Cooper AlexTo be successful today, banks have to pay attention to up-and-coming FinTech startups that could be either valuable partners or deadly competitors. Assessing the financial technology, or FinTech, innovation landscape can be a daunting task, especially when looking for solutions to your specific financial institutions’ needs. In the San Francisco Bay Area’s Silicon Valley, you don’t need to look far, writes Alex Cooper, Software Developer at GIS Planning.

Although the global finance capitals of the world have traditionally been in places like London, New York, and Hong Kong, core elements of financial services’ future are being disrupted and re-invented in Silicon Valley by large tech companies such as Apple, Google, PayPal, Square, and Intuit, as well as the new generation of FinTech startups that are reimagining what financial services can be in a digital world.

The rise of FinTech is both an opportunity and risk for traditional financial institutions. According to PwC analysis, financial service incumbents believe that by 2020, 23% oftheir business could be at risk due to FinTech innovation by 2020. To counter this,traditional financial institutions can respond to the threat of Fintech startups bypartnering with them.

Whether it’s to keep an eye on the FinTech companies poised to snatch away traditional banks’ customers or to meet with hot startups to partner with, bank executives need to meet with the FinTech companies of Silicon Valley.  As JP Morgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon put it, Silicon Valley is coming.” With Google, Square, Salesforce, and Mint, to name a few companies with roots in the Silicon Valley, it appears that Silicon Valley has already arrived.

Whatever element of financial services matters to your bank, there are brilliant FinTech companies in Silicon Valley innovating in these areas. The following list is a diverse sample of some Silicon Valley’s must-meet FinTech companies. Some are already household names (assuming people in your house talk about financial services technology a lot) while others are exciting, new companies with traction that are getting serious attention from the banking world.

Wherever your bank is headquartered, plan a trip to Silicon Valley for your executives and innovation team to get to know these 15 FinTech companies that every bank should meet.


  1. SizeUp
    San Francisco, CA
  • What it does: SizeUp helps banks empower small business customers to make smarter decisions through big data.
  • Why it’s hot: Banking small businesses is difficult, and providing customized services to the diverse industries that these businesses work in is even more challenging. SizeUp empowers banks to address this problem. The bank becomes a valued partner in their business customers’ success, with data-driven insights to help the companies succeed. The product is designed for bank customer acquisition and retention, introducing bank products at key decision points in the business lifecycle, and increasing customer engagement.
  • Customers: Wells Fargo, Deutsche Bank, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. White House.
  • Bottom line: All banks are trying to better serve/grow their small business market, and SizeUp provides custom service and value to each of a bank’s small business customers, online through automation and algorithms.
  1. Cashflower
    San Francisco, CA
  • What it does: Cashflower is a suite of cash management and credit access tools that help small businesses control their cash flow, simply and intuitively.
  • Why it’s hot:  Approximately 43% of small businesses will run out of cash in their first quarter and half of those will choose a non-bank lender. Cashflower has built a solution to bring SMEs back to banks and introducing SMEs to preferred lines of credit.
  • Customers: The product is currently in beta.
  • Bottom line: Cashflower provides superior cashflow tools to help banks attract and retain SME customers.


  1. Trizic, Inc.
    San Francisco, CA
  • What it does: Trizic Accelerator allows wealth managers to automate the management of their client accounts and investment portfolios leaving more time to focus on building client relationships and growing their business.
  • Why it’s hot: Trizic is re-thinking and re-creating the way wealth managers connect with their clients in a digital world. Clients get an intuitive, tailored, 24/7 access experiences that not only allow them to view accounts, but transfer between accounts seamlessly.
  • Customers: Trizic is currently designed as a tool for wealth management advisors, but will be launching with a large financial institution in the near future.
  • Bottomline: Trizic manages the technology so wealth managers can focus on managing their business.


