What drove me to create this list is my own interest in fintech, and the intriguing observation that Python has risen to prominence in this industry.
In 2015 and 2016, I took part in many fintech conferences as both an attendee (EXEC, MoneyConf) and as a presenter (FinovateEurope, Money20/20 Europe, Wolves Summit, etc.). At these conferences, I was able to meet some of the industry’s leading executives, including a few whose companies you’ll find on the list below.
At the time, I was representing Valuto, a budding P2P currency exchange and payments startup that was part of a larger Polish fintech.
While Valuto has since joined those Finovate graduates in the fintech graveyard—having been closed or acquired—the companies that are listed below have managed to survive against all odds, pushing the industry to new heights.
You’ll find that many on this list also started off at Finovate. If you’re interested, links to their first appearances are in their write-ups and were sourced mainly from the Finovate website.
Financial technology, or “fintech” as it’s been popularly coined, has become a trendy industry for startups due to its high-growth potential and possibility for endless disruptive innovation.
In fact, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, over $150 billion could be invested in fintech companies over the next 3 to 5 years.
There’s a wide range of verticals that are being impacted by fintech companies, such as:
What makes these companies so attractive for small and large businesses is their ability to cater to their customers’ needs.
You might be wondering: “How does this apply to Python, Matthew?”
Well, if you read my previous post, you’ll know that Python is becoming the backend technology of choice for these scrappy startups.
Need proof? Below are the top 17 fintech companies that highlight Python as a must-have in their tech stack.
P2P lender, Zopa, cuts out the banks and other middlemen, allowing lenders and borrowers to deal directly with one another. Starting with £10 amounts, Zopa spreads its clients’ investments across multiple loans. This means that no customer has more than 1% of a lender’s investment. The largest amount that individuals can borrow is £25,000 (not including fees).
In early 2018, Zopa became the first consumer peer-to-peer lending platform to surpass £3 billion in lending. Amidst increasing pressure on traditional peer-to-peer lending from regulators, Zopa has raised £44 million in an effort to help launch its digital challenger bank. The world’s oldest P2P lender applied for a banking licence back in 2016.
Want to know what Zopa thinks about Python as part of their current tech stack, which is a mixture of C#, Python, and Java?
“We are strongly committed to Python as a key language in our technology stack and have big plans for the future. We use Flask, Django, RabbitMQ, Pandas, Celery and Postgres within the Python team. Our data science team have built their own machine-learning stack, built on top of tools like scikit-learn and keras, that we are heavily involved in.”
There you have it; they’re fans.
Founded by ex-Google engineer, Paul Taylor, ThoughtMachine is the creator of Vault OS: a platform that makes use of the latest technology, such as cloud infrastructure and blockchain, to create a bank operating system that allows banks to maintain a ledger.
Vault OS is expected to enable banks to scale to millions of customers without maintaining expensive in-house data centers because it runs in the cloud as a software as a service (SaaS).
The SaaS targets financial institutions that want to move away from legacy technology that plagues their industry, and build new banks from the ground up.
Over the last two years, over 50 engineers have worked on the platform (mostly in secret).
Drawing from English folklore’s Robin of Locksley, Robinhood doesn’t go quite as far as stealing from the rich, but the mobile app does allow regular folk to buy and sell stocks—typically only afforded to the affluent—without trading fees. The app lets users trade stocks with zero broker fees, and millennials appear to be the main driver of Robinhood’s popularity.
In April, the Palo Alto-based firm raised $110 million in Series C Funding.
The zero-fee stock trading app added new cryptocurrency functionality in early 2018, allowing its users in 5 US states to buy and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Reverting to my go-to source for tech stacks (Siftery, in case you missed it!), we see Python as the server-side language and Django as the framework used when building the app.
If we look at their current job postings, this is confirmed: “Python/Django and Go are the main languages and frameworks of choice.”
Valued at about $500 million, Kensho is a data analytics and machine learning company creating analytical tools for investment professionals. The company uses natural language processing (a subset of AI) to query millions of documents and infer useful information that can answer complex financial questions posed in plain English.
Founded in 2013 out of MIT and Harvard, Kensho’s team includes one of the seven original members of the iPhone engineering team, as well as one of the youngest ever entrants to Harvard.
