While our last year’s list was dominated by agritech – ideas for innovative and sustainable food and agriculture, this year reflects on a still rising offensive of fintech, which we have been observing for some time now. Fintech industry is entering its mature phase. Technology and solutions have been tested, and being implemented. Regulators are building legal frameworks and increasing security. Big tech and banks are providing financing. But it doesn’t mean there is no room for new players. On the contrary, it is time for technology providers to unify services and integrate financial ecosystems.
But our list is not just about fintech. You will also find interesting examples of medtech, marketplaces and solutions which automate work.
Here is our subjective list of startups to watch in 2020.
Czech Republic startups:
Product Managers: “Algorithms will never take our jobs”. Algorithms: “Hold our beer…”. Productboard is a set of integrated digital tools for product developers and managers – from collecting insights, through user segmentation, competitive analysis, user impact score, and new feature validation, to project management and collaborative work tools. Productboard has it all, in one place and synchronized. Dear managers, don’t worry! It will not take your job. But it can make it much easier!
No matter if you are a big corporation, a small or medium company, or a startup, dealing with employee expenses and bills is always a pain. Receipts simply have a tendency to disappear. Pleo is a company payment card solution that automates expense reports and simplifies company spending. The service integrates with a number of accounting tools and collects receipts in an app, providing a real-time overview of all company expenses in one place.
Hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers buy goods on tick. A digital tick. All thanks to a Chinese fintech giant – Ant Financials, owned by even bigger giant – Alibaba, and its instant loans. And so will Europeans, thanks to ViaBill, a Danish payment solution for purchases up to $300. The service enables people to “buy now and pay later” for interest-free monthly installments – with instant approval without credit checks. All hassle free, in the place of purchase. The company recently raised $10M in a series A round.
The Berlin based startup Bitwala is the only banking service in the European Economic Area that combines a free bank account with a crypto-wallet, a free debit card and trading options for private customers in 31 countries. An interesting thing is, that this project is co-funded by the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Union. It is official. The future is now.
Diamontech has developed a medical device with which you can measure your blood sugar value noninvasively, i.e. without pricking your finger, without blood and without test strips. The device has been approved as a medical device in 2019 and will be officially launched on the market this year. There are already many interested distribution partners worldwide and an IPO is also in the offing.
All those who said augmented reality is a useless technology, good only for games and porn, will have to take their words back.
An Italian startup Artiness has just developed a technology using 3D and 4D augmented reality to create holographic models of patient’s anatomy. It enables a scalable and realistic reconstructions of the human body and respective organs, which can be used for planning percutaneous interventions or training. In the future it will allow for remote surgery with the feeling of being present in the operating room. Insane!
Does it even happen to parents, to leave their child behind, in a car or a shopping mall? Well, more often than you think! Just ask David Cameron. Therefore, Filo, a startup known for its tracking tokens, has developed a special solution for such cases. It is called Tata Pad, an anti-abandonment device that warns parents about the absence of children in the car. It is a child-safe pillow equipped with artificial intelligence. Depending on the situation, it can send sound notifications, text messages and emergency calls even with the smartphone switched off, unloaded, forgotten in the car or without reception.
This startup will make sure your kids will be ready for the job market of tomorrow… or at least they will have lots of fun! It offers interactive workshops for schools and organizations, using ‘Socializing through technology’ as the guiding principle. RobotWise is the first and the largest ‘Robot Playground’ in the Netherlands, where both children and adults can discover and play with a large selection of robots and programming activities. In 2019, RobotWise was named Startup of the Year by the Dutch city of Amstelveen.
Autopay is a startup which I personally categorize as “elegant”. A simple idea which deploys technology to solve a real problem and to make life easier. In a nutshell – it is a video tolling solution, which enables almost seamless payments for highways in Poland. No need to use a toll booth, to be stuck in huge queues (believe me, it could take longer than the ride itself!) and to emit even more of CO2. It saves time, money, environment and lots of frustration.
“We disrupt within regulations” – sounds like an oxymoron, but this is what Billion does, being a proof that disruptors do not have to bend rules to provide innovative, game changing services. It deploys blockchain technology to build a worldwide digital platform for money transactions, document sharing and identity management. Such projects, technologies and providers are significant for further digitalization of financial sector.
banqUp is probably not the coolest startup on this list. What can be cool about “banking API integration”? Well, even if not sexy, it is one of the smartest b2b business models based on PSD2 directive and possibilities it creates. It gives other fintechs and banks easy access to infrastructures and accounts of other banks, saving a lot of money and time spent on integration. And in today’s reality of the fintech world, when time to market is a crucial factor of success, banqUp’s solutions generate a true value for its users.
While “Peloton” is struggling to win back its image after unfortunate commercial, Spanish Voalva is gaining speed and breaks away. Barcelona-based Volava is an interactive fitness platform offering connected to a stationary bike. It offers thousands of boutique classes live and on demand, all with a technology driven immersive and social platform.
But they do not stop there. With a pipeline of products coming soon they hope to bring an integrated fitness platform from Europe to the world.
Students apartments are a scene of thousands of anecdotes, urban legends and real but unbelievable events. A place, where completely strange people become friends for life or… badly matched roommates have to live their nightmare till the end of semester. Badi, a startup marketplace based in Barcelona, tries to mitigate this risk, and also make searching for roommates easier. Enables to post offers, search for living space, pre-meet your roommates remotely and read recommendations of others.
In many world metropolises, especially in Asia, but also in Central Africa and America, motorcycles and mopeds are a basic mean of transport. With all the consequences of it, as noise and air pollution. CAKE is the Swedish startup which develops its electric, high performance bikes. The founder, Stefan Ytterborn, is not new to this biz. For years, he was successfully running his company, Poc, which develops protective equipment for cycling and winter sports. Now he wants to jump on the wave of e-mobility and zero emission transportation. CAKE first electric motorcycle has been launched, raising huge international interest.
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