20 Trending Personal Finance Startups

by Josh Howarth - September 30, 2021

COVID-19 hasn’t exactly helped the state of personal finance in the U.S.

About 50% of U.S. adults are projecting long-term financial effects from the pandemic.

However, there are hints in other areas that at least some people are now going through a sea change regarding how they think about money.

More people are budgeting, retirement savings are growing, and Americans have hope for their financial future, despite whatever setbacks they’ve experienced.

It’s fitting then that so many startups focused on banking, investing, financial planning, and budgeting are ponying up to take a bite of the global financial tech market, which is slated to hit over $300B in 2022.

We’ve rounded up 20 of the most intriguing companies in this space below.

1. Beforepay

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5-year search growth: 277%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2019

Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Funding: A$17M (Pre-IPO)

What they do:

Beforepay allows people to borrow and use up to $1,000 of their paychecks before officially being paid. The startup, which has plans to pursue an IPO in 2021, brought in $9M in an oversubscribed pre-IPO round early in the same year.

2. Keeper Tax

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5-year search growth: 3300%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2019

Location: San Francisco, California

Funding: $15.8M (Series A)

What they do:

Keeper Tax is a service that can help identify available tax deductions for people who work on a contract or freelance basis. The startup allows professionals to keep track of potential write-offs throughout the year and also offers tax filing if desired. In April 2021, the company publicized their $13M Series A funding round, which they planned to use to advance hiring and their business as a whole.

3. Savology

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5-year search growth: 0%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2019

Location: Lehi, Utah

Funding: $1.7M (Seed)

What they do:

Savology strives to bring the benefits of financial planning to a wider audience through free and reasonably priced plans. In April 2020, the company announced $750K of incoming funds in a seed round that attracted investors from Ascend Finance, RevRoad, and other companies. Their goal at that time was to 10X their financial planning userbase.

4. Stirlingshire

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5-year search growth: -44%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2020

Location: New York City, New York

Funding: $600K (Seed)

What they do:

Stirlingshire is a new personal finance company seeking to upend the traditional broker-dealer model exemplified by companies such as Goldman Sachs, Charles Schwab, and Fidelity Investments. The company, which is still in its early stages and not currently accepting clients, was founded by high-school-dropout-turned-Wall-Street-broker Steven Woods.

5. AAX

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5-year search growth: 512%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2018

Location: The Republic of Seychelles

Funding: Unknown

What they do:

AAX (ATOM Asset Exchange) is a crypto-trading platform that advertises zero fees, low latency trading, high liquidity, reliable uptime, and more. Founded in 2018 and brought to the public in 2019, the digital asset exchange is headed up by CEO Thor Chan, a co-founder and crypto enthusiast formerly employed at FDT (a startup accelerator), App Annie, and others.

6. Zoro Card

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5-year search growth: 112%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2017

Location: Bloomington, Indiana

Funding: Unknown (Pre-seed)

What they do:

Zoro Card was created to help people improve their credit with a card that functions like a debit card. The company offers users a low monthly fee and a quick approval process. The Indiana-headquartered startup, founded by former Indiana University Kelley School of Business students Roger Morris and Zak Grove, has yet to be fully launched and is still only available through early access.

7. Copper Banking

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5-year search growth: 135%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2019

Location: Seattle, Washington

Funding: $4.3M (Seed)

What they do:

Copper Banking is focused on helping teenagers manage money and grow their financial literacy. Customers can access mobile banking and use a debit card to make purchases and withdraw cash from ATMs. The company, founded by professionals with experience at PayPal, Stripe, Intuit, and other companies, raised $4.3M in a 2020 seed round.

8. Credello

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5-year search growth: 0%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2020

Location: Jersey City, New Jersey

Funding: Unknown

What they do:

Credello, owned by iQuanti Inc., is a personal finance website designed to deliver people financial product suggestions that fit their situations and needs. Examples include debt consolidation and payoff, personal and home equity loans, refinancing options, and more. Founder Vish Sastry Rachakonda previously headed up the small business arm of Discover Financial Services and served as VP for American Express.

9. Nubank

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5-year search growth: 478%

Search growth status: Exploding

Year founded: 2013

Location: São Paulo, Brazil

Funding: $2.3B (Series G)

What they do:

Nubank is a Brazilian digital bank with a $30B valuation and the world’s largest bank customer base of 40M. Nubank was founded in 2013 by David Vélez, Edward Wible, and Cristina Junqueira with $2M of investment funds from Kaszek Ventures and Sequoia Capital. In June 2021, Nubank closed a $750M Series G extension with $500M of the funds coming from Berkshire Hathaway.

10. Chime

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5-year search growth: 2500%

Search growth status: Exploding

Year founded: 2013

Location: San Francisco, California

Funding: $2.6B (Series G)

What they do:

Chime is a fintech startup that offers banking from Stride Bank and The Bancorp Bank and advertises no fees (even for overdrafts to a certain amount), credit building options, and early access to paychecks. The company raised $750M in a summer 2021 Series G and is eyeing an IPO in H1 2022.

