Factsheets with background, progress and next milestones of 5 Latvian fintech startups that have shown notable traction this year.
HQ: Riga, Latvia
Core idea: Send money to a friend by tapping his name in your phonebook.
Background: It all started as a regular dispute by the lunch table. Four friends couldn’t split their bill and got irritated. Their idea of mobile cash has now turned into the first licensed, fully operational and safe application, which cooperates with 4 major banks in Latvia – Swedbank, SEB, Citadele and Nordea. Now you can split bills by tapping your friend’s name in your phonebook. The advantage of Monea over their possible competitors is their fast-transactions together with low commission fees.
Funding: 2015 has been a very active year for Monea. Before releasing the app, the company had already attracted €250 000 funding. A month after their official launch on Sep 10, the company raised another €800 000 seed round from Expansion Capital, bringing it to €1 050 000 at €4 million valuation.
Traction: The company is in a relatively early stage and the measurement system for tracking clients’ operations and scenarios is only being developed. At the moment the app is being used by various sets of people who exchange money starting from €0.50 to multiple €99.99 transactions at a time. The oldest registered user is 76 years old.
Future milestones: Monea is eyeing the European market, starting from the neighboring Baltic countries where talks with their biggest retail banks are already taking place. The team is working on their marketing activities to promote their services and create a bigger brand awareness in Latvia from where the future decisions for expansion will be taken. The company also has plans and talks to expand the retail bank availability in Latvia in 2016. Their main milestone is to achieve that the product feels secure, stable and easy to use in the eyes of their customers.
HQ: Riga, Latvia
Core idea: Send invoices fast by using a phone number or e-mail address and pay them without connecting to the internet bank.
Background: It is really important to receive payments from clients as soon as possible, especially for small startups. The team initially came up with a workaround for their first startup, but then realized that many other businesses, including bigger corporates, had the same need for cheaper, smoother and more elegant payment solution. After becoming one of the finalists of “Rietumu Fintech challenge”, Swipe.lv has already attracted 160 merchants, with their number growing every week. Companies as diverse as tourism agencies, design studios and car rentals are all fond of their solution.
Funding: Swipe hasn’t disclosed any major funding yet, but it has attracted the attention and strategic cooperation from one of the biggest Baltic banks for affluent clients “Rietumu banka” and partnered with their DECTA processing centre.
Traction: Statistics show that 70% of invoices are paid immediately after they are received. The company has 160 clients in total, but not all of them are regularly using the application. The sum that an average Latvian is paying over a Swipe invoice is €50. The biggest interest about the application comes from B2C industries especially from Latvian non-bank lenders who are looking to ease the payment process for their clients.
Future milestones: Swipe is looking forward to expand their service all over Europe. Interest about the company is big and it mainly comes from the Western Europe and USA, but the possible expansion is slowed down by legislation and anti-fraud laws. The company is working on including new services such as automatic payments and also public API code for outside developers. In 2016 Swipe plans to integrate their services in some of the big Latvian companies, grow their number of clients to 500 and launch a free invoicing service in order to be noticed worldwide.
HQ: Riga, Latvia
Core idea: Invest your money in loans on a shared creditor platform.
Background: The founders saw affluent citizens shying away from banks as their interest does not even cover the inflation. At the same time, the banks were putting their clients’ savings into private loans. Mintos team decided to bring lenders and borrowers together in a peer-to-peer platform, where borrowers could crowdfund their loan from hundreds of lenders, while lenders would get real return of about 13% p.a. The platform works with borrowers screened and guaranteed by trusted loan originators, including CreamFinance, Capitalia and Mogo. Mintos does not look at its competitors as rivals and believes that the industry is being built and expanded by joining their forces.
Traction: 3327 investors from 30 countries all over the world use the platform. Mintos has grown very fast during this year, from one loan originating country to four with about € 8 000 000 invested through the platform. Investors have received more than €200 000 in interest so far.
Future milestones: Mintos is looking forward to relocate its platform to Great Britain in the nearest future. Britains is attractive as the center of Eurpean fintech industry with favorable tax policies and government initiatives. The company has set a goal to become the bridge for investments between all parts of Europe by relocating its HQ. Other plans include growing the userbase, increasing the volume of investments and widening the opportunities for all involved parties. Mintos is working on attracting new loan companies from Poland, Spain, Georgia and Lithuania as well expanding the available range of loans from the current partners.
HQ: Riga, Latvia
Core idea: Fulfill a person’s dream with your loan.
Background: TWINO is a daughter company of Finabay, which has an experience of 7 years in the financial loan market and branches in 6 countries. This synergy allows TWINO to provide investors with premium returns of up to 14.9% annually, as well as protect investor money from currency and default risk through the recently launched 30 day BuyBack Guarantee program. The company is doing everything to be as transparent as possible for the sake of their clients’ trust and financial security.
Funding: Twino is a subsidiary company of Finabay and they are absolutely connected in terms of resources and technologies. However, Twino has independently attracted more than €2 000 000 in investments through its own platform.
Traction. About 700 investors from 27 European countries use the platform, with their number growing rapidly.
Future milestones: In 2016 the main goal is to become one of the top 3 or even top 2 biggest p2p marketplaces in Europe with the help of their 30 day BuyBack guarantee, the high interest rate and the simplicity of the platform. Right now there aren’t any plans to attract other loan companies but they are not saying a definite “no” to this option. Other plans for TWINO are to open an investment platform for legal entities and to greatly increase the numbers of attracted investments.
HQ: Warsaw, Poland
Core idea: Get a speedy and reliable personal loan.Background: CreamFinance was founded in Latvia in 2012 based on a vision to implement an innovative data-driven consumer finance company. CreamFinance has achieved an instant growth since, offering its services in Latvia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Georgia which is their fastest growing market. To minimize consumer effort and maximize risk management, CreamFinance puts emphasis on using the most advanced and representative scoring techniques that is among the top 3 worldwide.
Funding: Last year the company raised €5 million from Flint Capital, investing across US, Israel and Europe in Mobile, SaaS, Advertisement, Financial and Educational Technologies as well as Security and Enterprise sectors
Traction: At the end of 2014 the company predicted it would issue about 500 000 loans worth €70 000 000 and a revenue of €24 000 000 the following year. In reality the numbers are even better with the revenue of €25 000 000 and the principle issued of €75 000 000.
Future milestones: CreamFinance plans to use investment to increase product portfolio and facilitate expansion into new markets, with current focus on Caucasus and South America. They have recently participated in a conference in Kazakhstan and are currently evaluating if a step towards Caucasus makes sense for their business and if it is worth the political and currency risks. Simultaneously CreamFinance is doing researches in Brazil and Mexico, the two countries in South America with the biggest markets and relatively decent infrastructure, online and mobile penetrations along with good level of overall readiness for digital fintech services. The company is working on differentiating themselves as the most convenient service in the market, which they call “one-click loan”. They are also expanding the sizes and range of their available loans from several hundred Euros for a month, to a few thousand Euros for a few years.
Looking for more fintech startups from Latvia?