As Israel observes Hanukkah – a celebration of the light among the darkness – it’s time to highlight the tech trends creating sparks within the Startup Nation.
Note, these trends are based on our deal flow – what our team sees on the ground.
Trend 3/8: Crowdsourcing Finance
How a trend is born:
Banks and startups: the two worlds could hardly be further apart.
It’s obvious even on the surface: Banks are colossal institutions, conservative in nature, often centuries of history. Startups hire minimal staff and are innovative – and fledgling – businesses.
So why are some of the world’s major financial institutions heading to Tel Aviv to set up start-up accelerators?
The answer: Fintech (financial technology).
In the most recent development of the Startup Nation, the Israeli fintech space has earned the attention of banking institutions both in Israel and abroad. While there have been some notable success stories (Fundtech, Nice Systems and now, Check), Israel isn’t particularly famous for its fintech startups.
While Tel Aviv has become almost legendary for its innovation and entrepreneurship, it is less known for its financial institutions.
According to a recent report, the Israeli metropolis has moved up 11 places from last year and is now rated 21st on the list of global financial centers. Banks are coming to Israel to embrace innovation whereas elsewhere entrepreneurs are trying to get noticed by banks.
There are a number of notable Israeli fintech startups that are gaining traction in local and international markets.
- BillGuard – a personal finance app that identifies deceptive, erroneous and unauthorized charges on consumer credit card and debit card bills.
- eToro – a social investment network that allows its users to follow the financial trading activity of other investors and copy them.
- Payoneer – a provider of global payout solutions, offering a secure, simple & cost-effective way for companies to pay people and businesses worldwide.
- ZooZ – enables app developers to start accepting in-app payments with multiple payment options.
- Pango – offers advanced cellular parking and fueling payment solutions.
The Israeli fintech industry saw a lot of high-profile attention this year, the most prominent example being the recent acquisition of bill-payment service provider Check by Intuit for $360 million. Check’s smartphone app is used by more than 10 million people to track and pay their bills. Following the completion of the sale, Check will become Intuit’s research and development center in Israel. As 2014 progresses, we can expect to see and hear a lot more about VC’s and angel investors investing in and promoting the fintech market in Israel.
Check back with us each night of Hanukkah to learn about another tech trend sparking the Startup Nation!
Thanks to OurCrowd’s Dave Lawrence for contributing to this piece.