11. Lunar

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5-year search growth: 366%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: Aarhus, Midtjylland, Denmark

Funding: $371.3M (Series D)

What they do:

Lunar is a Danish financial services startup marketed as “your other bank.” The free service provides digital banking and debit cards and touts low-interest rates, no unnecessary fees, and better visibility into transactions. Lunar boasts 325K+ Nordic users and announced a €210M (about $247M) Series D funding round in July 2021.

12. Selma Finance

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5-year search growth: 172%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2016

Location: Helsinki, Southern Finland

Funding: $3.9M (Series unknown)

What they do:

Selma Finance is an automated investment advisor that helps users allocate their investments. Founded in Finland, the Swiss-regulated company allows people to start with a relatively low minimum investment (2,000 Swiss francs). In early 2021, the company received an investment of 3.5M SFr (about $3.8M) with plans to expand its product offerings to its current geographical audience.

13. Truebill

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5-year search growth: 1425%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: Silver Spring, Maryland

Funding: $83.9M (Series D)

What they do:

Truebill is a financial wellness app that offers a range of services to help their clients monitor spending and accounts, get rid of unneeded subscriptions, automate savings, access cash in a crisis, and more. The company (which boasts milestones such as 2M members and that they’ve $100M saved on behalf of its users) closed a $45M Series D investment round in 2021, bringing its valuation to $500M.

14. Revolut

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5-year search growth: 1216%

Search growth status: Exploding

Year founded: 2015

Location: London, England, United Kingdom

Funding: $1.7B (Series E)

What they do:

Revolut is a money management app with tools ranging from transfer and payment services to budgeting to global spending in over 30 currencies. Founded in the U.K. and now used globally, Revolut has raised an estimated $1.7B, with the most recent 2021 Series E round bringing in $800M.

15. Creditas

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5-year search growth: 1450%

Search growth status: Exploding

Year founded: 2012

Location: São Paulo, Brazil

Funding: $594M (Debt financing)

What they do:

Creditas is a Brazilian fintech startup that offers low-interest loans to its users. Valued at $1.75B as of December 2020, Creditas is one in a wave of Latin American finserve companies that have garnered investor interest in recent years, with money injected into this industry hitting $2.1B in 2020.

16. Cowrywise

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5-year search growth: 8400%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2017

Location: Lagos, Nigeria

Funding: $3.3M (Seed)

What they do:

Cowrywise is a Nigeria-based personal finance startup that helps users make the most of their money, whether by better financial planning, smarter saving, or targetted investing. The startup also offers easy money-sending capabilities and has a social component. Founder Razaq Ahmed started Cowrywise, which announced a $3M investment round in early 2021, to provide better savings and investment options to more people.

17. Varo Bank

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5-year search growth: 4700%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: San Francisco, California

Funding: $992.4M (Series E)

What they do:

Varo Bank is a neobank focused on democratizing finance with affordable banking solutions. Customers can join Varo Bank without a credit check and use the bank’s services without fees or a minimum balance. In 2020, the startup officially received the green light from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to grow into a national bank, a milestone for fintech startups.

18. M1 Finance

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5-year search growth: 3900%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Funding: $323.2M (Series E)

What they do:

M1 Finance is a multi-functional finance platform designed to help individuals manage their money better. The company—which enables investment, lets users borrow money, offers banking, and more—advertises low fees and strategies designed to help customers grow long-term wealth. With a $150M Series E in mid-2021, the company’s valuation hit $1.45B, giving it a unicorn status.

19. Nash

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5-year search growth: 2400%

Search growth status: Exploding

Year founded: 2017

Location: Vaduz, Liechtenstein

Funding: Unknown (Seed)

What they do:

Nash is a digital financial services startup built on blockchain. The company gives users self-custody of their assets and offers services such as banking with 3.92% APY and the ability to trade cryptocurrency. Nash was started by Ethan Fast, a serial founder with a computer science Ph.D. from Stanford.

20. Vivid Money

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5-year search growth: 400%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2019

Location: Berlin, Germany

Funding: €75M (Series B)

What they do:

Vivid Money is a German fintech startup that helps customers manage their money in several ways, including fractional investments, savings, payments with multiple currencies, and more. They provide users with a card that doesn’t have usual payment details on it. This card can be managed by the user and connected with several different payment apps. The startup raised $73M in mid-2021, reaching a valuation of nearly half a million dollars.

Conclusion

That wraps up this list of fast-growing companies in the personal finance space.

A significant theme that ties many of these startups together is the trend toward digital banking.

Whether a startup like Chime that partners with a traditional bank or a truly 21st-century institution like Varo that has achieved official bank status, it’s clear that the finance world is increasingly moving online.

Written By
Josh Howarth
Co-founder of Exploding Topics.
548 Market St. Suite 95149
San Francisco, California
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