The Mount Rushmore of Fintech: The Most Influential Names in Financial Innovation

The Mount Rushmore of Fintech: The Most Influential Names in Financial Innovation

It has not been said enough: the entry of tech companies into the financial services industry is one of the best things that has happened to the world in the 21st century. If fintech companies did not come along, traditional banks and credit unions would have continued ignoring the unbanked and the poor.

Not all fintech leaders are inventors. Most of them, as shown in Fortunly’s insightful infographic, just took advantage of the existing technologies that many major financial institutions were wasting.

The fintech boom may have peaked in 2018 when upstart tech firms in this space raised a historic amount of capital investment, but the revolution began long before that. 

If we are to name the unofficial Mount Rushmore of fintech superstars, the following personalities deserve the most consideration:

Ant Financial’s Jack Ma

Chinese business magnate Jack Ma founded Alipay in 2004; which was rebranded as Ant Financial, and became the world’s most valuable fintech company, in 2014.\

Since the transition into Ant Financial, the company has evolved from being a mobile and online payment solutions provider into an all-encompassing fintech behemoth. Ant created ecosystems for insurance, credit scoring, lending, asset management, and retirement planning.

With hundreds of millions of customers across the globe, Ant’s most recent valuation states that it is worth $150 billion, making it more than 50% bigger than Goldman Sachs. No wonder it is one of the most anticipated IPOs in the industry.

Qudian’s Min Luo

Min Luo is the founder and CEO of Qudian. This company sent jaws to the floor after raising nearly $900 million in an IPO, giving it the distinction of having the largest US listing by a China-based fintech.

Mr. Luo started the company in order to extend credit to students in 2014, but its primary business is now providing cash and consumer installment loans for borrowers shut out of the mainstream banking system. Arguably the most recognizable brand in the peer-to-peer lending sector, Qudian impressed US investors with its dramatic growth and strong profitability.

Stripe’s Collison Brothers

Stripe is an online payment processing company for online merchants at heart. It was co-founded by Irish-born brothers Patrick and John Collison (who dropped out of MIT and Harvard, respectively) in 2011.

Presently valued at $22.5 billion, the biggest VC-backed US fintech handles billions of dollars in transactions, growing its customer base from small eCommerce sites to tech and retail titans Microsoft and Amazon.

Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto

The real identity of Satoshi Nakamoto remains obscure, but the impact of this person (or group of people) on the financial services industry is not a mystery. Nakamoto was the brain of Bitcoin, essentially introducing cryptocurrency and blockchain to the world.

Despite the fame and fortune, Nakamoto is still the greatest enigma in fintech, almost 10 years after creating Bitcoin in a secret lair.

The fintech boom is not over yet. More disruptors could bring a new wave of financial innovation. If and when that happens, we may have to re-carve our imaginary sculpture to honor the future game-changers should they outdo their predecessors.

Infographic URL:

How Startups Disrupt the Finance Ecosystem - Infographic