Given the collective brainpower of its founders, any engineer applying for a job at Kensho will have to have an excellent track record. Job openings require developers to have experience with Python as well as Pandas, Numpy, scikit-learn, Django, Flask, and Celery.
Our only entry from the “Land Down Under,” the aim of this Sydney-based firm is to provide professional wealth management to the masses. The company boasts that its product offers customers non-complicated financial terminology, less paperwork, and greater transparency, which aren’t commonly found in today’s wealth management industry.
According to A.T. Kearney, a global consultancy firm, assets under management by robo-advisors will grow by 68% annually to $2.2 trillion USD before 2022. This bodes well for Stockspot, Australia’s fastest growing digital investment adviser.
Stockspot’s tech stack includes ReactJS on the front end and Python and Django on the back.
Newable Business Finance (NBF) is a joint venture between Newable and Liberis. The company offers affordable loans of between £26,000 and £150,000 to growing businesses across the UK. Although businesses can apply directly, NBF also partners with finance brokers, advisors, high street banks, solicitors, and accountants. Its processes are fast and fair, which means that you always know where you stand, and the vital funds get to the businesses when they need them.
The company has launched 3 products in 6 months, and reached £7 million in loans during that time (two months ahead of schedule).
The company’s tech stack includes Python 3.6 and Flask. How do we know? We helped build it.
Since its start, Instant Working Capital (iwoca) has lent more than £200 million across 18,000 transactions, supporting over 7,500 businesses throughout the UK, Poland, Spain, and Germany. The company offers a new type of credit facility for small businesses, allowing these businesses to take advantage of opportunities previously only available to their larger peers.
According to Euromoney, this pioneering fintech is currently taking on both incumbents and disruptors in the industry.
According to the company, it’s building on its current engineering team of 15 (July 2017), across the frontend, backend, and analytics. So what’s their preference? Full-stack Python engineers: “We use Python and Django.”
While I know for a fact that there are more German fintechs out there using Python, figo was an obvious choice to include on our list. Founded in 2012, figo enables its partners to connect to over 3,100 banks and financial institutions via a banking API. Customers of banks that use figo can now use accounts and deposits that they have with other banks after logging in to their online banking.
The company’s “banking as a service” platform connects modern services to more than 55 million online bank accounts across Germany and Austria.
Siftery states that figo’s stack includes Python/Django: “The backbone of next generation financial services is constantly on the lookout for Python/Django devs to join their internal team.”
Founded by Max Levchin (founding CTO of PayPal), Affirm’s goal is to make the banking industry more accountable and accessible by offering installment loans to consumers at the point of sale. The company lets consumers spread out payments over several months at justly priced fees, increasing conversions and the size of purchases for online retailers.
According to TechCrunch (July 2017), the consumer-lending startup has now signed up more than 1,000 merchants.
Backend software engineers at Affirm are expected to have expert knowledge in a dynamically typed language—primarily Python—and experience in developing systems in web application frameworks. Internally, they use Flask.
Vyze is a leading financial technology company for retailers and manufacturers. By combining a comprehensive lending supply, technology, and support under one roof, Vyze enables businesses to deliver more satisfying financing experiences to their customers, wherever and whenever they shop.
Vyze, formerly known as NewComLink, raised 13.1 million USD in Series C Funding in August 2017, bringing their total funding to 48 million USD.
Vyze’s services is built on Python and Django among other technologies such as Angular, Jenkins and Docker. You can see their full tech stack here.
Having felt the pain of accepting online payments, Stripe’s Irish founders, Patrick and John Collison, set out from their rural home in Ireland to create a software platform that allows merchants to accept payments through their websites. The software allows businesses to plug into websites and apps to connect with credit card and banking systems in real time, allowing them to receive payments.
The product is currently used by other Silicon Valley successes such as Lyft, Facebook, and DoorDash, to name a few.
The Irish-founded unicorn currently handles billions of dollars a year in 25 countries.
Ruby, Scala, and of course Python, according to Siftery and job postings.
I was fortunate enough to have met the founder, Ben Milne, at MoneyConf in 2016. His startup, Dwolla, both competes and works with banks throughout the US, using software to provide payments and money transfers (i.e. ACH transactions) with reduced fees.
