Venture capitalists have splashed out on fintech lately – $91.5 billion to be precise.
US fintech companies brought in almost $7.5 billion in the second quarter of 2021 from VC funding, an increase of 70 percent. The number of fintech companies across Europe, the Middle East and Africa has tripled in the last three years.
So where can we start seeing these investments making an impact? Fintech isn’t just digital banks and apps. From cryptocurrencies to business payments, the Mind Meld team is keeping an eye on how these billions of dollars are changing the industry.
With that in mind, it’s important to keep at the forefront of fintech trends if you’re hoping to make the headlines. Read on for the fintech trends of 2022 (and think of how you can newsjack them to get reporters to tell your story).
Payments startups are getting paid, helping companies scale globally
In a global (and now often remote) economy, cheques and paper invoices don’t cut it anymore. While plenty of payment platforms are built with consumers in mind, B2B ecommerce spends 5 times the amount than B2C does each year – a staggering $10.6 trillion.
One of the biggest players in this space is undoubtedly Square, the payments system developed by Block. Square led the charge for small and medium businesses to receive payments cheaper and easier, from QR codes to ‘Buy’ buttons.
Square later evolved to address new business challenges, from capturing quality product photos to managing scheduling and inventory. Their latest acquisition of AfterPay will allow Square customers to enjoy the Buy Now, Pay Later trend (more on that below).
And it’s not just Square that’s enabling SMEs to go global.
Local innovators in all regions of the world are tackling their own financial challenges through tailored solutions. Duplo, a Nigerian fintech startup backed by YC, raised $1.3 million to help digitize payments and avoid over dependence on cash. India-based fintech firm Clear became the second company in India that fintech giant Stripe invested money into.
While Duplo and Clear are focusing on local finance, other fintechs are looking at the bigger picture - literally. Fintech startup Melio introduced a new international payment feature for businesses paying contractors and vendors, cutting the cost of sending money abroad by 60%.
Surprise surprise, the new feature came six months after hiring Prashant Gandhi, a managing director at JPMorgan Chase, previous head of digital payments at Chase, Global COO at McKinsey and…the list goes on. Melio enables businesses to easily pay vendors and contractors at home and now across Europe and North America, saving users the hassle (and cost) of using multiple payment platforms.
Aside from cost, time-savings is a big challenge in the world of international B2B payments. Thankfully, startup Paysail is making B2B payments faster and cheaper by relying on asset-based ‘stablecoins’, a cryptocurrency backed by commodities or currencies.
Many payment solutions have a waiting time for international payments of 2 to 5 days. Paysail knocks this out the park, with the promise that payments can be made in just five seconds.
A recent round of $4 million in seed funding will allow Paysail to enable businesses to enjoy the benefits of stablecoin, regardless of if they use crypto or not. And speaking of crypto…
Fintech is in the middle of a blockchain reaction
The Mayor of New York is now getting paid in Bitcoin and Ether. While we’re slightly less ready to take the plunge, it’s no surprise the Mayor has, considering the city is home to some of the biggest crypto startups in the US.
New York based Blockdaemon, the leading independent blockchain infrastructure platform, recently raised $207 million putting them at a $3.25 billion valuation. “Everything that’s happening at the cross-section of DeFi, NFTs, gaming, streaming, and entertainment will be the biggest emerging use cases in the next year and a half,” said Michael Shaulov, CEO and Co-Founder at Blockdeamon. “People need to think about infrastructure that’s future-proof to layer more providers into the stack.”
Topping that, their neighbour Fireblocks raised a Series E funding round of $550 million, making them “the highest-valued digital asset infrastructure provider in the world.” Both companies are focused on helping crypto users build and protect their assets, a pressing need as we’ve now seen the potential risks in crypto.
Beyond building and protecting cryptocurrencies and the blockchain, many companies are looking at how to make managing this relatively new currency easier. A recent instance of this is TurboTax and Coinbase teaming up to give users the option of receiving their tax refunds in cryptocurrency. But what about taxing cryptocurrencies themselves?
Enter, CoinTracker. The crypto startup is helping individuals track their investments and taxes to make life easier, and cheaper. A Series A of $100 million (including investment from the previous COO at Stripe) marks a new phase for crypto: normalcy.
What does normalcy mean? Traditional fiat currency is made by generally working, a concept we’re all familiar with. Bitcoin mining doesn’t have that same ‘normalcy’ yet. But what about combining crypto with a familiar concept to bridge this gap?
One cryptocurrency growing in popularity (and usefulness) is HNT, owned by Helium. Oversimplified, Helium’s distributed network of hotspots allow the owners to mine HNT in return for supporting this network. The more data transferred, the bigger the reward. And unlike crypto currencies that involves mining or other unfamiliar methods, the use of a hotspot is an easy barrier to entry.
