We haven’t written a listicle for a while (yes, that’s a word! ‘List + Article = Listicle’), so we thought we would get Lee in our team to share a list of his favourite London Fintechs.
The brief was… tell us who to watch out for based on the following criteria:
- Are not Monzo, Starling or Revolut!
- Are using technology to tackle real world issues
- Are utilising digital to transform legacy industries
- Should be democratising access to services that were previously costly or punitive
- Should be close by our London HQ
Being someone that keeps an eye on the market and relishes a short bullet point brief, a day later Lee delivered his top 5 below! Enjoy.
‘We didn’t create Marshmallow because we liked insurance. Quite the opposite, in fact.’
Just like Christmas, car insurance renewal day creeps up on you. Thrusting you into a frantic online search where many valuable hours are lost to scrolling through price comparison websites.
It’s a task no-one relishes.
But what if you could alleviate this yearly panic and entrust your renewal to a brand you trust? Well, Marshmallow, a London based insurance disruptor, hopes you do just that. Unhappy with the status quo in insurance, twin CEOs/founders/brothers Alexander and Oliver Kent-Braham, birthed the business.
The tech-first insurer leverages industry price data and algorithms to drive cost-efficient value for customers, brought together in one seamless web app experience. Marshmallow lets you add drivers, access support, verify claims, all with no admin fees, all from inside the box.
Marshmallow’s USP is that it takes into account your entire driving history. From rainy congested British roads to rumbling through the Australian outback. Marshmallow values cumulative driving experience. This proprietary approach means drivers who face refusal or considerable premiums elsewhere, can gain access to democratised insurance prices.
A recent valuation of the company put it at $310 million, attracting support from investors who spotted Monzo, Spotify and Snapchat.
‘We use technology to motivate and inspire people to live healthier lives.’
Very few of us can claim to have a thorough understanding of our employee insurance benefits. After induction, they tend to get filed away in an ‘HR’ email folder. Then we silently hope we won’t have to look at them again.
What if this was different? Well, Sammy Rubin, founder of YuLife pondered this question.
He set his team the challenge of designing an employee insurance app that would have users checking in daily. Using gamification techniques, YuLife rewards those who engage and complete challenges. Activities range from brisk walks to meditation. Once completed, the employee is rewarded with incentives, like discount codes for ASOS.
The benefits are twofold. Firstly, it focuses on risk prevention rather than claims compensation, which makes for cheaper policies due to lower insurer risk. Secondly, it results in better individual and collective performance at work through improved employee wellbeing.
So far, the data supports this bold approach. YuLife reports 60% of employees use the app, whilst 36% check in daily. It recently gained a further £10 million in funding in 2019, taking its total to £13 million.
‘Owning a home should be a high point in our lives. But for far too many of us, buying a home is disempowering and confusing.’
Whether a seasoned property tycoon or taking your first step on the ladder, securing the best mortgage for a property comes with a whole host of questions: How much can I borrow? How big is my deposit? Repayment or interest-only? Fixed or variable rate? Mortgage penalties?
It’s a dizzying experience for even the savviest house buyer.
Enter Habito. The startup is another London based disruptor, looking to turn traditional mortgage models on their head. Since 2016, Habito has helped over 330,000 house buyers find a mortgage, amounting to €4.9bn in loans. Further, they boast a 4.8/5 on TrustPilot from almost 5,000 reviews.
Initially, just a mortgage broker, Habito has expanded its services to include direct lending.
We like Habito, as they are a prime example of a Fintech tackling a complex and often disjointed offline customer experience by building a seamless and transparent digital end-to-end process, fit for the changing consumer needs.
Habito’s future looks bright as they picked up Best Mortgage Broker 2020 in May of this year. Further, their valuation grew to $82.2m in August.
‘The simpler way to deal with death.’
“Don’t take life too seriously, as no one gets out alive,” to paraphrase Charles Franklin. Even in the information age, death remains a sticky subject. Whilst we are acutely aware of it, an air of taboo is still attached.
This thinking has jaded the way most think about estate planning, wealth transfers and wills, especially in the mass market. UnBiased found in 2017 that 1 in 2 adults in the UK still did not have a will.
Thus, aptly named, FareWill is looking to challenge antiquated perceptions around death, by leveraging digital. They’ve designed a will service which is cheaper and faster, making the process a (15 minute) breeze. Additionally, customers can apply for probate or arrange cremation via the website.
FareWill is another business driving traditional industry disruption and opening up access that was previously closed off due to hefty lawyer fees. We really like the way the founders also spotted an opportunity for good social outcomes, they have raised over £250 million for charities, courtesy of the generosity of client wills.
FareWill has picked up the prize at the British Wills & Probate Awards two years running. Additionally, securing a 4.9/5 TrustPilot rating, showing British consumers have an appetite for digital solutions to financial and life planning.
‘Because budgeting doesn’t have to be boring.’
Finder.com suggests one-third of British people have less than £600 in savings.
When looking at saving generationally, you can see that younger people, who are just starting out in their careers, save less. For example, Millennials, when questioned, were seen to save around 20% less than the UK average.
Perhaps, growing up in the experience economy could be the reason many prioritise the present moment, at the expense of the future.
“Money management, but made sexy,” says Cleo, a London based tech start-up, looking to revolutionise saving habits. It’s clear from the straplines, Cleo aims to get the younger target audience more acquainted with saving.
Cleo AI is a free app, which introduces a conversational AI chatbot named Cleo to aid users with money health. The chatbot has different personality modes, and even memes capabilities, if you are so inclined.
Users can ask whether they can afford a new purchase and Cleo will provide personalised financial insights to help with decisions. Further, you can design saving pots for kicking credit card debts or access part of your salary early, avoiding costly overdraft charges.
We think Cleo, in theory, is a great example of how AI can be blended with human decision-making processes in a fun way. Further, it’s a company leveraging technology to promote healthier habits in a relevant way to its target audience. With 3 million users and counting, Cleo looks safe for a rainy day.
At Waracle, we build financial services applications and digital solutions for our visionary enterprise clients. We pride ourselves on leveraging design thinking and agile practices to create unique customer experiences. If you need a design and development agency to realise your innovative vision, get in touch with our team today.