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7 of the Most Exciting FinTech Start-Ups in the Leeds City Region

· Abigail Beall · Opinion

This is finance, but not as we know it.

Yorkshire Payments

They may have been around for years or just secured investment, but these FinTechs all have one thing in common – they’re changing the world of finance.

The number of FinTech start-ups in the Leeds City Region doubled between November 2018 and March 2020. That’s an impressive growth rate, but we’re not surprised. After all, we have a vibrant tech scene and strong financial services presence, so when it comes to FinTech, it’s a no brainer. But who are the movers and groovers? From debt solutions to fraud prevention, these are the most exciting FinTech companies in the region.

CurveBlock

Curve Block

CurveBlock is a FinTech platform that allows anyone to own a share of a multimillion-pound construction company. With a £10 minimum investment, they aim to bring the financial benefits of property development to the masses. After a successful seed investment from ten angel investors, they’ve now started work on a second investment round of £2.2 million.

They only build houses that use no gas and produce more electricity than they consume, so it’s a sustainable investment. On top of this, 5% of all profits from every home built will be used to directly tackle the UK housing crisis and homelessness issues.

Answer Pay

Answer Pay

Answer Pay is a FinTech that makes it easier to issue and pay bills. Their software decouples the payments process by aggregating invoices. A payer can import all of their requests into an app of their choice and pay in the most convenient way. For the biller this eradicates cash, cheque or even card payments, which can be expensive to process.

“This ability to aggregate bills from any biller into a single app empowers customers by giving them greater control of their payments,” Peter Cornforth, Commercial Director of Answer Pay, told us. Answer Pay is the first certified repository in the UK using the Request to Pay standard of Pay.UK, the UK’s leading retail payments authority.

FreezeDebt

2021’s FinTech of the Year at the YFA Awards, FreezeDebt is a free app that helps people in debt to find solutions. Nobody talks on the phone anymore – according to Ofcom, time spent on landline calls plummeted by about 50% between 2012 and 2017, and FreezeDebt knows this.

Instead of making calls, you just add all your debts, income, spending and assets into the app, then it comes up with a solution to help you get debt-free. Advisors are also available to talk over their in-app chat, without ever needing to speak to anyone on the phone.

TruNarrative

Tru Narrative

Founded in 2016, TruNarrative is a Leeds-based regulation platform for fraud detection and prevention, anti-money laundering and identity verification. “We help our clients onboard new customers, comply with regulation and streamline their internal process,” John Lord, TruNarrative’s CEO, told us. “This drives digital transformation, helps reduce operation costs and increases revenues in our customers’ business.”

They work with regulated markets like banks, lenders, FinTechs, e-commerce and gambling businesses. Their platform makes it easy for businesses to comply with all the relevant regulations. For example, it uses AI to detect fraudulent transactions and credit applications. And everything is handled on one easy to use platform.

BrokerSense

BrokerSense

BrokerSense is a technology platform designed for mortgage brokers. “Typically, a broker has to input a client’s details into dozens of affordability calculators to see what they’ll lend to their client,” Stuart Phillips, Director of BrokerSense, told us. “Our platform takes one input and aggregates that across 75 lenders and returns all the results in one place within 10 seconds.”

After starting out in 2017 with virtually no budget, they now have over 300 paying clients across the UK. They worked with local organisation, NorthInvest, to find investors and grow their business at pace. Their tech can be used as a web portal or an API which allows users to fully automate the process.

UOWN

UOwn

UOWN is a crowdfunding platform where people invest in property, receive rental income and share in any changes to house prices. Investors can buy shares in buy-to-let or development property investments and earn average returns of 10% per year, starting from just £1. This low entry point is just one of the reasons why they’ve had over 4,000 people sign up and helped build 50 new homes since they launched in 2016.

“There really isn’t a typical investor, with some putting in just £10 and some investing over £100,000,” Haaris Ahmed, UOWN’s Founder, told us. “One thing they all have in common is belief in the investment potential of bricks and mortar.”

Yorkshire Payments

Yorkshire Payments

Yorkshire Payments provides businesses with affordable ways to process card payments. Their technology allows you to make online payments, contactless charity donations and card payments. It also supports Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) systems that record data about each transaction.

In 2019, they processed £532 million in card transactions, working with over 3,500 businesses. They work with the John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield, where they’ve installed 30 contactless payment terminals and provide ongoing support. The system provided by Yorkshire Payment is much quicker than the previous one, which was run by a high street bank.