THE MOST INNOVATIVE FINTECH COMPANIES IN 2021
TWENTY OF THE STARTUPS ON OUR SIXTH ANNUAL LIST—INCLUDING THE FIVE BELOW—ARE FIRST-TIMERS, REFLECTIVE OF THE MONEY AND IDEAS FLOODING INTO THE INDUSTRY. ALL 50 COMPANIES ARE PRIVATE (FOR NOW) AND HAVE HEADQUARTERS OR SUBSTANTIAL OPERATIONS IN THE U.S. FOR THE FULL LIST, PLEASE SEE FORBES.COM/FINTECH/2021. Edrizio De La Cruz 40 ARCUS, CO-CEO AND COFOUNDER
At age 12, he emigrated from the Dominican Republic to the South Bronx. Six years later, he started working at JFK Airport as an airplane mechanic and finally, at 23, enrolled in Baruch College. After stints in investment banking and earning a Wharton MBA, he cofounded New York–based Arcus in 2013. Its software enables companies to offer digital wallets and online payments to Latin American consumers. With $19 million in funding from SoftBank, Citi Ventures and others, Arcus has 85 customers, including Walmart, BBVA and fast-growing Mexican food-delivery startup Rappi.
Joshua Motta 37 COALITION, CEO AND COFOUNDER
This CIA and Goldman Sachs alum was helping build Cloudflare when a former Goldman colleague offered to back him in a startup. Founded in 2017, Coalition sells small and midsize businesses tools to manage cybersecurity risk, packaged with up to $15 million in insurance, covering everything from ransomware attacks to fraudulent fund transfers and personal-information breaches. With capacity commitments from Swiss Re and Arch, it already has 42,000 customers and gross written premiums running at a $240 million annual rate. Coalition has raised $300 million and was last valued at $1.8 billion.
Wole C. Coaxum 51 MOCAFI, CEO AND FOUNDER
The 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, prompted Coaxum to leave his two-decade banking career (he was a senior VP at JPMorgan Chase) to work on economic solutions to inequality. In 2015 he started MoCaFi, which aims to reach underserved communities by teaming with local governments. Its app provides fee-free direct deposit, ATM withdrawals and a debit card that gives users access to partnered city services like discounted transit fares. Striking deals with cities takes time, but backed by Mastercard and Citi, he expects 100,000-plus app users by year end.
Stephany Kirkpatrick 40 ORUM, CEO AND FOUNDER
As a certified financial planner (and early employee of LearnVest), Kirkpatrick observed consumers’ reluctance to put money into highyield savings accounts because transferring the cash back to their checking account took too long in an emergency. In late 2019, she launched Orum, which uses machine learning to assess the risk of transactions, allowing fintechs and banks to make fund transfers available in a day, instead of the five days often required. With $29 million in VC funding, she has signed up 15 customers, including digital bank SoFi and First Horizon Bank, to use her software.
Charles Cascarilla 44 PAXOS, CEO AND COFOUNDER
An early investor in Bitcoin, this former Goldman financial analyst has quietly built a blockchain infrastructure firm valued at $2.4 billion that serves as the backbone for PayPal, Venmo and Credit Suisse’s crypto services. The cofounder of Cedar Hill Partners, he shorted mortgages before the Great Recession and sees the blockchain as a way to shine light into the opaque markets he profited from. His firm’s PAX stablecoin, valued at $1.3 billion, is designed to make transactions easier to audit. Paxos also has a cryptocurrency exchange, itBit.