Wednesday 17 June 2015 11:05 am

Five FinTech startups to watch: RBS, Lloyds and American Express back finance innovation

Five tech startups seeking to disrupt the financial industry have caught the eye of some of the world's leading firms in the sector.

A savings app, a company using visual cryptography to create secure passwords and a real-time sales platform for local businesses are just three of the winners in the search for startups creating new technology that will disrupt the finance industry.

A similar startup search at the end of last year which focused on innovation in entertainment chose a winning company that was last month acquired by Facebook's Oculus Rift.

The five FinTech winners pick up a share of £175,000 funding and will partner with firms such as Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Lloyds and American Express, and the Department for Business, among others, to build their products further.

Read more: These are the most influential people in FinTech

“FinTech is one of the most exciting sectors in the UK at the moment. Last year it contributed an estimated £20bn to our economy. It is vital that we support this growth if Britain is to remain a global leader,” said Matt Sansam of IC Tomorrow, the organisation behind the competition.

“The calibre of startups that applied to this contest was high across the board, and we look forward to following the winners throughout their pre-commercial trials. We aim to position the UK at the forefront of innovation by building relationships between digital communities and the biggest industry players, and give talented entrepreneurs the opportunities they deserve.”

Read more: The hunt for London's unicorn tech startups

Here are the winners to watch


Swave, the winner in the consumer financial literacy category backed by Lloyds, is a personal savings app which monitors spending and encourages users to save.

Lloyds innovation and digital development director Marc Lien said of the startup: “The team was very impressive, and they have a embedded a great user experience that helps people actually improve financial outcomes by using the service, not just informing them of what is important. We are looking forward to exploring opportunities with Swave to help improve financial literacy of consumers.”

The app has also picked up funding from Citi a the bank's mobile challenge demo day.

“Swave is an idea only a few months old so winning a digital innovation contest is amazing feedback to receive so early on," said Swave co-founder Kristina Bordas. "We think our idea has the potential to create a nation of savers and now, with support from IC tomorrow and Lloyds, we have the opportunity to push the idea forward."


The winner in the cyber security category backed by RBS and the Department for Business, Tento, has created a new password technology which makes having to remember passwords obsolete but remains secure.

“The UK’s digital economy is strong and leading the way in the use of technology, online commerce and digital services. Cyber security is therefore vital and something we take extremely seriously which is why we have invested £860m over five years in the National Cyber Security Programme,” said digital minister Ed Vaizey speaking about the business department’s partnership.

“This is the acknowledgement we've been looking for to drive interested partners to join us to take this much-needed product to the launch stage,” said Tento's Alastair Yates.


The winner in the search for hyperlocal transaction technology with American Express, Bubbal connects people to small local retailers via an app, providing them with real-time information on pricing and availability of their products, giving them greater opportunity to reach customers and grow their business.


Squirrel, chosen by the Money Advice Service and Experian as a winner in the personal financial management category, gives users control over their billing, budgeting and saving directly through their payroll with their employer.

The startup also won Pitch@Palace – the startup event hosted by the Duke of York – and graduated from the TechStars accelerator.


Mentat, which was chosen as a winner by Accenture in its search for compliance and regulation innovation, uses machine learning to detect money laundering.

It’s also part of EY’s Startup Challenge at Canary Wharf's Level39 and is part of Cisco’s entrepreneur in residence program.