As part of our advisory activities at Mind the Bridge, we are continuously looking for the most innovative startups around the world that fit the verticals we focus on.

One of them is Fintech, not only because of its growing influence, but also because of the potential high gain and benefits it can bring to our clients and stakeholders.

As per Pitchbook, $USD 4.28 billion was invested into Financial Software startups in July, a 14.32% increase from June. In 2019, about $91.73 billion was invested in the same vertical firms while in 2020 $54.88 billion have already been invested as of August 31st, on track to potentially eclipse last year’s invested capital. These results evidence a growing interest by investors in tapping into the growing digital financial revolution that has resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic.  

This short list focuses on North American startups that according to us are worthy to be tracked. They have either received notable investments recently and/or provide solutions that promise to be increasingly important in our post-Covid world. 


HQ: San Francisco, CA
Founded: 2017
Funding: Series A

Oxygen created an innovative banking platform focused on offering bank accounts and transaction cards to “gig-workers” and “freelancers”. 

What’s the value

By leveraging the benefits of a digital bank structure they offer both individuals and businesses the ability to manage multiple income streams, pay and track their expenses, create single-use or merchant locked cards that improve the security of transactions, and can even integrate results to SaaS accountancy tools, all through their mobile app. 

With freelancers expected to represent more than 50% of the United States workforce by 2027, Oxygen is serving a growing and overlooked group. Other benefits for Oxygen clients include the ability to create an LLC through the app and receive cash back on everyday purchases. 

Worth Mentioning

  • Won the 2018 Benzinga Best Digital Bank award
  • They are part of Visa Fast Track 

Visit the website 

Salt Lending

HQ: Denver, CO
Founded: 2016
Funding: Early Stage

Provider of a crypto-backed lending platform, institutional grade crypto custody and blockchain monitoring products.

What’s the value

Salt Lending is helping extend the disruption of blockchain in the financial industry by enabling customers to leverage their crypto holdings as collateral for cash loans. Loans start from $USD 5000 and terms last from 3 to 12 months, giving crypto investors and enthusiasts new abilities to maximize the use and returns on their assets. They accept BTC, LTC, ETH, BCH, XRP, DASH, etc. to be used as collateral to secure cash loans. 

In addition to this, they also offer real time reports on your loan health (in Loan-to-Value ratio) through the life of the loan and portfolio performance tracking tools. 

Worth mentioning 

  • Recently partnered with Uphold to expand their reach
  • Accept 12 different crypto currencies as collateral 

Visit the website 


HQ: San Francisco, CA
Founded: 2019
Funding: Series A

Kikoff is a financial software that enables users to build their creditworthiness without requiring a bank account, credit score, or credit card. 

What’s the value

Kikoff is democratizing the access to credit to the millions of people who waited too long to start building their own. By depositing $12 in the applicant’s account they will be expecting a $1/month payment back to them, the timeliness of payments will be reflected in the nascent credit score. Payment history accounts to 35% of every credit score, meaning that in a creative and low cost way, applicants can start building their credit history without going through the repetitive action of being rejected to capital by financial institutions as a result of their lack of financial history. 

With Central Banks pushing interest rates to unprecedented lows, it is more important than ever to be able to access that capital and use it to weather the economic storm that Covid-19 created. By helping eliminate the multiple roadblocks existent to new borrowers, Kikoff is also supporting the economic recovery of our countries. 

Worth mentioning 

  • Part of Visa’s Fintech Fast Track Program

Visit the website

M1 Finance

HQ: Chicago, IL
Founded: 2015
Funding: Series B

M1 Finance is a financial software platform that enables customers to automatically invest in public markets. They also provide digital banking services to help customers manage and borrow funds. 

What’s the value

M1 Finance focuses in 3 main areas, investing, lending, and spending. Through automation they help clients rebalance their portfolio of securities that may include some of the 80 portfolios created by experts offered through them or can invest in fractional shares of companies of their interest. They enable users to invest on margin to up to 35% of their portfolio’s value at a 3.5% rate and even at a 2% rate for their Plus users. They also offer other services as digital banking that includes checking accounts.

Through the use of automation and technology they aim to continue pushing down the costs of investing and banking as it can be evidenced through their $0 commission on trades and low banking fees. 

Worth mentioning 

  • Won multiple awards in the 2019 Automated Investing Awards of Investopedia
  • They already have +150,000 users

Visit the website


HQ: Palo Alto, CA
Founded: 2018
Funding: Series A

Step is a mobile banking platform that provides financial services and tools catered to teenagers. 

What’s the value

Step has taken on the challenge of introducing the youth to the financial industry by offering app-based banking services. Some of the features Step offers include instant money sending to contacts such as your mom sending you money for groceries, checking accounts with no fees attached, and educational features to guide their young clients in their financial journey. 

With over 75 million children and young adults under the age of 21 who are still forced to use cash, Step is working to connect with an underserved group. In the Post-Covid times we can expect more young clients jumping into these digital banking platforms to keep up with their daily expenses. 

Worth mentioning 

  • Step is backed by payments giant Stripe

Visit the website 

Final Conclusions

From our side, we will keep looking for the most interesting innovators around the globe that can support our clients’ efforts in fintech.

Schedule a call HERE, if you are

  • a startup and interested in being a part of our next top 5 articles or interested in taking part in our activities.
  • a corporation interested in Innovation!

Stay tuned on our next Scaleup Summits:

*sources: Crunchbase, Pitchbook, Mind the Bridge

About the author:
Giovanni Martinez, Innovation Advisor

Giovanni started his career in the finance industry by working as an analyst in an international banking institution in the Dominican Republic.
He moved to San Francisco where he got his business and finance degree at Hult Business School, later pursuing a career in Open Innovation.
Giovanni is part of the Mind the Bridge Innovation advisory team based in San Francisco. Feel free to schedule a call with him HERE.