May 16, 2020

The top three fastest growing fintech firms in the US

YieldStreet
Lending Point
Nationwide Mortgage Brokers
Startup
Harry Menear
3 min
Meet YieldStreet, Lending Point and Nationwide Mortgage Brokers, the three fastest growing fintech firms in the US
This week, Inc released its annual list of the 5,000 fastest growing companies in the US. Check out the three fastest growing fintech firms in the count...

This week, Inc released its annual list of the 5,000 fastest growing companies in the US. Check out the three fastest growing fintech firms in the country. 

YieldStreet

Founded in 2015, YieldStreet is a New York-based fintech startup aimed at democratising investment opportunities in non-traditional markets like real estate, marine/shipping, legal finance, commercial loans and more. 

Company founder Milind Mehere is a successful tech entrepreneur who was seeking investment opportunities outside of the stock market that had real collateral and attractive yields.

Reportedly, he soon realised that asset-based investments in asset classes like litigation and real estate were nearly impossible for an accredited investor like himself to access. These investments were dominated by institutions with high minimums and long holding periods that shut out everyday investors. 

YieldStreet’s solution to this accessibility problem is its platform that connects accredited investors to asset-based investment opportunities across multiple asset classes, and provides deserving borrowers with affordable capital. 

The startup raised $62mn in a Series B funding round in February 2019, which will reportedly be used to expand the platform and lower the bar even further for investors. According to Inc, YieldStreet grew by 10.562% over the past three years, making it the 14th-fastest growing company in the US. 

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LendingPoint 

The second-fastest growing financial services company on the list is LendingPoint. Based in Kennesaw, Georgia, the fintech startup increased in value by 9,265% over the past three years. 

LendingPoint is a balance sheet lender committed to redefining who is able to access money at fair rates, and empowering consumers to build financial momentum. By focusing less on applicant credit scores and using its own proprietary data analysis solutions, the company works to provide its services to millions of underbanked Americans. 

“Our platform saw more originations in 2018 than in 2015, 2016 and 2017 combined, and at the same time our credit performance improved allowing us to facilitate more financing for consumers online and at the point of sale. We are incredibly grateful to our customers and proud of the LendingPoint team,” said LendingPoint CEO Tom Burnside in response to the recent ranking announcement. 

Nationwide Mortgage Bankers 

Founded in 2011, Nationwide Mortgage Bankers is the oldest of the three fastest growing fintechs. Based in Melville, New York, the company is also the biggest employer, with 400 people working under its roof. In the past three years, Nationwide Mortgage Bankers reported 5,450% growth in revenue. 

The company operates as an independent mortgage lender.  This week, the company introduced its mortgage service that provides information regarding best homebuying practices to persons who speak Spanish.

The platform, Americasa, was created to educate the Latino community on the best mortgage options available to them. According to the press release, “In the US today, there is a lack of information related to mortgage borrowing available to Spanish speakers. NMB saw an opportunity to better serve Spanish-speaking persons by developing a Spanish language resource for potential borrowers to fill this gap and provide educational resources surrounding the mortgage process.”


 

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Jun 10, 2021

FIVE things fintechs must do to keep investors onboard

Fintech
Investment
venturecapital
AI
Brandon Rembe, CPO, Envestnet...
4 min
Fintech innovations drew in first-time investors who reshaped the markets. What new advancements will help them continue their rise?

New investors flocked to the stock market during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirty-eight percent of investors said they had never had a brokerage or similar account before opening one in 2020.

Low or no-fee trading options have helped accelerate the trend – nearly half of new investors said they accessed their account primarily through a mobile app. As FinTechs, how do we create the trust needed to keep new investors in the market and create a fruitful customer experience for them?

The financial industry does a disservice to individual investors if we merely offer tools that focus on making money quickly, an approach that usually backfires. Instead, the surge of interest presents an enormous opportunity for those who want to help more consumers use financial technology to educate them on responsible spending, saving, and investing in order to achieve financial wellness current fintech tools have welcomed individual investors in the door.

Now, it’s time to focus on education and improving their experience going forward. There are several ways those of us in fintech can step up to shape the future of retail investing so that it works better for everyone, starting with the following areas.

Equal access to financial wellness education

Financial health should be available to everyone — but today, not everyone has the educational resources to achieve it. One study shows that only 3.9% of students from low-income schools were required to take a personal finance class. What they aren’t learning in school or from family members, fintech companies can provide on their platforms.

The companies should move from solely offering financial services to a more responsible model of education, advice, and prescriptive choices to help consumers develop better habits and make wiser financial decisions. Not only can they empower consumers and bridge historical wealth divides, but they can also stimulate growth by opening up new consumer segments.

More personalisation

Just as we’ve come to expect that our fitness routines are tailored to our individual bodies, we’re also ready for finance tools that go beyond one-size-fits-all solutions. But only six percent of financial institutions say they’re using the kind of technology that allows them to deliver a deeply personalized experience. Fintech tools need to reflect that financial success looks different for each of us.

For one consumer, it may mean providing guidance on how to pay off student loans early; for another, it may mean prescriptive actions that enable them to stick to a budget for the first time; for a third, it could look like prioritizing environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments, so that her portfolio aligns with her political beliefs.

Now, we are seeing financial technology beginning to meet the demands of personalized finance in a substantial and meaningful way.

The rise of AI-Powered Advice

Big-picture advice and predictive guidance used to be a feature of high-end financial advisory firms — a perk only available to those who could afford it. But thanks to rapid advancements in data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), that kind of holistic advice is now more accessible than ever. AI-driven robo-advisors can parse many different streams of financial information, delivering customized answers to key questions: Is it time to buy a home, or is it smarter to keep renting? Can I afford to take out another student loan?

Intelligent connectivity powered by AI can anticipate consumers’ needs and next steps, making proactive suggestions that guide them along the path to financial wellbeing. Fintech companies can also help consumers identify when their financial picture becomes too complex for a robo-advisor, and help them find a human financial advisor to meet their needs. 

Focus on financial mental health

New investors are quickly finding that the market can be overwhelming. That’s not surprising, financial anxiety is common and studies show that financial stress can have an impact on mental health for some.

It’s not enough for fintech companies to give retail investors access; they also must provide the guidance and support that help consumers manage their financial well-being. Educational tools can ensure that consumers are well informed about their options.

Predictive analytics can anticipate consumers’ questions, serving them key information and insights before they ask. Features that emphasize a comprehensive notion of financial well-being, rather than short-term wins and losses, can also help ensure that consumers are keeping their eyes on the bigger picture.

Gamification for good

The surge of gamification apps has done an impressive job making investing as engaging as playing a video game or joining a social media platform.

Much of the current use of gamification emphasizes short-term thinking, but there’s also an opportunity to help consumers think more broadly about their overall financial picture. One example is peer benchmarking, a feature that enables help consumers to see how their financial habits compare to those of friends and fellow consumers.

Gamification can also be used to incentivize making smaller, smarter choices — for example, rewarding saving over making an impulse buy.

The future of fintech is about more than just broadening access to the markets. It’s about making sure more individuals have access to the tools that can help improve their financial well-being—in the ways that suit their own circumstances and needs. The potential to act within their own set of individual priorities, with their long-term financial wellness in mind is much more empowering to a consumer than simply relying on short-term, high-risk investments.

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