11 Fintechs Make the 2021 CNBC Disruptor 50 List

June 30, 2021
Sarah Gormley

With fintech changing the way that every-day life works, it is no surprise that there are 11 fintech companies on the 2021 CNBC Disruptor 50 companies listThese companies have demonstrated immense growth and technological change following the pandemic. 


Robinhood (#1)

This financial app was founded in 2013 by CEO Vlad Tenev and partner Baiju Bhatt. Now headquartered in California, it specializes in democratizing investing for those in the Gamestop market. 

Robinhood is one of the companies that benefited from the pandemic through it drawing in new retail investors. During the Gamestop controversy earlier in the year, the company temporarily halted trade on Gamestop stocks creating an uproar from its users. Ever since, Robinhood has taken steps to repair its reputation in the investing world through commission-free trading and is now valued at $11.7 billion.

Despite the criticism for its gamification of the market — encouraging bad trading behavior — the company has filed for an initial public offering (IPO), possibly setting the company up for its biggest year yet. 


Stripe (#2)

With its debut in 2010, this Irish company is one of the largest private companies to make an appearance on Wall Street. The company is a developer-focused instant-setup payment platform for companies and is currently used by millions including Amazon, Under Armour, Spotify, and more. 

Swipe makes money through a ‘swipe fee’ of 2.9% in addition to a 30 cent fee for each translation processed. With the pandemic increasing the amount of online shopping, Stripe increased its profit immensely. 

Looking into the future, Stripe plans to expand into the Middle East by opening offices in Dubai and the UAE. In addition, they will be investing in more infrastructure to improve e-commerce. Chief financial officer Dhivya Suryadevara comments that “The pandemic taught us many things about society, including how much can be achieved — and paid for — online, but the internet still isn’t the engine for global economic progress that it could be.” 


Brex (#6)

Having launched only 4 years ago, Brex is on the top 50 list for its first time with a valuation of $7.4 billion. Brex works with startup companies, providing them lending services. 

Working with startups can be a very risky business due to their ability to fail within the first few years meaning they may not be able to repay their loans — Brex is very aware of this. In November, Co-founder Henrique Dubugras told CNBC: “We assume that 70% of our businesses are going to go out of business every couple of years because we serve start-ups and most start-ups fail. I think that’s known and that’s okay. All of our credit models and all of our processes are assuming a big amount of churn due to business failure.”

Now offering software platforms for businesses to manage their credit and finances, Brex applied for a bank charter in February 2021 leaving the door open for immense growth this year. 


Marqeta (#7)

Being a major player in contactless transitions, Marqeta has risen during the pandemic. The company gives businesses the ability to offer credit cards or wallets as well as e-commerce companies the ability to offer a card. Marqeta sells payment technology designed to detect fraud and keep money safe. The company creates customized physical cards for contractors to make point-of-sales at retail locations such as supermarkets. 

In June 2020, Marqeta announced its partnership with JPMorgan to launch virtual credit cards, removing the need for corporate cards by incorporating the use of a virtual wallet. This month, they filed for an initial public offering (IPO) with shares of $27 that were available for trading soon after. 


Chime (#8)

Targeting younger, lower-earning consumers, Chime offers just what they need: fee-free banking, user ability to go negative in their accounts with no overdraft fee, and the option for early paydays for checks that are directly deposited. 

Chime is known for positioning itself as a consumer software company rather than a bank. CEO Chris Britt comments that Chime is “more a transaction-based, processing-based business model that is highly predictable, highly recurring and highly profitable.”

Chime holds its seat as the largest US-based neobank with a valuation of $14.5 billion and millions of customers. With plans for an IPO in the following months as well as a new commercial office lease in San Francisco, the future looks very strong for the company. 


Checkout.com (#13)

Launching in 2012, the London-based company offers payments services to online businesses, competing in the world of e-commerce. The company turned heads in 2019 when it raised $230 million in a financing round followed by another $450 million two years later. The company currently has a valuation of over $15 billion, making it the second-largest fintech start-up in Europe (by market value). It is also notable to say that CEO Guillarme Pousaz became one of Europe’s biggest fintech billionaires within the last two years following these financing rounds. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, Checkout.com saw a 250% increase in transactions. The company also acquired PinPayments, an Australian payments startup, for $230 million. Plans to expand continue as they look to listing in the US and investing in new products. 


TALA (#20)

Focused on serving the underserved population who have no formal credit history, the California-based company TALA provides access to loans up to $500 to people in Mexico, Kenya, India, and the Philippines. The company uses advanced data science of its own to create a credit profile. With the ability to approve a loan within minutes and give out the money via digital payment platforms, TALA has lent to over 4 million customers, helping them reach their current valuation of $516 million. 


Bestow (#35)

Life insurance is one thing that many people sought after following the start of the pandemic. The Dallas-based company makes buying life insurance much easier by allowing customers to sign up digitally and receive a quote in minutes. They emphasize the lack of need for a physical doctor visit, phone screening, or other steps that typically keep customers from going through the process of getting life insurance. Bestow became fully digitized in 2020, raising a total of $145 million across many funding rounds. 


Ripple (#38)

This major fintech company is known for its use of the cryptocurrency XRP. The platform uses blockchain to complete cross-border payments at more than 200 banks and financial institutions globally. The on-demand liquidity service system allows the processing of these payments to be much faster than normal. 

The company took a hit in 2020 when co-founders Christain Larsen And CEO Brad Garlinghouse were charged by the US Securities and Exchange Commission for conducting an illegal securities offering that raised over $1.3 billion through sales of XRP. While Ripple denies these allegations, it will be interesting to see how its users respond and if they will be able to keep their valuation around $10 billion or if it will drop. 


Plaid (#39)

Plaid is a fintech platform that uses APIs to link bank accounts to fintech apps such as Venmo, Robinhood, SoFi, Coinbase, and many more. In the last few years, Plaid has attracted many investors including Goldman Sachs, Google, and Visa. The company considered allowing Visa to acquire them for $5.3 billion, doubling its previous valuation, but the Department of Justice blocked the deal in an attempt to prevent a monopoly from forming. Following this, Plaid raised $425 million in a funding round putting the company at a valuation of $13.4 million in April. 


Nubank (#40)

Valued at $25 billion, Nubank is the world’s largest challenger bank to date. The company is based out of Brazil and has around 34 million customers across the continent. 

Back in 2013 when the company first debuted, the Brazilian financial ecosystem was a mess and a third of the population was unbanked. The purple no-fee credit card is what got the ball rolling. The pandemic has continued to spur people’s desire to switch to online banking throughout Latin America. Through its partnerships with Paypal and Amazon, its increased distribution of government aid, and its newly launched fully digital life insurance last year, Nubank continues to be on the rise today. 



Team, The Financial Brand’s Editorial. “The Top 11 Fintech Disruptors of 2021.” The Financial Brand – Banking Trends, Analysis & Insights, 24 June 2021, thefinancialbrand.com/116705/the-top-11-fintech-disruptors-of-2021/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=fintechweeklycom.

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