Financial Technology

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Month: June 2017

5 Top Fintech Companies Jacob Parker Bowles

5 Top FinTech Companies

Fintech is, as its name alludes, a field that combines both finance and technology. The companies that fall under the fintech category often specialize in account management, lending, financing, financial assets and capital markets. However, fintech’s main point of attraction for businesses large and small is its dedication to meeting customers’ needs.

Unsurprisingly, the fintech industry is booming, with at least a dozen new companies reaching unprecedented success shortly after their inception.

With that in mind, let us take a closer look at the top fintech companies around the globe:


Founded in 2006, this Netherlands-based company provides its clients with the ability to accept payments from around the globe with a single platform. Since it expanded its software to accept payments from online and mobile orders, Adyen has seen an influx of high-profile clients — namely, Facebook, Netflix, Uber, L’Oreal, Burberry, and Microsoft. Because of this spike in popularity, the company nearly doubled its revenue to $700 million in 2016.


Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Klarna is focused on improving the online shopping experience via an optimized checkout system. Since the company got its beginning in 2005, it has served over 45 million end customers and added big names such as Disney, Spotify, and Samsung to its list of clients. At the end of 2016, Klarna was valued at over $42 billion.


Founded in 2012, Avant is an online lending platform that is dedicated to lowering the barriers consumers face in borrowing money. Although this United-States-based company does not necessarily have any high-profile clients, it has reached over 500,000 customers and accrued a loan portfolio that is worth over $3.5 billion — an impressive feat for such a young company.


Founded in 2013, this innovative company has taken the customer service aspects of fintech and applied them to the health insurance industry. Oscar’s goal is to encourage uninsured Americans to purchase policies by quickening the application and approval process, and providing access to full-coverage plans that boast affordable premiums. In addition to its admirable mission statement, Oscar also boasts a prominent list of investors that includes Google Capital, Fidelity, and Khosla Ventures.


Launched in 2011 by four Stanford business students, this San Francisco-based fintech startup promises to be “a new kind of finance company.” Clearly, SoFi’s unconventional approach to lending and wealth management has been successful, as the company now boasts over $19 billion in funded loans and over 300,000 members across the country.

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How Retailers Are Retaining Relevancy

It’s not hard to spot the decline in brick-and-mortar stores. If you were alive in the 90s, you probably remember lounging with a book and listening to the CDs in Borders, testing out the gadgets in Sharper Image, checking out the flat-screen TVs at H.H. Gregg, picking out your next VHS for movie night at Blockbuster, and trying on sneakers at Sports Authority. None of these stores exist today. Even shopping malls are gradually becoming obsolete, with many closing a vast majority of their retail stores and becoming these cavernous, eerie ghost towns.

As more and more retail stores switch to e-commerce only or become acquired by other retailers, the ones left standing will have to get creative and come up with ways to retain their relevance in a tech-dominated world where 79 percent of U.S. consumers shopping online and 42 percent ranking convenience as an important factor for shopping online versus traveling to a store, according to a study from Pew Research. Online shopping grew at a rate of 12% year-over-year since 2009 compared to 4.5% for retail sales according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s monthly retail report.

When technology is the name of the game, the most logical thing retailers could do is utilize it to appeal to a tech-driven society- and that is exactly what some retailers are starting to do. According to leading technology research and consulting firm, Gartner, “traditional stores will have a place in the future with a new model that will blend the digital with the physical.” Enter, artificial intelligence (AI).

Artificial intelligence is the use of machines to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. AI has both amazing potential and also some concerning implications- if we continue to outsource human tasks to robots, will we reach a day when there is no longer the need for human labor? Thankfully, that day has not yet arrived, and maybe it never well. AI is just starting to manifest in the form of personal assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home.

One of the ways brick-and-mortar retailers are competing with online retail is by collecting customer data through video surveillance. Online vendors have always had an advantage over physical retailers in combatting cybercrime in that they store all of their customers’ data. Now, facial recognition technology and floor-level cameras allow retailers to predict the age and gender of customers and even analyze customer reactions to products. Retailers like Walmart and IBM are already implementing this technology.

Another way retailers are employing data and AI to stay on the cutting edge is through in-store help. Target plans to equip all associates with technology that will enable them to deliver superior customer service by searching inventory across the company, setting up shipping, and taking payment from the customer mobly. Lowes is taking it one step further by launching robots to assist customers on the floor, keep track of inventory, and analyze shopping patterns.

A final way retailers can take advantage of AI is by leveraging the internet to obtain key data about customers and make their shopping experience more personalized. By monitoring trends among shoppers, retailers will have a better idea of what to sell and how to attract customers.

Technology ultimately encroaches upon every corner of human life, albeit at a slower place in some parts of the world, and it is the difference between institutions that succeed and those that fail.


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