Top 100 Fintech Startups and Companies to Watch in 2023
At the beginning of this year, we wrote a piece about the 100 fastest-growing fintech startups to reach a $1 billion valuation, the fastest. We’re now in the last quarter of the year, and a lot changed since then. In January, we saw the explosion of investments in generative artificial intelligence (AI) following the sudden success of ChatGPT. While generative AI may be dominating the headlines, it did little to stop the momentum in the fintech space.
The fintech industry has witnessed remarkable growth over the past nine months, as investors continue to pour billions into promising and innovative fintech startups. Unlike traditional banks, these fintech unicorns leverage technology to craft innovative, customer-focused financial solutions, including mobile payment systems, digital banks, online lending platforms, and financial management tools.
As of January 2023, Stripe emerged as the world’s most valuable fintech company, boasting a staggering $95 billion valuation, more than double that of any other company on our list. The San Francisco-based Stripe achieved unicorn status in early 2014, just four years after its inception. The company’s API empowers businesses of all sizes to seamlessly accept online payments, democratizing financial transactions for all.
Fast forward nine months, and we now have a comprehensive ranking of the 100 most promising privately held fintech firms worldwide, courtesy of CB Insights, a prominent technology trends research firm.
CB Insights’ research team carefully analyzed over 19,000 private companies, evaluating applicants and nominees to compile this exclusive list of 100 fintech enterprises. The selection process relied on a diverse range of CB Insights datasets, encompassing factors such as equity funding, investor profiles, business associations, R&D activities, sentiment analysis from news sources, competitive landscape, proprietary Mosaic scores, and Yardstiq transcripts. Additionally, the research team pored over a multitude of Analyst Briefings submitted by prospective candidates.
Exploring the Top Fintech Companies
This year’s winners represent fintech startups from 24 countries and are operating across 20 categories, including fraud prevention and compliance, digital banking, and cross-border payments. Notably, generative AI makes an appearance across several categories.
For instance, some winners are using the tech for document summarization and extraction. While others are developing large language models purpose-built for financial services. Overall, these fintech companies represent a wide range of fintech subsectors, including payments, lending, investing, wealth management, and insurance. They are also of varying sizes, from startups to large, established companies.
Diverse Maturity Levels: Within the Fintech 100 cohort, we encounter an array of companies in varying stages of development, product innovation, and funding. Collectively, these companies have successfully secured almost $22 billion in equity funding through 381 deals since 2019 (as of 9/22/23). Notably, this year’s list boasts 31 unicorns, denoting privately held firms valued at $1 billion or more.
Pioneering Early-Stage Ventures: Among the standout features of this year’s winning group are the twenty companies in the early fundraising stages, encompassing seed/angel and Series A funding rounds. These early innovators are actively shaping solutions across diverse categories, including B2B BNPL (represented by Mondu and Two), account-to-account (A2A) payments (highlighted by Banked and Kevin.), and the realm of mobile wallets and remittances (with notable mentions like DANA and LemFi).
Prominent Categories: The Fintech 100 cohort presents a fascinating breakdown across 20 distinct categories. In this year’s lineup, two categories, namely “Spend management” and “insurance,” stand out, each featuring nine outstanding companies.
- The “Spend management” category showcases notable later-stage leaders such as Brex and Ramp, both of which introduced generative AI product features in the current year. This category also introduces two new winners from international markets: Aspire in Singapore and Clara in Mexico.
- For the second consecutive year, “insurance” takes center stage as one of the most prominent categories. Among the nine insurtech companies, eight operate in the B2B space, including two insurance distribution platforms—repeat victor bolttech and the newcomer, Cover Genius.
With that, below are the top 100 fintech startups.