The line between the tech world and the financial world is starting to get real blurry. In recent years, more and more business savvy programmers have identified opportunities in the market. These entrepreneurs have started up companies that try to solve these problems and have created a whole new sector by doing so. The aptly named Financial Technology Sector uses computer algorithms and artificial intelligence to improve upon banking and financial services. We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 fintech companies that could have the potential to cause significant ripples. Who knows, one of the companies on this list may even be the next Google.
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Stash is a fintech startup that aims to get everyone investing. They encourage everyone to invest and allow users to invest a paltry sum of as little as $5. But hey, every dollar counts. Their $5 barrier is much lower than some brokerage firms that require an initial deposit that runs into the hundreds or thousands. Stash has been able to ride off a wave of publicity and has garnered over 300,000 users despite competition from more established players like Robin Hood and mega bank Charles Schwab. Part of the reason why is that Stash offers investment guidance to their users. The app offers nifty little tips and advice when you construct your portfolio. And, if you’re too lazy to make your own, Stash has the option of investing in many pre-made portfolios, one of which mimicks the investments of Investment guru Warren Buffet. While the micro-investing app has been able to snag a lot of users, investors are unsure whether that will translate into higher revenues. Currently, Stash charges $1 per account that has a total value of under $5,000. For accounts over $5,000 however, they charge a 0.25% fee of total assets under management. While that may seem like a solid business model, some potential investors have appropriately brought up the question of why people with big bucks to invest would use a micro-investing app. Why not just open a brokerage account with one the well established brokerages like TD Ameritrade? Nevertheless, Stash appears to be on a strong upward trend and is snagging users quicker than ever.
The real estate sector wasn’t left out of this FinTech revolution. New York based startup Cadre was co-founded by Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of the current president Donald Trump. Kushner, being a real estate mogul himself, has seen the impact technology can have in real estate. Cadre is unique among other real estate technology companies because it doesn’t focus on being a platform for crowdfunding real estate deals. Rather, Cadre has carved out a very lucrative niche in the business by focusing on being a platform for pooling money to fund large commercial deals. Cadre connects its users with real estate investment opportunities that would normally be out of their price range. However, the money users put in are pooled collectively to buy the property in question and users are given a percentage of the property proportional to the amount of money they chipped in.
Metromile is a technology startup that is making waves in the automobile insurance industry. Metromile is specifically targeting those who don’t drive their cars a lot. Their pay-per-mile insurance policy means that you only pay according to the number of miles you drive. The less you drive, the less you pay. The company claims that those who drive less than 10,000 miles are overpaying for their car insurance and are subsidizing high mileage drivers. Changing to their platform would mean the same benefits while paying less. It’s an interesting business model and has caught the eyes of some venture capitalists– Metromile raised $191.5 million in funding. Metromile is currently only available in a select few states but has acquired licenses to operate in all 50.
San Francisco based startup Square is a mobile payment company that has made it extremely easy for merchants to accept payments. Square was founded by Jack Dorsey (Yes the CEO of Twitter) after he had trouble processing a credit card payment for a piece of art he was trying to sell. Square offers a complete register service that allows merchants to accept many types of credit cards using a piece of plastic technology that is connected to a smartphone. For each swipe of a credit card, Square takes 2.75% of the transaction price. Square has started up new avenues of revenue growth in order to remain a viable player in the cutthroat fintech industry. Square Cash allows users to send and receive money for free. And, since everyone loves food, Square Order allows you to order foods and drinks for future pickup. Square went public on November 19, 2015 for $9 a share and has risen over 100% since then.
Stripe has experienced surprising success in spite of competition from both Paypal and Square. Stripe is a hot new payment processor that offers something that Paypal lacks: simplicity. When it comes to fees, Stripe is a whole lot easier to use and saves users money. Stripe’s fee is a 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction, the same as Paypal’s. What differs though is almost everything else. Paypal charges for different kinds of credit cards, refunds, and recurring billing. Stripe doesn’t charge for anything like that. Another factor in Stripe’s stunning success was the rollout of its API. This beautifully done API made it easier for developers to integrate Stripe into other platforms and gave Stripe a significant boost in eating up market share.