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December 21, 2015

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Year-Long Analysis Unveils Top US FinTech Startups of 2015

Having extensive experience studying FinTech industry and expertise in various sectors, the LTP team has been actively following some of the top innovators to be up-to-date with the latest solutions and outstanding products existing in the market. New FinTech startups are being discovered every day and competition for the top positions has been tightening up. We have been putting together lists of the most promising and most innovative FinTech startups across sectors, geographical regions, industries. There are always certain companies that we found to be among the hottest ones across both LTP and external rankings.

The LTP9 Leaderboard is a proprietary ranking of the most innovative FinTech companies in various sectors. After carefully studying various reputable rankings and LTP9 Leaderboards, we created a list of the most innovative, forward-thinking FinTech companies that provide an outstanding experience to customers and businesses. The comparison of the wide range of lists led to 25 companies which are defining the true meaning of disruption and innovation in FinTech.


Company FinTech Sector Description
Affirm Lending Affirm, Inc. is a next-generation financial services company that offers consumers loans at POS with smaller monthly payments. Affirm is one of several Web startups experimenting with flexible loans by calculating the risk of borrowers based on a variety of personal data points, including information gleaned from social media profiles as well as the cost being purchased, rather than relying onFICO credit scores. Affirm is one of the FinTech “unicorns” in the lending sector.
Avant Lending Avant is a fast-growing marketplace lending platform that is lowering the costs and barriers of borrowing for consumers. Through the use of big data and machine-learning algorithms, the company offers a unique and highly customized approach to streamlined credit options. Avant has secured more than $1.7 billionin funding and another $1.8 billion through its institutional marketplace. More than 310,000 loans have been issued worldwide through the Avant website. Avant is one of the FinTech “unicorns” in the lending sector.
Betterment Investments Banking Betterment is the smarter automated investing service that provides optimized investment returns for individual, IRA, Roth IRA & rollover 401(k) accounts. The company has raised $45 million from investors like Menlo Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Anthemis Group and Capital Partners. Over 120,000 customers have invested more than $3 billion with Betterment. Betterment was previously recognized by the LTP team as one of the hottest FinTech companies defining the New York FinTech industry.
Braintree Payments/Blockchain Braintree is the easiest way to accept payments online and on a mobile app.Braintree’s global payment platform processes more than $10 billion annually for thousands of online and mobile companies including Airbnb, Uber, Fab and LivingSocial. PayPal acquired Braintree in September 2013.
CardFlight Payments CardFlight provides tools and technology to help merchants accept in-person credit card payments on iOS and Android devices. It enables app developers to easily incorporate card-present payment acceptance into mobile apps. CardFlight’s open platform connects mobile app developers with payment processors. CardFlight was previously recognized by the LTP team as one of the hottest FinTech companies defining the New York FinTech industry.
CircleUp Crowdfunding CircleUp is an online private company investment platform that focuses on innovative consumer products and retail brands. The company provides accredited investors free access to direct investments in high-growth consumer product and retail private companies that were previously difficult to identify and access. CircleUp was previously listed by the LTP team as one of the hottest FinTech startups from Silicon Valley and one of the top online crowdfunding platforms.
Coinbase Bitcoin/Exchange Coinbase is a bitcoin wallet and platform where merchants and consumers can transact with the digital currency bitcoin. Coinbase introduced the first bitcoin debit card in the US.
Credit Karma Data/Research Credit Karma is a credit-monitoring site that provides free credit scores, reports and monitoring as well as insights into the meaning of that. Based on the user’s credit profile, the website shows product recommendations, like credit cards and loans. Credit Karma was listed by the LTP team as one of the hottest FinTech startups from Silicon Valley.
Dwolla Payments Dwolla is an independent payment network that allows companies and individuals to pay each other directly. This avoids the high fees of money transfers, bank payments and credit cards. Dwolla is one of the leading P2P payments companies listed in the LTP9 Leaderboard.
EquityZen Marketplace The company improves the way startup employees are paid by unlocking the value of their equity compensation in a way that benefits all key players: the shareholder, the company and the investor. EquityZen is among the 31 hottest FinTech companies in New York.
LearnVest Funds Management LearnVest empowers everyone to take control of their personal finances. The company provides expert advice, resources and financial plans that fit one’s budget. Northwestern Mutual acquired LearnVest for over $250 million. LearnVest was listed by the LTP team as one of the hottest mPOS-focused FinTech companies and one of the hottest FinTech startups in New York.
Lending Club Lending Being the second-most profitable company in alternative lending, Lending Club takes an honorable place in our list of the hottest startups from Silicon Valley. Lending Club is the world’s largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors. Lending Club was previously listed by the LTP team as one of thehottest FinTech startups from Silicon Valley.
Motif Investing Investment Platform Motif is an online brokerage built on thematic portfolios of up to 30 stocks and ETFs, which can be customized and traded for as low as $9.95. Motif Investing is changing the face of online investing through an innovative, transparent social platform that allows individuals and investment advisors to invest in stock and bond portfolios built around everyday ideas and broad economic trends. Motif Investing was previously listed by the LTP team as one of the hottest FinTech startups from Silicon Valley and one of the top wealth management apps in the US.
OnDeck Lending OnDeck is a lending platform for small businesses. OnDeck has loaned over $2 billion to small businesses across 700 industries in all 50 states and Canada. The company’s proprietary small business credit scoring system, the “OnDeck Score,” evaluates thousands of data points to deliver a fast and accurate credit decision.OnDeck is among the hottest FinTech companies in New York and has also been featured in the list of the hottest FinTech startups from Silicon Valley.