There are two key differences here between HNT and other cryptocurrencies that make it worth paying special attention to.
First, mining a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin takes a lot of energy. Harvesting HNT is done by setting up your hotspot and having people use the long-range internet you’re sharing. So for those looking to keep their carbon footprint low, HNT is a viable option that supports your local community too.
The people behind HNT will only boost that warm fuzzy feeling. The global not-for-profit DeWi are the geniuses behind Helium, their ultimate mission being to grow a secure and cost-effective IoT for all.
There are now over 12,000 cryptocurrencies in circulation. But we’ve got more to talk about so we’ll have to leave the other 11,999 to another day.
Buy Now, Pay Later services are booming right now (and presumably, later)
Who wouldn’t love an interest-free loan? The ‘buy now, pay later’ (BNPL) trend is one of the most explosive areas in fintech. 44% of Americans used a BNPL service in 2021, up by 42%, and the concept was even covered as one of LinkedIn’s trends to watch in 2022.
BNPL allows all customers to enjoy spread out, interest free payments, a huge selling point for those who aren’t able to get a credit card.
Arguably the biggest player at the moment is Klarna, with over 100 million customers worldwide (soon to be even more as they recently launched in Canada). And they’re not the only giants tackling this trend.
Fintech giant Square acquired BNPL company Afterpay to support their Cash App and Seller ecosystems. PayPal bought Japanese BNPL company Paidy. And most recently, Australian fintech Zip just splashed out on BNPL Sezzle. (I wonder if they’re going to spread out the millions over four interest free payments?)
BNPL goes beyond regular purchases like gadgets and cosmetics though. UK-based startup Fly Now Pay Later is said to be “the only app to spread the cost of your vacation” (more on that below), trusted by travel brands from AirBnB to Expedia. Fly Now Pay Later has been rapidly building their list of partners (and funding rounds) to support global expansion, potentially changing the future of travel costs. As travelers flock to the airport post-COVID to make up for lost time, a service that can spread out the costs is a game-changer.
Meanwhile, Uplift’s list of partners makes them a worthy competitor, especially considering they charge zero fees. Another travel-focused BNPL service, Uplift recently launched their ‘Give the Gift of UpLift’ campaign, allowing gift givers to pay for a travel gift over several months.
The investing platforms you might want to invest some time in
He once took money from the rich to give to the poor, but now he’s all about helping that money grow – it’s everyone’s favourite hero, Robinhood.
Their commission-free business model is just one way the app reflects the tale, and the fintech company is still looking to improve their offerings. Their newest feature allows customers, employees and other stakeholders with connections to the company to exclusively invest in IPOs.
One fintech giant that’s being watched for a potential IPO? Betterment. The robo-advisor giant recently acquired Seattle based Makara to help their expansion into the crypto space. In addition, the President of Betterment promised customers that their support will go beyond just crypto investments – "When tax laws [for crypto] change, we will take on that burden and do it for you".
The giants have helped drop the barrier to investing with new technologies – and thanks to new platforms and apps constantly being developed, retail investors are leveling the playing field between Main Street and Wall Street – a direct claim from Fintech app Tickar.
The recent launch of the app showed promising interest with almost 25,000 sign ups in the first week. The edge Tickar has over your traditional hedge fund? Tickar’s augmented reality function allows users to identify millions of brands and products using a phone camera, and discover firsthand what they’re investing in.
But for those that have been in the investing game for years? Made for active, seasoned day traders, TradeStation has more than 30 years of experience and comes with a full suite of trading technology, online brokerage services, and education. The fintech veterans recently won “Broker of the Year" and "Best Multi-Asset Broker” for the second time in a row, on which the CEO credited to “our superior technology and integration capabilities...We see the value in offering multi-assets to our customers from stocks to crypto, providing investors access to diverse markets."
While TradeStation is targeting more experienced investors, Bumper is taking the exact opposite approach. Marketed as “first investing app built only for teens”, Bumper helps teenagers learn about investing sooner rather than later to avoid making costly mistakes.
And if their investors comments are anything to go by, it’s a company to watch: “Bumper is a unique combination of an exceptional founder paired with an audacious goal to solve a problem no one has been able to solve and doing it in a smart and differentiated way.”
The future of fintech? You
Helping younger generations learn about finance ties in nicely with what the future of fintech is all about: making finance easier and cheaper. From international payments to taxing crypto, fintech startups are focusing on addressing everyday problems with innovative solutions.
If you’re a fintech startup with some big news to share, a product to launch or just some great ideas the world needs to hear, we’d love to work with you.
Contact our tech PR agency to get your fintech company in the news today.