As UK FinTech hits record levels, who are the next wave of scaleups?



Record levels of investment into the UK FinTech scene have seen 40 unicorns crowned in the sector, more than the whole of the rest of Europe combined (37).

VC investment in the sector so far in 2021 ($11.4 billion) is more than double the whole of 2020 ($4.57bn), with Q3 setting an all-time quarter record of $4.9bn.

Around half of the 2021 investment has come from US investors, showing the international appeal of some of the UK’s world leading FinTech firms. 

Combined, UK FinTech companies are valued at $340bn, up 61% from $210bn last year, led by the likes of Revolut and Wise.

Against this backdrop, Tech Nation has revealed the 30 companies accepted into the fourth iteration of its growth programme, Fintech 4.0.

Two-fifths of the new cohort companies are based outside of London, including companies from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Nearly a third have female founders. 

The six-month government-backed programme was created to support FinTech and InsurTech companies in the UK. Companies accepted into the programme have access to networking events with key stakeholders, peer-to-peer meetups, and insights sessions delivered by established fintech entrepreneurs, investors and partners, which give cohort members the tools and knowledge they need to scale.

This year’s successful applicants will gain access to multiple insight sessions over six months (covering core issues, from investment to sales, partnerships and international expansion) delivered by later-stage founders, all focused on key scaling challenges, as well as regular networking opportunities (with investors, VCs, corporates and peers).

Katja Palovaara (pictured), FinTech programme lead at Tech Nation, said: “We are delighted to welcome these 30 inspiring FinTech companies to the Fintech 4.0 cohort. 

“As the UK’s flourishing FinTech sector continues to drive more investment than ever before, our FinTech companies are not just disrupting traditional financial sectors; they are working alongside them to ensure that everyone has the tools and knowledge they need to succeed financially. 

“Many of these FinTechs are not only focussed on helping people earn more and invest better, but on making the world a better and fairer place. We can’t wait to see what they do next.” 

Accelex is the data acquisition, analytics and reporting solution for investors and asset servicers. Powered by cutting-edge data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, Accelex automates the manual and time intensive process of extracting unstructured performance and transaction data from a wide range of private investment documents.

Behaviour Lab’s platform provides an end-to-end solution to improve decision making, enhance performance and drive transparency for all involved. Its vision is to help transform the £120 trillion asset management industry’s decision making by improving processes and workflows through our SaaS platform whilst debiasing fund manager decisions. The proprietary tools tailor to each fund manager, applied ML algorithms identify costly biases, investment thesis templates capture value from ideas and reporting tools help monitor decisions and nudge fund managers to take action.

BondAval gives businesses access to institutional-grade trade finance solutions by utilising big data, machine learning components and deep surety and credit underwriting expertise in a proprietary technology stack. The result is a ground-breaking proposition: MicroBonds. The MicroBonds solution democratises access to the most efficient financial instruments usually reserved for blue chip corporations — in minutes, rather than months. BondAval brings a digital-first proposition to the world of B2B insurance, understanding that just because your company name ends with Ltd or Limited doesn’t mean your user experience should be worse than what’s available for consumers.

Bunk – Bristol

Bunk’s platform transforms the entire rental process with a SaaS tool for leasing, marketing and management. With a fully white-labeled platform, clients can digitise the entire letting process while automating management duties. With a big focus on user experience, Bunk utilises modern technology that drives huge cost savings, efficiency gains and retention.

Cardeo helps credit card holders manage their cards better and save money. The app is free to download and use and automates the management of these accounts. Users stay in control of their repayments and keep their cards – but could typically save up to £390 a year.

DirectID is a global credit risk platform that is redefining the industry for both lenders and their consumers by leveraging customer’s real-time bank data. The platform leverages open finance protocols and bank statement data to help businesses understand their customers throughout the credit risk lifecycle from onboarding through to collections and recoveries. The platform provides businesses with an opportunity to increase conversion by around 45%, make decisions faster from days to seconds, decrease fraud rates by around 7.5%, all while providing the end-user with the convenience they demand.

Ecospend is an FCA-authorised fintech that provides full stack open finance solutions for payments (PISP) and data (AISP). It offers the gold standard in open banking products in the UK market from a core team based in London and an offshore engineering team. In late 2020 Ecospend won the largest open banking tender to date with the UK Government and now provides services to HMRC.

Funderbeam is a global fundraising and trading platform. It connects global investors with vetted private companies across international markets and, through its marketplace exchange, allows private investments to be traded. This reduces the cost of capital for companies and allows investors to re-invest into new opportunities at a time that suits them.

Griffin Financial Technology is creating a bank to be built on: a full-stack banking-as-a-service platform for companies that want to offer their own financial services. It enables customers to focus on building their products and growing their business, rather than managing back-end infrastructure and compliance processes.

Hammock saves landlords time and money by allowing them to manage all their property finances in one place and move away from spreadsheets and paper notes. It provides banking (via open banking, as well as with Hammock’s own personal or business current accounts), automated bookkeeping, tax statements, and business intelligence services for the property sector. It gives professionals in the property sector 24/7 access to their property finances, together with real-time updates, notifications and alerts.

KASKO – London

KASKO enables insurers, brokers and managing general agents to design, build and distribute digital insurance services though any channel; the platform is API-powered and can integrate any third party service. Its platform is modular so that everything comes as a microservice; customers can build as much or as little of a product as they like then scale as necessary and augment on top of any legacy system. The insurance platform includes quote-offer-bind, after-sales and policy management, a white-label front-end and a product engine including payment, policy issuance, mid-term adjustment, claims, and more.

LoyalBe helps brands to attract and retain customers through targeted and personalised offers and loyalty programs. It leverages open banking APIs to enable a completely frictionless reward experience for consumers and a deeper level of customer insights for brands, including share of wallet insights. Offers can be personalised by historical purchase data.

MortgageKart started out as a digital mortgage brokerage and is now aiming to become a mortgage technology provider with an in-house brokerage. Its platform combines eight front-end & back-end digital solutions – offered as an end-to-end white-labelled platform or a series of modular microservices offered as APIs. Front-end solutions cover collecting client information, checking eligibility, product matching, robo-assistance to determine suitability and an intelligent document-upload engine. Back-end solutions handle workflow, CRM, compliance and analytics. The technology is built to successfully scale MortgageKart’s own B2C digital mortgage brokerage and will transform the way lenders and brokers…


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