Personal Capital Financial Advising Personal Capital is the smart way for people to understand, manage and grow their net worth. Award-winning online tools provide total transparency into investment accounts. Licensed Personal Capital financial advisors then use this information to provide accurate recommendations to clients, improving efficiency and supporting money management principles that lead to the best outcomes possible.
Plaid Banking Technology Plaid is a banking technology company that creates the infrastructure upon which many of the financial applications are built. Plaid claims to power the next generation of financial innovation; solutions are provided for simple authentication and transactions aggregation. Plaid Connect offers developers access to user-permissioned financial data. Developers can collect consistent, clean transaction data structured in a machine-readable format. Plaid has beenpreviously listed by the LTP team as one of the hottest banking technology companies.
Prosper Lending Prosper is a P2P lending platform with more than 2 million members. The company has surpassed $5 billion in loans funded through its platform since its inception and a record $1.070 billion in loans in a quarter along with a record daily average. Prosper is one of the FinTech “unicorns” and one of the hottest FinTech companies from Silicon Valley.
R3CEV Blockchain R3 is an innovation firm focused on building and empowering the next generation of global financial services technology. Until now, 42 global banking industry giants have joined the consortium to create a protocol that can help some of the existing distributed ledger technologies like bitcoin, Ripple and Ethereum, talk to each other. The company has set up a lab for the members of the consortium to experiment using the technology for specific applications.
Ripple Payments/Bitcoin Ripple is a distributed payments technology that connects the world’s divergent financial networks to securely transfer funds in any currency, that too in real time. Banks, money transmitters and clearinghouses can use Ripple as an alternative to correspondent banking to facilitate straight-through processing with no need for reserve funding.
Robinhood Investment Platform Robinhood allows young investors to try out investing skills with as little as a few dollars. The company charges for the ability to buy stocks on “margin” or credit and also makes money by collecting interest on users’ cash balances. Robinhood was previously listed by the LTP team as one of the hottest FinTech companies empowering financial services industry.
Simple Online Banking Simple combines innovative technology, impeccable user experience, and expertise in behavioral economics to help its customers spend smarter and save more. The company offers a bank account that has all the tools a user needs to manage their money built right in. The funds in a user’s Simple account are held by company’s partner banks. Simple was acquired by BBVA for $117 million.
SoFi Lending SoFi is a market leader in student loan refinancing with over $4 billion in loans issued. The company is focusing on student loans, mortgages and personal loans. SoFi’s proprietary approach takes merit and employment history into account to offer customized credit products. SoFi was previously listed by the LTP team as one of the hottest FinTech companies from Silicon Valley and is a FinTech “unicorn.”
Square Payments Square is a software platform that enables retail stores and restaurants to accept mobile payments via iOS and Android devices. The company’s POS service offers tools for every part of a business, from accepting credit cards and tracking inventory, to real-time analytics and invoicing. Square also offers sellers financial and marketing services, including small-business financing and customer engagement tools. Square was previously listed by the LTP team as one of thehottest FinTech companies from Silicon Valley and is a FinTech “unicorn.”
Stripe Payments Stripe, an online payments company that is focused on providing the technical, fraud prevention and banking infrastructure required to operate online payment systems. Stripe is available for business in about 20 countries with a few countries in private beta phase. The company’s unified set of APIs and tools enables businesses to accept and manage online payments instantly. Stripe was listed by the LTP team as one of the hottest FinTech companies from Silicon Valley and is a FinTech “unicorn.”
Venmo Payments Venmo is a payment platform used for peer-to-peer or person-to-person payments within the Venmo mobile app or within Venmo’s website. One can link their Venmo account to bank accounts, debit cards or credit cards. The money received via Venmo is stored as “Venmo balance” and it can be transferred to the bank account at any moment. Venmo has been listed in the LTP9 Leaderboard among the top P2P payments companies. Venmo was acquired by Braintree in August 2012. PayPal then acquired Braintree in September 2013.
Wealthfront Funds Management Wealthfront is the world’s largest automated investment service with over $2.5billion in client assets. It manages a diversified, continually rebalanced portfolio of index funds on customers’ behalf at a very low cost and in an extremely tax-efficient manner. Wealthfront makes it easy for anyone to get access to world-class, long-term investment management without the high fees or steep account minimums. The platform monitors and reallocates funds 24/7 automatically, rebalancing with tax efficiency in mind. It also invests in ETFs that track indexes across major asset classes. Wealthfront was previously listed by the LTP team as one of the hottest FinTech companies from Silicon Valley and one of the FinTech “unicorns.”
Xoom International Remittance Xoom is an international money transfer service that allows users to securely transfer money online. The company went public in 2013 and has been featured in the LTP9 Leaderboard. Xoom was acquired by PayPal in the beginning of 2015. Xoom transferred more than $7 billion for its 1.3 million customers over the 12 months preceding last April, primarily on mobile devices. Xoom’s service allows users to send money from any device to friends and family in 30 countries. Xoom was previously listed by the LTP team as one of the hottest FinTech companies from Silicon Valley.
Yodlee Data/Research Yodlee, a technology and applications platform that powers digital financial solutions in the cloud, is an aggregator for a variety of financial apps for consumers and small businesses. Yodlee gathers data for a number of consumer-facing programs (like Credit Karma, LearnVest, BillGuard). Yodlee’s “financial cloud” allows banks, Internet service companies and third-party financial app developers to track consumer financial information as well as enables banks to offer consumers a variety of financial services. Yodlee was previously recognized by the LTP team as one of the hottest FinTech companies from Silicon Valley. Yodlee was acquired by Envestnet for $18.88 per share.
Zenefits HR Software/Insurance Zenefits is free online HR Software that gives your team a single place to manage all your human resource needs—payroll, benefits, compliance and more. Zenefits is one of the FinTech “unicorns” in the insurance sector.

This article first appeared on Let’s Talk Payments. Read it here.

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