  1. SnapCard
    San Francisco, CA
  • What it does: SnapCard’s mission is to help consumers and merchants understand the value of accepting digital currencies by rethinking the way that they purchase and accept bitcoin.
  • Why it’s hot: SnapCard was founded in 2013 and is on track to be the largest mover of bitcoin.
  • They are re-inventing the way that merchants accept digital currency as well as the experience of consumer purchasing.
  • Customers: SnapCard is ideal for everyday consumers interested in using digital currencies as well as merchants who want to accept digital currency payments.
  • Bottomline: The quickest and most simple way to purchase and accept digital currency, or bitcoin.


  1. WeFinance
    San Francisco, CA
  • What it does: WeFinance is changing lending by enabling borrowers with safe, simple debts to refinance them at a reduced interest rate by borrowing directly from real people. Borrowers can save through lower interest rates while lenders can get increased returns on their savings. Borrows and lenders win by helping people they know, and by keeping their money in their community instead of giving it to a bank.
  • Why it’s hot: WeFinance is part social and part crowdfunding. What makes WeFinance distinct is that borrowers have more control of the experience. They set the upper and lower limits for their loan requests and the terms they’re willing to pay. Four percent is the most common interest rate on WeFinance’s loans, which is less than many alternatives, and certainly lower than credit cards.
  • Customers: WeFinance targets typical consumers, small businesses and lenders. It is especially popular for student borrowers.
  • Bottomline: WeFinance created an intuitive way for borrowers to rally support from their own network of family and friends rather than go to an anonymous lender.
  1. Upstart
    Palo Alto, CA
  • What it does: Upstart is an online lending platform that goes beyond the FICO score to finance people based on signals of their potential lending credibility including schools attended, area of study, academic performance, and work history. The company offers 3-year fixed interest loans, whose funds can be used for starting a business, paying for a coding bootcamp, eliminating student debt, or paying off credit cards.
  • Why it’s hot: Their proprietary underwriting model identifies high-quality borrowers despite limited credit and employment experience.
  • Customers: Upstart is used by consumers and small businesses.
  • Bottomline: Upstart is an online lending platform that uses data to bring together high potential borrowers and investors.


  1. Plaid
    San Francisco, CA
  • What it does: Plaid has developed a scalable API, designed to make interacting with money intuitive and simple, changing the way that consumers, banks, and developers interact with money.
  • Why it’s hot: For banks, Plaid streamlines the integration of new technologies which have traditionally been a painstaking process full of long IT meetings and associated technological barriers. For developers, you can access clean, user-permissioned data.
  • Customers: Plaid’s products are used by lending and expense management FinTech companies such as Abacus, Acorns, Robinhood, and Digit.
  • Bottom line: Plaid is democratizing financial services through technology by building the technical infrastructure APIs that connect consumers, traditional financial institutions, and developers.
  1. Zuora
    Foster City, CA
  • What it does: Zuora provides subscription billing, recurring revenue, payments, and billing solutions to CEOs as well as marketing, finance, and operations teams that cover commerce, finance, and billing processes.
  • Why it’s hot: Their subscription and recurring revenue business solutions make economic forecasting much more accurate. To investors, the primary appeal of recurring revenue models is the value of predictable recurring revenue, particularly in comparison to one-time transactions. For example, a $20 million dollar company with 80% recurring revenue can count on sixteen million dollars at the beginning of every year. That figure is stable and predictable. Management can plan and invest accordingly.
  • Customers: Workday, Adobe, Box, and Zendesk, to name a few.
  • Bottomline: Relative to other retail models, recurring-revenue models tend to be more profitable and much easier to operate in terms of pricing. Most companies that use subscriptions only need to manage a few pricing tiers, rather than individually pricing an array of products.


