fintechs ready to disrupt Europe’s financial sector.
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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 871795.