The Future of Personal Finance: Fintech 50 2021

It’s no secret that Covid-19 has forced many of us to re-evaluate our finances, whether from a comfortable or necessary position. The 11 personal finance startups honored at Forbes’ 2021 Fintech 50 List sailed above the competition as they helped their customers navigate strong countercurrents — nearly one in six Americans faced unemployment in April 2020, while the personal savings rate skyrocketed to 33.7% that same month (a peak of 350% year-on-year) as the first round of federal stimulus started pouring in and those who kept their jobs stopped spending on restaurants, travel and all those other suddenly banned activities.

People had to park their salary – and their incentive money – somewhere. Five digital quasi-banks made our list this year; their total bill counts escalated as consumers became more comfortable with the idea of ​​banking primarily online in a year of boom for e-commerce (and social distancing). Chime, now valued at $14.5 billion, remains the largest in this space. It is joined by Dave, Current and newcomers Varo Bank and MoCaFi (a portmanteau of “Mobility Capital Finance”), which are specifically focused on serving black and Hispanic communities that have less access to traditional brick-and-mortar banks.

In an effort to differentiate themselves, some fintechs are taking a generational approach. With a valuation of $2.3 billion, Greenlight provides educational money management tools — and even the ability to buy fractional shares — to children and teens for a monthly fee paid by their parents. Truebill’s free app helps millennials track their spending and can even automatically cancel underused subscriptions (looking at you, Disney+).

Another cohort hopes to help low-income households typically left behind by the traditional banking industry. In addition to MoCaFi, there is Esusu, a startup that helps people build credit by reporting rent payments to credit bureaus. Propel’s mobile app helps food stamp recipients keep track of their balances, and last year it partnered with a nonprofit to deliver more than $140 million in $1,000 cash payments directly to users hard hit by the pandemic. . Tala, which provides microloans to customers with little or no formal borrowing history in countries such as Mexico and India, is re-lending at pre-pandemic levels after a rocky start to 2020.

Here are the 11 personal finance companies that have made: Forbes’ Fintech 50 list for 2021:


Headquarters: San Francisco

Digital bank with free checking accounts, a debit card and overdraft protection of up to $200. Last year it boosted signups by offering customers early access to their federal incentive checks and by launching a new secured credit card (a starter card where the holder puts money into his or her credit limit).

Funding: $1.5 billion from DST, Crosslink, Coatue and others

Latest Valuation: $14.5 Billion

Bonafides: Most Valuable Digital Bank in the US; over $600 million in annual sales in 2020

Co-Founders: CEO Chris Britt, 48, who previously worked at Green Dot and Visa; CTO Ryan King, 44


Headquarters: New York City

Launched in 2017 as a digital bank for teens, it rolled out adult accounts in 2019. Attracting adults who earn an average of $45,000, many open their first accounts, with features such as early access to direct deposit paychecks, overdraft coverage up to $100, budgeting tools, and a rewards debit card. Most customers pay monthly for a premium account ($36 per year for teens, $4.99 per month for adults).

Funding: $403 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Tiger Global Management, QED and others

Latest Valuation: $2.2 Billion

Bonafides: Nearly three million members today, up from one million a year ago, with growth fueled by early access to incentives and unemployment checks

Founder and CEO: Stuart Sopp, 44, a British veteran of macro trading at Morgan Stanley and other banks


Headquarters: Los Angeles

Aims to make banking approachable with its cartoon bear mascot, low monthly fees starting at $1, and services such as checking accounts with no minimums or overdraft fees, automated budgeting, cash advances up to $200, and credit score building through rental reporting and utility payments to credit bureaus.

Funding: $176 million from Norwest Venture Partners, Capital One, Mark Cuban and others

Latest Valuation: $1 Billion

Bonafides: has more than nine million customers, with four million in 2020

Co-Founders: CEO Jason Wilk, 35; CTO Paras Chitrakar, 42; John Wolanin, age 38


Headquarters: New York City

Let low-income consumers report free rent payments to credit bureaus as a way to improve their credit scores. Major property managers pay for the service because tenants are more likely to pay on time when payments are reported to agencies.

Funding: $4 million from Acumen Fund, Concrete Rose Capital, Kleiner Perkins and others

Bonafides: 250,000 registered users and more than 50 clients of real estate managers, including affordable housing provider Mercy Housing

Co-Founders & Co-CEOs: Abbey Wemimo, 29, a Nigerian immigrant; Samir Goel, 27; any co-founder of non-profit organizations before Esusu. began

Green light

Headquarters: Atlanta

Subscription-based app starting at $4.99 per month per family, offers automatic benefits, task tracking, budgeting, charitable giving and debit cards for kids – all under parental supervision. In October, he partnered with JPMorgan to offer a checking account for kids, and in January launched his own investment platform that allows young users to buy fractional shares – 50,000 investments have been made so far, averaging $20 per trade. .