Clients of Dwolla use branded or white-label APIs to verify bank accounts instantly, transfer payments, and keep balances; or route funds directly to bank accounts and routing numbers.
Earlier this year, Dwolla secured a $12 million round of funding that will help the tech company nearly double its workforce.
Venmo, a fintech startup turned social media network, offers an easy way for people (mainly millennials) to pay each other or split bills. Users have to link a credit card, debit card, or checking account to send or receive payments—similar to PayPal.
Acquired from Braintree by PayPal for $800 million in 2013, Venmo processed $8 billion in payments in Q2 2017.
Backend engineers at Venmo need to have “experience working on backend systems at scale, using technologies such as MySQL, MongoDB, Python, etc.” A quick glance at Siftery confirms this and also throws Django into the mix.
An up-and-coming fintech, Bond Street is transforming how small businesses gain access to lending through technology, data, and design. The company recently renewed its loan purchase agreement with global banking investment firm, Jefferies, allowing for up to $300 million of loan purchases.
This will allow Bond Street to expand its loan range sizes from between $50,000 and $500,000 to between $10,000 and $1 million.
Data scientists applying to Bond Street are expected to work in a collaborative environment using R and Python. Siftery takes us a step further, showing that Django is part of this startup’s tech stack.
Kabbage, an Atlanta-based startup operating throughout North America and Europe, provides loans online to small businesses. Founded in 2009, Kabbage sells its technology to large banks that in turn lower lending costs and offer credit to small business owners. Kabbage has some 115,000 customers and has provided $3.5 billion in loans as of Q2 2017.
In August 2017, Kabbage announced that it had raised $250 million in equity funding from the Japanese technology conglomerate, SoftBank Group.
Machine learning engineers at Kabbage are expected to “possess strong software engineering and programming skills in multiple languages.” The company’s recruiters go on to single out one language in particular (no prizes for guessing): Python. Siftery lists Python along with the Django framework for this fintech.
Qonto launched its business banking application in July 2017, setting out to accomplish for businesses what N26 has done for individuals. For €9 a month, business owners receive a Mastercard, a French current account with IBAN to receive payments and the ability to manage transfers and debits.
As of December 2017, the service had registered more than 5000 businesses in France. Going forward, the service plans to integrate with many other fintech solutions such as Stripe, PayPal, iZettle and Kantox. Additionally, the company is planning a regional expansion to other EU countries in early 2019. Stay tuned!
For more information, check out a great interview with the co-founder and CEO—Alexandre Prot.
Data Team Engineering applicants at Qonto are greeted by the following description:
“As part of the data team, you join a squad of experimented people working on both making our features smarter and putting in place a robust and scalable fraud management system. Our main stack is Python (and we are pretty open to anything powerful). Our team is super dedicated and result oriented (it likes to put stuff in production as often as possible).”
Holvi (translation to English as “vault”) is a Finland-based fintech startup that was recently acquired by Spanish banking group BBVA. Founded in 2011, Holvi provides SME business owners with a wealth of services in addition to its traditional banking platform. Services for SMEs include: an online sales platform, cashflow tracker and invoicing.
Although Holvi was acquired by BBVA, the business continues to be run as a standalone service with the two entities sharing ideas, knowledge and support. Holvi is an Authorised Payment Institution licensed and regulated by the Financial Supervisory Authority of Finland (FIN-FSA).
Holvi prides itself on being a modern technology company. According to Holvi, their code “runs on Python and our developers get to influence everything we develop. As simple as that, no legacy systems to maintain.”
Holvi developers are experienced in Python/Django, PostgreSQL, Git, unit testing, and Debian GNU/Linux
Thanks for taking the time to read through the list.
Is there another key fintech that you think should be included? Mention it in the comments! We’ll verify and add it here or include it in our next list.
If that’s still not enough for you, check out my article 8 Insurtech Companies with Python in Their Tech Stack—and why it’s a fit.
To learn more about the advantages of Python for fintech companies, make sure to read my previous article: Why Python Should Be the Technology Choice for Your Fintech.
If you’re interested in industry verticals other than fintech, take a look at our client portfolio. You’ll see companies in retail, pharmaceuticals, transportation, even AI—all using Python as the backbone of their software.
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