News: Billon and Monese make it to FinTech50 2018 Yearbook
The FinTech50 yearbook recognises companies to watch in the emerging sector of financial technologies ranking them by innovation rather than revenue. From the 1800 companies that were considered two SME Instrument-funded companies Billon and Monese make it to the list of 50 hottest fintech companies in Europe. Both companies use blockchain technology to fight financial exclusion.
Millions of people globally remain unbanked – that is, they don’t have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs.
Billon is proposing a new way of using money online that uses blockchain technology to reinvent the flow of regulated money and financial data and thereby tackles financial exclusion. Founded in 2012 in Poland, Billon has created an instant payment system by using a disruptive technology that helps both a two-way transfer of data and money. The company's ultimate goal is to approach people’s needs and prevent the financial exclusion of the poorest citizens. It also aims to eliminate the barriers of time and distance when it comes to commercial transactions, changing the way money is stored and moved between people and organizations.
Billon's technology enables users to send and receive money in real time, with ultra-low cost payments and in a safe way – because the data in its distributed ledger is stored as a blockchain. Furthermore, it supports real currencies (EUR, GBP, PLN) and it's in compliance with financial regulations. The app is a great solution for salary payment, being that the payments are done instantaneously, and the funds can be used for anything – payments, transfer to everyday banking cards, ATM withdrawal, top-up mobile phones.
The startup was awarded a grant of almost € 2 million from the European Innovation Council pilot’s SME Instrument, on the basis that its pioneering distributed ledger technology can exploit the Alternative Payments market, expected to be worth up to $1,400 billion by 2019.
Monese has launched a prototype of a mobile-first banking service that validates customer’s identity fully online, enabling access to banking even for customers with poor credit history or no formal proof of address. Account opening takes place in real-time, and is four times less expensive than an average banking account. Monese accounts can be opened in 19 different European countries, in addition to the U.K, the homeland of Monese, where the accounts were first available. Accounts are available in local languages, while the premise is that they will, for all tents and purposes, act like a local Euro bank account with its own IBAN number. Monese received €1.13 million under SME Instrument Phase 2.
The SME Instrument is part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot that supports top-class innovators, entrepreneurs, small companies and scientists with funding opportunities and acceleration services. The main focus of the EIC pilot is on radical, market-creating innovations to improve productivity and international competitiveness and generate new jobs and higher standards of living.