Funding: $557 million from Andreessen Horowitz, TTV Capital, Canapi Ventures and others

Latest Valuation: $2.3 Billion

Bonafides: Saw 300% growth in revenue and customers in 2020, to about 3 million paying households

Co-Founders: CEO Tim Sheehan, 51; chairman Johnson Cook, age 41


Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden

Pioneer of the buy now, pay later model in fintech. It allows people to pay in installments for everything from Macy’s suits to Etsy trinkets. It has 17 million US users and another 90 million customers spread across 16 other countries.

Financing: $2.2 billion from Sequoia Capital, Bestseller Group, Permira and others

Latest Valuation: $31 billion as of March 2021, up from $11 billion just six months earlier

Bonafides: Processed $53 billion in global transactions in 2020 as revenue grew 40% to $1.1 billion; works with 24 of the top 100 US retailers

Co-founder and CEO: Sebastian Siemiatkowski, 39, a Swedish entrepreneur who worked at an accounting firm before starting Klarna


Headquarters: New York City

The mobile-first banking platform aims to tackle financial inequality by serving black and Hispanic communities with less access to banks, helping them build credit and personal finance tools. Uses a unique, though slow, approach to working with local authorities so that the debit cards can be loaded with benefits such as reduced transit fees.

Funding: $19 million from Mastercard, Citi Impact Fund, Tom & Wende Hutton, Radicle Impact and others

Latest valuation: $37 million

Bonafides: While it still only has 30,000 users, it now has deals with 10 community organizations and cities, including Los Angeles and Honolulu

Founder and CEO: Wole C. Coaxum, 51, former senior vice president at JPMorgan Chase


Headquarters: New York City

The Fresh EBT mobile app allows food stamp recipients to check their balance without calling an 800 number, as well as store electronic coupons, search for job openings and connect to social services. In 2020, Propel partnered with the nonprofit GiveDirectly to raise money and send more than $140 million in $1,000 cash payments directly to users hard hit by the pandemic.

Funding: $34 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Nyca Partners, Kleiner Perkins, Serena Williams, Kevin Durant and others

Latest Valuation: $100 Million

Bonafides: Users Doubled to Four Million by 2020

Founder & CEO: Jimmy Chen, 33, who quit an easy job as a product manager at Facebook to start Propel


Headquarters: Santa Monica, California.

Provides loans from $10 to $500 to customers with little or no formal borrowing history in Mexico, the Philippines, Kenya and India, using their smartphone data to assess risk. When Covid hit, Tala pulled sharply into lending to mitigate risk. After cost cuts and layoffs, it is now extending credit at pre-pandemic levels, or about $60 million a month. In mid-2020, it launched its first debit card for customers in Mexico. In May 2021, it partnered with Visa and crypto firm Circle to let Tala customers send, receive, and hold “stablecoin” cryptocurrency (it’s pegged to the value of a dollar). The target? To help users transfer money more cheaply than through traditional money transfer providers such as Western Union.

Funding: Over $200 Million from GGV, IVP, Revolution Growth and Others

Latest Valuation: $800 Million

Bonafides: Extending more than $2 billion in microloans to six million customers since launch in 2014

Founder and CEO: Shivani Siroya, 39, who founded Tala after studying the impact of microcredit in Sub-Saharan and West Africa for the UN


Headquarters: Silver Spring, Md.

The free app helps millennials better manage their money by creating budgets, monitoring credit, canceling subscriptions, and negotiating bills (for a fee of 30% to 60% of users’ savings). It also helps users avoid overdrafts with free advances. Users can choose their own monthly fee (usually between $3 and $12) for premium features, such as a cancellation concierge. Funding: $85 million from Accel, Bessemer Venture Partners, Eldridge Industries and others

Latest Valuation: $500 Million – $600 Million

Bonafides: Canceled more than a million subscriptions, saving its two million members more than $100 million

Co-Founders: Brothers CEO Haroon Mokhtarzada, 41, CRO Yahya Mokhtarzada, 37, CTO Idris Mokhtarzada, 34, and Advisor Zeki Mokhtarzada, 42. The four founded website builder before selling it to Vistaprint in 2011 for $118 million.


Headquarters: San Francisco

Launched in 2015, Varo is a digital bank that offers checking accounts, access to ATMs, cash advances up to $100 and automatic savings accounts with up to 3% APY. It will soon be rolling out Varo Believe, a secured credit card that must be paid in full every month. The average customer earns between $40,000 and $60,000 per year. In August, Varo became the first fintech to secure a national banking charter, eventually allowing it to offer more products, including loans.

Financing: $482 million

Latest Valuation: $1 Billion

Bonafides: Has Over 3 Million Accounts After 100% Account Growth in 2020

Co-founder and CEO: Colin Walsh, 52, former president of Wells Fargo and American Express


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