Introducing: The 32 companies joining Applied AI 2.0
10 min read
As we’re currently on the lookout for the most exciting and innovative fintechs on the UK scene to join Fintech 3.0, we thought it would be nice to take a look back at the 2.0 cohort. In the 10 and a bit months since they joined the Tech Nation Fintech 2.0 growth programme, the cohort have achieved some seriously impressive results.
Watching the 2.0 cohort grow and flourish has filled us up with all sorts of joy, and raising a funding round is so often a critical achievement in a scaling company’s story. Several of the cohort have completed funding rounds since they joined Fintech 2.0, including Credit Kudos – which uses open banking to provide more accurate credit scoring – it raised £5 million in Series A funding. Smarterly, which has just rebranded as Cushon, secured $8.7m (£7 million) Series A investment to support its continued growth as it brings innovation to workplace savings.
PrimaryBid, which is working to democratise financial services, closed an $8.5 million (£7m) funding round to attract talent and Manchester fintech-for-good Goodbox raised £1million so it could expand its team. Another company that works to help gig workers top up their salaries, SteadyPay raised $4 million (£2.9m), while automation platform Trade Ledger raised a $1.9million (£1.5million) round led by Hambro Perks.
Tumelo, which is backed by former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel, raised $1.2million (£1million) to develop its ‘disruptive’ app.
Even during the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been companies that have still managed to complete funding rounds, a feat that speaks volumes about the importance of their services. Welsh mobile-first banking, tax accounting and financial service assistant Anna Money closed a $21million (£17.5m) round of investment from a single investor and North East insurtech Honcho raised £1.2m in investment.
Though the cohort learnt a lot throughout the programme, the amount they actually continued to collectively achieve and grow throughout is nothing short of inspiring. Newcastle-headquartered SaaS company Kani Payments is now working across Europe, the US, Middle East and Australia, and Liverpool-based social investment app Tickr hit 30,000 users on its one-year anniversary earlier this year. Cushon (formerly Smarterly) acquired Salvus Master Trust and increased its customer base to 700,000. TradeCore has nearly doubled the number of customers and just launched a completely new offering – the TradeCore Platform, aiming to make Fintech innovation easy, by saving time and reducing complexity.
London-based Nivaura have had an incredible year; they assisted in settling both sides of a $20 million bond trade on ethereum for Spanish banking giant Santander, and introduced their highly anticipated Aurora Solution that aims to address the structural inefficiencies and problems in the new issue process.
The 2.0 cohort have also been making an impact during the Covid-19 pandemic, with Credit Kudos working together with 11:FS and Fronted to support non-salaried workers during the pandemic, and TradeCore organising a virtual job fair in the midst of pandemic.
There have been some seriously exciting partnerships formed in the past 10 months, and these can be key to taking a scaling company to the next level, allowing new consumers to access their products and services or combining expertise to offer something totally new. Welsh fintech Anna Money partnered with TrueLayer so they could let businesses use QR codes to get paid instantly, and Cushon (formerly Smarterly) partnered with the UK’s ‘most valuable fintech’ OakNorth Bank.
Ben Pollard, Cushon’s Founder & CEO said, “By partnering with OakNorth Bank, we’re able to offer our customers a range of options to suit their short- and longer-term savings plans, whilst also providing them with FSCS protection. It also opens the door for further product development and will help support the financial wellbeing of the UK workforce.”
Specialist mid-market Lending-as-a-Service platform Trade Ledger partners with cloud banking specialists Mambu.
Ben Goldin, chief technology and product officer at Mambu, said: “No single vendor can be the best at all components of a banking architecture which is why we partner with the best-of-service providers like Trade Ledger to offer customers simplicity, ease of integration and speed”
Ethical payments platform incuto partnered with ClearBank to make their payments more efficient, allowing credit union members to send and receive payments in real time, HighCastle partnered with Archax to bring liquidity to digital securities, while Apexx Global partnered with eShopWorld, an international cross-border e-commerce firm, to transform the payments process for its clients. This year, Apexx Global also partnered with Volt in order to unlock Open Banking Payments.
In an instance of Tech Nation alumni joining forces, and therefore double reason to celebrate, Future Fifty 7.0 cohort member Starling Bank partnered with buy-to-let digital mortgage lender Molo Finance.
Awards aren’t everything, but they are a great sign that you’re moving in the right direction – especially for scaling companies in a competitive space like fintech. Fortunately, our second cohort has been in no short supply.
Not one, not two, but five of the Fintech 2.0 cohort were listed by Computerworld as Top Fintech Startups in the UK: Paybase, Credit Kudos, PrimaryBid, Tumelo, and Paid were all named. 9fin, which provides AI powered data for fixed income professionals, was shortlisted as ‘Fintech of the year’ by The TRADE; their analytics and insights are frequently featured in reports such as NASDAQ’s, Financial Times and Bloomberg.
Ulyana Shtybel, the Chief Capital Officer of investment platform HighCastle was recognized as ‘Blockchain Leader’ finalist at the Women in Tech Awards in 2019, and founder of Credit Kudos Freddy Kelly was named one of the 100 most influential people in Business Fintech & Banking.
At The Lending Awards 2019, Molo Finance scored three awards: Gamechanger – Creditor, Best Online Mortgage lender and Best Brand – Mortgages. Credit Kudos was awarded the ‘Best Use of Technology’ award at Asset Finance Network Awards 2019 and PrimaryBid was announced as the Crowdfunding platform of the year at the Altfi Awards 2019.
We’re so incredibly proud of the 2.0 cohort and all they have achieved, and we can’t wait to see which exciting UK fintechs are going to join us for 3.0. Apply to be a part of it.