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Three startups you should watch

Den Howlett Profile picture for user gonzodaddy September 26, 2013
Startups continue to bring disruption to major markets. This selection focuses on mobile money and, in one case, re-inventing the insurance broking industry.

This week, TechStars London showcased ten finalists in this popular contest.  As I scanned through the list, three stood out for those looking at ways to better manage their business or transition to the digital enterprise. From Techcrunch's reporting:

moni logo
Person-to-person mobile money transfer platform, aimed at simplifying the international remittance market. Moni is taking on the likes of Western Union, PayPal, banks and others who are already offering people the ability to send remittances to family in other countries in a market that is worth billions of dollars. The claim is that they are able to do it in an easier, more cost-effective and more ubiquitous way than any of the existing, big players, with a four-step process that lands money to the recipient’s bank account within 24 hours of it being sent...They have a prototype and regulatory approval in place already.

PayMins A platform enabling online businesses to easily add the ability to accept mobile operator billing payments in a single click, with the idea that the easier experience will increase mobile customer conversion rates. “The only way you could get lower friction is by buying the thing just thinking about it,” said co-founder Patrick Walsh. The value proposition of PayMins lies in its ease of implementation for developers; “a single line of code” is required to get it up and running. As for why it has an advantage in an admittedly crowded space, the company has successfully lobbied government in the UK to change regulations around accepting payments to make sure its model is applicable, for one.


A cloud-platform taking the insurance trading market online, including document management, risk analytics and regulatory reporting. QuanTemplate says that the market they’re address is worth $4.7 trillion, and has been left behind compared to other financial trading industries. Brokers still physically queue to meet underwriters, for instance, and deal with reams of actual paper they lug around.

Robin Wauters, a veteran of the start up scene and now with the Wall Street Journal was impressed with the quality of entrant.


The tech media is full of stories about how the world is going mobile. Right now, the stand out mobile solutions are mostly aimed at the consumer market with explosive growth among emerging nations in Africa as noted by Simon Griffiths. Earlier in the year, I saw at first hand how mobile banking is taking hold in South Africa. Moni is clearly taking advantage of that mega trend but there are clear implications for business going forward. It will be interesting to see how (and if) Moni develops more business focused solutions.

PayMins is a little more intriguing. It is aimed more at the developer community but from what I can see, its three simple step process is something that could help fixed location businesses easily expand their market reach. As an aside, it is perhaps a sign of the times that the cost of getting to market with this kind of sophisticated solution is plummeting. A few years ago, PayMins would have needed many millions to get up and running.

Of the three, QuanTemplate is the most interesting. It is a clear example how long standing practices and processes inside a vertical market can be disrupted through the inventive use of technology. It follows a trend that has seen the accounting profession the most visible example of  a market that is being disrupted and which is impacting incumbent technology vendors along the way.

Image credit: Robin Wauters

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