2021: Top five new fintechs and neobanks
Capping off 2021, FinTech Futures takes a look back at some of the year’s top new fintechs and neobanks.
From niche and targeted fintechs that address the needs of particular consumers, to neobanks that cater for more general needs but in a novel or improved way, the year has seen the launch of a number of new companies across the globe.
Here are five of the top new fintechs and neobanks across 2021.
The Bank of London launches in UK with $1.1bn valuation
In December, a new clearing bank, The Bank of London, launched in the UK with plans to simplify the “complex and confusing” global transaction banking system and open up $1 trillion worth of revenues to UK SMEs and multinationals.
The company is founded by former Barclays chief information officer for Europe, Middle East and global operations Anthony Watson and Goldman Sachs veteran Harvey Schwartz.
It is only the second new clearing bank to launch in the UK in more than 250 years.
Billing itself as the “world’s first purpose-built global clearing, agency and transaction bank”, the firm enters the market with a $1.1 billion valuation, which it claims makes it the first pre-revenue bank in history to attain unicorn status upon debut. It has raised $120 million in funding to date.
The bank hopes to democratise “the sleepy backwater of domestic and international transaction banking” through global cash management, foreign exchange, treasury, liquidity and corporate banking products.
Sports and entertainment-focused fintech SEMA launches in US
In November, a new fintech catering to those in the sports and entertainment industries launched in the US.
SEMA — which stands for Sports, Entertainment, Music and Arts — offers athletes, YouTubers, influencers, artists and entrepreneurs personalised concierge financial services including card issuance, wealth management, networking opportunities and webinars.
SEMA said members will also have access to celebrity consultations from sports agents and entertainment attorneys, in-depth ‘1-on-1’ interviews and conversations with executives and receive ‘VIP’ rewards, such as fine dining experiences.
Indian start-up Zaggle registers new fintech ZikZuk to offer SMEs credit
In March, Zaggle, a 2011-founded Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) fintech based out of Mumbai, registered a new fintech start-up called “ZikZuk”.
ZikZuk is a new banking platform in India focused on SMEs and SME lending. It classifies SMEs as companies which turnover between $1.5-2 million, all the way up to $100 million.
The new fintech has already launched its credit founders’ card. “Right now, our focus is on India,” says Zaggle CEO Avinash Godkhindi. “The country is very credit hungry.”
UK neobank Monument given green light to launch by FCA and PRA
In November, UK challenger Monument announced it could now operate as a fully licenced deposit-taking bank following the lifting of deposit restrictions by financial regulators.
The neobank landed an authorisation with restriction (AWR) banking licence from the UK’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in October 2020.
The firm — which has executives and board members poached from HSBC, Barclays, McKinsey, Goldman Sachs and PwC — intends to marry the lending and saving needs of the UK’s so-called mass affluent population using modular cloud banking and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology.
Monument claims it is the first UK neobank to meet the needs of these customers, considered to be those with over £100,000 worth of assets.
Monument CEO Mintoo Bhandari says: “While we never planned to build and launch a bank in the middle of a global pandemic, the timing could not have been more relevant as the demand for, and comfort with, digital finance has accelerated dramatically over the past 18 months.”
New neobank Migom provides unbanked entrepreneurs essential banking services
In December, a new neobank that combines digital banking necessities with crypto asset capabilities emerged in the Caribbean.
Migom Bank bills itself as a crypto-friendly global bank for the unbanked, providing banking services for businesses in emerging markets.
The firm offers a full suite of e-banking services for SMEs and entrepreneurs, including online account opening and corporate and individual bank accounts management.
The bank also provides international transfers in multiple currencies, issuance of debit cards, certificates of deposit, savings accounts and securities investment services in global markets.
Additionally, Migom offers qualified account holders crypto-to-fiat and fiat-to-crypto instant exchange, cryptocurrency OTC trading services and immediate transferability of funds or crypto assets.