Member Article

15 fintech finalists revealed in £1.5m Open Up Challenge

Fifteen fintechs have today secured funding to develop innovative solutions that use open banking to transform how people across the UK manage their finances. From saving and budgeting, and debt support to mortgage affordability, the Open Up 2020 Challenge aims to address some of the longstanding financial issues faced by the UK population.

Research conducted to mark the launch of the Open Up 2020 Challenge found millions of people across the country are currently struggling to stay on top of their finances. One in three (29%) regularly run out of money each month – equating to around 15.2 million people – and half (48%) of people would like new tools and apps to help them manage their money.

All the solutions use open banking data to help their users better manage their financial lives. This includes gig economy workers, who are trying to manage the peaks and troughs in their finances, millennials and Gen Zs who are trying to get on the property ladder or save money, and others who may wish to see their charitable donations in one place.

Run by Nesta Challenges, in partnership with Open Banking Limited (OBL), the prize has awarded each of the fifteen solutions £50,000 of the £1.5m prize pot. Three of them will also receive an additional £50,000 based on their solution’s emphasis on financial inclusion, such as addressing financial wellbeing for the elderly and vulnerable.

Out of the 107 entries received, the judging panel selected the 15 most promising concepts to move on to the final round. Many of these are already live in market, collectively reaching close to 6 million people, but through the Challenge these 15 companies hope to support 13.5 million people across the UK in all areas of personal finance. Five of the solutions focus on helping people better manage their money generally, while two help people navigate common housing issues and another two are centred around addressing the nation’s savings crisis.

The 15 finalists are:

  • Canopy – RentPassportTM, a portable digital rental identity which helps renters improve their credit score, as well as access a range of financial wellness products such as deposit free insurance which offers the same protections as with a cash deposit, except for eight weeks instead of five weeks.
  • Cleo – an AI assistant with a sense of humour which helps Gen Z/ Millennials budget, save and track their spending.
  • Creditspring – affordable credit subscription service offering small interest free loans for short term credit to help those with limited savings or persistent debt cope with unexpected expenses.
  • Currensea – the first travel debit card that connects to customers’ existing high street bank accounts, offering competitive exchange rates and saving up to 80% on bank charges when spending abroad.
  • Kalgera – a personal finance platform for older or vulnerable people. Kalgera uses neuroscience and AI to detect and predict financial vulnerability to help prevent fraud.
  • Mojo Mortgages – MortgageScore™ will combine credit and open banking data to determine if a customer is mortgage ready. Once a customer’s score is calculated, the MortgageScore™ coaching feature will provide personalised advice on how they could improve their score.
  • Moneybox – this innovative app helps customers save and invest for their future. You can set money aside through round ups or regular deposits and choose from a range of products including ISAs, savings accounts and pensions.
  • Moneyhub – a financial management platform that empowers people to do more with their money by offering actionable insights to consumers to improve financial wellness. Moneyhub uses machine learning to categorise financial data by aggregating accounts.
  • Plum – an AI assistant that boosts your bank balance through automated savings, easy bill switching and investments.
  • Portify – a holistic credit builder for modern workers with unconventional earnings patterns, Portify’s solution analyses these earnings and spending behaviours to prevent overdraft and interest payments and offer a fee-free credit line.
  • Sustainably – a platform to give to good causes, making it easy for businesses and consumers to do good as part of everyday life by using open banking data to round up retail transactions and donate to charities.
  • Toucan – helps people who need extra help managing their money because of impairments like dementia or mental illness. The app allows them to securely share spending alerts or financial information with someone they trust, typically a carer.
  • Tully – a digital debt adviser for those struggling financially - providing online budgeting, debt advice, flexible repayments and money coaching to alleviate financial stress.
  • Updraft – a solution which automates day to day decisions involved in managing money, designed to help millennial users clear their overdraft, pay off their credit cards, save more, and reach their life goals faster.
  • Wagestream – allows employees to stream a proportion of their income as it is earned, save directly from their salary, track wages and get impartial, financial education in real-time.

Each finalist has been awarded £50,000 to develop their innovation over the next eight months – with Kalgera, Toucan and Wagestream receiving £100,000 because of their focus on financial inclusion.

Over the next eight months, the finalists will work with Nesta Challenges and OBL to develop their solutions, also receiving non-financial support including marketing, business mentoring and service design. Between three and four finalists will go on to be named winners in July 2020, receiving a further £150,000 -200,000 each to invest in their idea.

Chris Gorst, Director of Challenges, at Nesta Challenges, said: “Whether it is gig economy workers, 18-35 year olds, or more vulnerable groups, millions of people across the UK are struggling to keep on top of their finances. The financial services sector has been slow to respond to society’s evolving needs, whether it’s better serving the UK’s renters, fraud prevention for the vulnerable, or helping those with an unpredictable income manage their finances and get a mortgage.

“The Open Up 2020 finalists are addressing these issues – and more – using open banking to make it easy for people to overcome some of the real-life issues they are dealing with every day. Among other areas, the solutions have the potential to change the UK’s rental market, help people avoid expensive or unnecessary debt, and allow young people to save and proactively find people the best deals. We see this as the start of a big consumer-friendly shift in financial services.”

Imran Gulamhuseinwala OBE, Trustee of the Open Banking Implementation Entity, commented: “We were extremely impressed by the high calibre of the entrants to Open Up 2020. It was tough to select the finalists, but we are confident that the fifteen going on to the next round have strong and innovative products and solutions that will help revolutionise how we all manage our money and finances. Open banking has huge potential to improve our relationship with money, and Open Up 2020 is a vital component in ensuring that the UK continues to be developing innovative open banking-enabled products.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Andrew McKay .

Our Partners

Top Ten Most Read