SMB Fintech Stack (Source: Canapi)

The first pure-play online bank Security First Network Bank (SFNB) launched in 1995, just a year after Amazon.com. But unlike ecommerce, digital-only banking was slow to catch on. The legacy players held onto their market share by providing digital services that were “good enough” to retain customers loath to switch banks.

But that began changing 3 or 4 years ago, first in the UK, then elsewhere as well-financed digital players started making inroads with consumers, first Monzo, then Revolut, Starling, Nubank, Chime, just to name a few. But we still haven't seen a breakout small business bank. The digital small biz lenders are grabbing share, Kabbage, Square, Paypal, Amazon, Brex, etc. But there is not yet a place where small businesses flock to get deposit, payment, and financing needs met in a single interface.

So who are the best business banks? Let's start with a definition. I don't believe they need to be regulated as a bank as long as they facilitate the big three products under one UI:

  • deposits (e.g., cash-holding account)
  • debit or charge cards
  • credit lines

Under that definition, PayPal is a business bank and so are Square and Amazon. But Kabbage, which only offers a credit line, is not.

Finally, the company must be predominantly focused on small-business financial services (eliminates Paypal, Amazon, Square), delivered primarily digitally (rules out Wells Fargo, BofA, and the majority of traditional banks) and founded since 1999. We are also including divisions of traditional FIs if they operate under a separate autonomous brand, such as BBVA's Azlo (which closed this month).

Note: Post updated 14 April, 2o22 with the addition of two new challengers, Winden and Nophin. For the latest table, check our Challenger Bank table

Challenger of the Month

HQ: NYC  |  Founded: 2016  |  Raised $136M (including $131M in 2021)  |  Website visits: 960,000 (Feb '22)  | App downloads: 53,000 (last 30 days) | Employees: 126  |  Article citations: 75  |  Linkedin: 10,300 followers | Trustpilot: 3.8 (1,080 reviews) | iOS app: 4.8 (9,600 reviews)

 

NEW: Looking for digital banks, lenders, payment providers, insurance or digital accounting for small businesses? Check out our latest lists: SMB online lenders (33) | SMB challenger banks (12) | SMB insurers (15) | SMB charge cards/expense management (16) | Billpay & invoicing (16)| Payment processors (7) | Subscription processors (7) | SMB digital accounting/bookkeeping (21)

The FAB Score Ranking (Fintech Attention Barometer) is a proxy for the size of a private fintech company.



Leading USA digital small business banks
ranked by our FAB score (Fintech Attention Barometer*)

Rank Company FAB
Score*
Review Date Founded HQ Funding ($M)*** Visits
(Feb '22)
1 Mercury 307 9-Apr-2022 2017 SF $152 1,200,000
2 NOVO 264 9-Apr-2022 2016 NYC $136 960,000
3 Found 237 9-Apr-2022 2019 SF $75 980,000
4 Oxygen 203 9-Apr-2022 2018 SF $25 980,000
5 Rho 110 2-Feb-2022 2018 NYC $205 30,300
6 Lili 57 9-Apr-2022 2018 NYC $80 115,000
7 NorthOne 46 9-Apr-2022 2016 NYC $23 210,000
8 Nearside (Hatch) 39 9-Apr-2022 2018 SF $77 22,000
9 Relay FI 33 9-Apr-2022 2018 Toronto $19 110,000
10 Winden** 28 14-Apr-2022 2021 LA $5 110,000
11 Grasshopper 21 9-Apr-2022 2016 NYC $131 5,700
12 ZilBank 11 9-Apr-2022 2021 Dallas $0 27,000
13 Baselane 10 9-Apr-2022 2020 NYC $8 4,900

 

Unlaunched
Zifi (Zions Bank) 11 9-Apr-2022 2022 SLC, UT NA 18,200
Nophin** 8 13-Apr-2022 2021 NYC $3 5,000
Vergo 7 9-Apr-2022 2021 NYC $0 3,100
Guava 3 9-Apr-2022 2018 NYC $0 1,900

Source: FintechLabs, Pitchbook, Crunchbase, Craft, SimilarWeb, SEMrush; 14 Apr 2022

* The FAB score, Fintech Attention Barometer, is a proxy for the overall size of a private company since they typically do not release traditional metrics (# customers, deposits, AUM, etc). The score is based on VC funding, website traffic, mobile downloads, and the number of employees. It's a work in progress, so expect changes in the formula.
**Added April 14, 2022
***Funding is the amount invested into the company as either equity or debt.
****Our business model depends on revenue from referrals. So anytime you see a referral link in the URL, we potentially earn a fee upon establishing a new funded account (thanks!).