  1. Wealthfront
    Palo Alto, CA
  • What it does: Wealthfront provides online money management. It’s an automated investment service that manages a diversified and rebalanced portfolio of index funds at the low cost of only 0.25% per year.
  • Why it’s hot: One of  the more entertaining FinTech battles is between SiliconValley FinTech Wealthfront and NYC FinTech Betterment. Both are disrupting traditional investment companies like Schwab and Vanguard. But Wealthfront’s leadership in the robo-investing segment of financial services shows that Palo Alto can do online personal finance as well as, or better than, Wall Street.
  • Customers: Wealthfront has achieved over $2.6B in managed assets with higher individual account averages than its competitors.
  • Bottom line: Banks should investigate if Wealthfront could be a partner to expand its online customer base and/or a way to compete on cost as investment fees decline.
  1. SigFig
    San Francisco, CA
  • What it does: An intelligent, mobile software that allows anyone to build a sleek, intelligent portfolio for the fraction of the cost of a financial advisor- though they do have a full concierge service available as well.
  • Why it’s hot: If one company is bringing the competition to banks rather than solutions for them, it’s SigFig. SigFig is a new kind of investment company, using science and data to help everyday investors invest better.
  • Customers:  SigFig delivers reports and guidance to more than 750,000 investors.
  • Bottomline:  SigFig is the easiest way to manage your money – simply connect your accounts and they will tailor a portfolio based on your goals.


  1. NerdWallet
    San Francisco, CA
  • What it does: NerdWallet provides financial education and empowerment via online tools, research, and real-life experts to help people take control of their finances.
  • Why it’s hot: When it comes to credit cards, bank accounts, mortgages, insurance, loans, or expenses like hospital costs and medical bills, consumers make almost all their decisions in the dark. NerdWallet gives consumers and small businesses clarity around all of life’s financial decisions with free, accessible tools, research, and expert advice.
  • Customers: NerdWallet is targeted toward consumers and small businesses.
  • Bottomline: No matter what your financial situation, NerdWallet is designed to help the everyday consumer and small business to develop and implement the necessary, financial habits to work toward becoming debt-free.
  1. Dyme
    San Francisco, CA
  • What it does: Dyme helps people keep their hard-earned cash away from being spent in their checking accounts, turning spenders into savers, using text messages and unique tone/voice. Bank accounts are for paying bills and the Dyme account is for paying the saver. Dyme works with a customer’s existing bank, is simple to set up, and it’s free.
  • Why it’s hot: Dyme is engaging smart ways to approach finance by understanding how to motivate the consumer to save using fun and funny ways to get their attention.
  • Customers: Consumers.
  • Bottomline: Dyme makes building savings simple and promotes financially healthy habits.


  1. Ondot
    San Jose, CA
  • What it does: Ondot provides financial institutions with a comprehensive suite to manage operational and customer support aspects of mobile card services. Their products allow people using payments cards to proactively control their cards and finances, ranging from pre-authorization controls to real-time alerting and management.
  • Why it’s hot: Ondot is a remote control for payment cards. If a bank isn’t already working with OnDot, all it would need to do is flip a switch and turn on the technology and customers can use CardControl either as a standalone app, or as an addition to a bank’s existing mobile platform.
  • Customers: OnDot has signed deals with four major credit card processors, who collectively process transactions for 10,000 banks and credit unions across the country.
  • Bottomline: This is a ‘remote control’ app that can help users turn their credit cards on and off with the click of a button, and also control when, where, and how they are used.


  1. Stripe
    San Francisco, CA
  • What it does: Stripe is a set of unified APIs and tools that instantly enable businesses to accept and manage online payments.
  • Why it’s hot:  Stripe is a developer-focused, instant-setup payment platform that can scale to any size.
  • Stripe powers so many new businesses, it’s a snapshot of how the internet is changing; many users are in categories that barely existed five years ago.
  • Customers: Stripe now processes billions of dollars a year for thousands of businesses, from newly-launched start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.
  • Bottomline: Stripe is the best way to accept payments online.
  1. Token
    San Francisco, CA
  • What it does: Token is a new bank-hosted digital payment type. They provide a suite of software products to banks, software developers, businesses, and consumers that enable them to issue a new payment type designed specifically to make instant, secure transactions locally and worldwide without friction.
  • Why it’s hot: This fast, tamper-proof payment type was designed from the ground up with banks in mind, and to be fully compliant. The system processes in milliseconds.
  • Customers: Token does business with one large public utility and is following up on over $50B in sales leads.
  • Bottomline: Token has created a new, state-of-the-art Internet payment system hosted by select banks that is secure, fast, easy to use, and low cost.

Source:  Alex Cooper, Software Developer at GIS Planning