Challenger SMB Banks Currently Active in the United States


1. Mercury Technologies
FAB Score = 307
– HQ: San Francisco Bay Area
– Founded: 2017
– Raised $152M (Crunchbase) including $120M in 2021
– Website visits: 1.2 million (Feb 2022; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 149 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 13 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 10,300 followers (268 employees)
Twitter: 15,200 followers
Trustpilot: 4.0 (349 reviews)


2. Novo
FAB Score: 264
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2016
– Raised $136M including $131M in 2021 (Crunchbase)
– App downloads (last 30 days): 53,000 (Apptopia)
– Website visits: 960,000 (Feb 2022; SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 126 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 75 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 10,300 followers (191 employees)
Twitter: 2,200 followers
– Industry awards: 4 (Novo)
– Integrations: Wise, Xero, Slack
TrustPilot: 3.8 (1,080 reviews)
iOS app: 4.8 (9,400 reviews)

 


3. Found 
FAB Score = 237
– HQ: San Francisco Bay Area
– Founded: 2019
– BaaS partner: LendingClubBank
– Raised $75.2M ($60M in Feb 2022; $12.75M in 2021) (Crunchbase)
– Website visits (Feb 2022): 980,000 (SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 40 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 0 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 1,600 followers (47 employees)
Twitter: 663 followers
Trustpilot: 3.4 (3 reviews)
iOS: 4.8 (2,900 reviews)


4. Oxygen
FAB Score = 203

– HQ: San Francisco Bay Area
– Founded: 2018
– Raised $24M prior to 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits (Feb 2022): 980,000 (SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 81 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 20 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 4,500 followers (85 employees)
Twitter: 1,700 followers
Trustpilot: 2.7 (100 reviews)
iOS app: 4.8 (19,100 reviews)


Image

5. Rho
FAB Score = 110
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2018
– Raised $205M including $200M in 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits (Feb 2022): 30,000 (SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 80 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 20 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 3,100 followers (124 employees)
Twitter: 844 followers
– Trustpilot: No reviews


6. Lili
FAB Score = 57
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2018
– Raised $80M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits (Feb 2022): 115,000 (SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 80 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 15 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 7,500 followers (86 employees)
Tiktok: 240,000 followers; 600,000 likes
Trustpilot: 4.0 (181 reviews)


7. NorthOne
FAB Score: 46
– HQ: NYC/Toronto
– Founded: 2016
– Raised $23.3M prior to 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits (Feb 2022): 210,000 (SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 98 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 18 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 6,900 followers (104 employees)
Twitter: 2,530 followers
TrustPilot: 3.7 (114 reviews)
iOS app: 4.7 (1,900 reviews)


8. Nearside (formerly Hatch)
FAB Score = 39
– HQ: SF
– Founded: 2018
– Raised $77M including $58M in 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits (Feb 2022): 22,000 (SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 70 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 4 (Crunchbase)
Twitter: 759 followers
Linkedin: 1,200 followers (93 employees)
– TrustPilot: no reviews
iOS: 4.3 (86 reviews)

9. Relay FI
FAB Score: 33
– HQ: Toronto
– Founded: 2018
– Partner bank: Evolve
– Raised $19M including $15M in 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits (Feb 2022): 230,000 (SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 56 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 3 (Google News)
Linkedin: 2,100 followers (61 employees)
Twitter: 840 followers
TrustPilot: 4.4 (313 reviews)
iOS: 4.1 (60 reviews)


10. Grasshopper Bank
FAB Score = 21

– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2016
– Raised $131M prior to 2020 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits (Feb 2022): 5,700 (SEMrush)
Employees: 60 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 10 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 11,500 followers (83 employees)
Twitter: 817 followers
– Trustpilot: No reviews

11. Zilbank
FAB Score = 11
– HQ: Dallas, TX
– Founded: 2021
– Raised: INA
– Website visits (Mar 2022): 27,000 (SEMrush)

12. Baselane (Netspend)
FAB Score: 10
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2020
– Raised: $8M in 2021 (AmericanBanker)


Unlaunched

Zifi (Zions Bank)
– HQ: Salt Lake City, UT
– Founded: 2022
– Raised: NA (unit of Zions Bank)
– Website visits: 18,200 (Mar 2022; SEMrush)
Linkedin: 9 followers (4 employees)

Vergo
– HQ: NYC
– Founded: 2021
– Raised $100,000 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits (Mar 2022): 3,100 (SEMrush)
Employees: 20 (Linkedin)
– Citations: 1 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 208 followers (20 employees)
– Trustpilot: NA

Guava
– HQ: NYC
– Founded 2018
– Raised: Unknown (Crunchbase)
– Website visits (Mar 2022): 1,900 (SEMrush)
– Employees: 2 (Pitchbook)
Linkedin: 505 followers (3 employees)

 


Challengers Closed to New Accounts


Solid (was Wise) >> pivoted to Fintech as a Service in 2021
FAB Score: 386
– HQ: SF
– Founded: 2018
– Raised $18M prior to 2021 (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: 1.9 million (Mar 2022; SEMrush)
– Employees: 126 (Pitchbook)
– Articles: 4 (Crunchbase)
Linkedin: 2,020 followers (56 employees)

 


14. Joust (acquired by ZenBusiness, 30 July 2020; currently referring customers to Radius Bank)
– Target: Freelancers
– HQ: Austin, TX
– Founded: 2017
– Raised: $11M (Crunchbase)
– Website visits: Unknown
– Employees: 18 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 5 (Crunchbase)
– Twitter followers: 448
– Trustpilot: NA
– iOS: 4.1 (28 reviews)


15. Seed (Acquired by Cross River Bank currently closed to new customers)
– HQ: San Francisco Bay Area
– Founded: 2014
– Raised $5.2M (2015) (Crunchbase)
– App downloads (last 30 days): 425 (Apptopia)
– Website visits: 210 (May 2021; SEMrush)
– Number of employees: 12 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 4 (Crunchbase)
– Twitter: 810 followers


Addendum: Other SMB/SME challenger banks around the world (not a definitive list):

UK

Germany

Australia

France

Rest of world