25 Los Angeles Fintech Startups You Should Know

These companies make the city a hotbed for innovative financial technology.

Written by Emerson Dameron
Published on Jun. 11, 2024
25 Los Angeles Fintech Startups You Should Know
​ Image: Shutterstock ​

Thousands of miles removed from the world’s great financial centers, Los Angeles has nurtured a community of developers and entrepreneurs experimenting with new notions at the intersection of finance and tech.

LA’s enthusiastic and growing fintech circuit has produced some remarkable new ideas and successful startups in payments, lending, crowdfunding, cryptocurrency and more. Here are a few mainstays, big players and up-and-comers you should know going in.

Top Fintech Companies in LA

  • Tala
  • FloQast
  • Albert
  • Swell Investing
  • Smarkets
  • Earny
  • Acorns
  • StockShield
  • PennyMac

 

Core Digital Media operates brands that provide consumers with financial education content, as well as tools to help them save on their mortgage and other recurring expenses. For example, its Quicken Loans website offers a guide for comparing mortgage options and a calculator for estimating potential payments.

 

Scratch Financial provides thousands of medical practices with lending and payment processing solutions that help them streamline administrative operations and save on fees. Patients can apply for a payment plan using a desktop computer or mobile device and choose an option that meets their budgetary needs and doesn’t include prepayment penalties.

 

Cash App offers a financial services platform that individuals can use to send and receive funds. Because it allows users to anonymize themselves with handles known as “$Cashtags,” it is popular with users who don’t want their names or banking information discernible to the people they’re exchanging funds with. Bitcoin transactions under the Lightning Network layer 2 payment protocol offer even greater anonymity and security.  

 

BlackLine fulfills clients’ accounting needs with a comprehensive platform. This technology automates various accounting tasks, including close activity and reconciliations. Instead of pouring over physical balance sheets, organizations can leverage BlackLine’s solutions to organize accounts and prepare reports effortlessly. 

 

City National Bank offers personalized financial solutions to individuals, families, and businesses. City National offers its customers access to Relationship Managers to determine the best products for them. From checking accounts to loans, City National Bank provides a range of services for clients to choose from. 

 

Buying or refinancing a home is a major life decision, so PennyMac ensures people find the best rates available. The company offers a range of mortgage and refinance options to help customers secure their ideal home. 

 

FloQast was built by accountants, for accountants to enhance the way accounting teams work. FloQast enables customers to streamline and manage the Financial Close, Finance and Accounting Operations, and Compliance Programs. The platform helps teams manage every aspect of the month-end Close, reduce their compliance burden, stay audit-ready, and improve accuracy, visibility, and collaboration throughout the financial function.

 

Born out of the belief that today’s credit system is unfair, Zest Finance has created a platform to help companies make better credit decisions and enhance transparency. Zest’s platform, ZAML, approves potential borrowers overlooked by other systems while providing expert underwriting services to companies worldwide.

 

Founded at Cornell University but now headquartered in Los Angeles, ProducePay provides payment solutions in the world of produce, applying fintech innovation to farming fresh food. California has a massive agricultural economy, and its farmers must cover many of their expenses out of pocket as they wait to get paid for their goods. ProducePay illustrates how tech-savvy payment platforms can help those in one of civilization's oldest sectors.

 

Albert is a free digital financial advisor that collects a user's financial records, provides easy-to-follow suggestions and helps users take action without leaving the app. In a crowded market for personal finance applications, Albert is quickly building a reputation for usability and practicality. In less than a year, it has raised a seed round, exhibited at the 500 Startups Demo Day and built a significant profile in the fintech world.

 

Spring Labs builds blockchain-secured fintech ecosystems to exchange credit and identity information. Spring Labs uses blockchain’s power of transparency and real-time data ledger technology to enable information sharing between financial institutions. The smooth sharing of information helps financial institutions reduce costs and approve credit transactions quicker.

 

Smarkets is a leading betting exchange platform for events like sports and politics. With offices in London, Los Angeles and Malta, the Smarkets team takes pride in supporting honest trading practices. Smarkets is reimagining one of the oldest industries and pastimes through their secure proprietary platform.  

 

Tala creates products to help those in emerging markets build credit, save money and access loans. Any person with a smartphone can access the Tala app and, with the use of over 10,000 data points, Tala builds a new kind of credit score even if the user has no formal banking history.

 

Swell Investing is a platform that allows users to invest in companies and portfolios that are addressing global challenges. Swell offers portfolios of environmentally-friendly companies that focus on everything from renewable energy to zero waste. The Santa Monica company helps users invest in their future, as well as, the earth’s.

 

InvestCloud provides financial digital solutions, which are pre-integrated in the cloud. The company boasts a library of over 300 financial apps, all of which are housed in a digital warehouse that ensures the passage of secure, accurate information at any time.

 

Earny is a digital haggler — it checks receipts for all of a user's online transactions and requests refunds if a better deal was available. After it's set up, it requires no further user action, making it perfect for bashful negotiators and those too busy to comparison-shop.

 

BLX Group provides compliance consulting, investment and financial advisory services. The company specifically advises governments and nonprofit entities, with additional offices in Dallas, Denver, Tampa and Boston. BLX Group helps to offer both investment and regulatory advice to help the public and nonprofit sectors invest their time and money wisely.

 

Acorns is a smartphone app that quietly scrapes spare change from purchases into a personal investment portfolio. It’s a near-effortless way to sock away some cash for the future. Acorns is one of a growing number of innovative, LA-based personal finance companies making global names for themselves. 

 

Unlike Acorns, which deals with small investing, StockShield works with bigger figures. The company's Equity Protection Trust helps insulate larger investors from risk and odious Black Swans. For those still shaken by the global financial wipeout of the late-2000s, StockShield’s rewarding but risk-averse approach is likely to influence retirement planning for decades to come.

 

Green Dot Corp. operates one of the most well-established networks around for prepaid financial services and reloads. It has spent almost two decades building strong relationships with big-name retailers like Walgreens, CVS, Walmart and 7-Eleven. Green Dot Corp. has been one of LA’s fintech heavyweights for many years, and continues to expand its network and its mission of consumer empowerment.

 

Providing “fashion for your finances,” CARD.com offers decorated payment cards in a variety of styles, from high art to pop culture.  CARD.com's prepaid plastic can make an eye-catching impression at the register. Along with Dali and Kahlo classics, as well as tributes to beloved franchises such as Star Trek and The X Files, it also gets unique designs from its user base. 

 

FlashFunders is a powerful online equity funding platform designed for startups by a startup. Companies can raise money for free, while small investors can buy in at as little as $1K. FlashFunders functions as a fundraising platform, broker-dealer and securities law firm, all in one place. It is perfectly poised to help small businesses capitalize on increasingly democratized investment.

 

Divy is a community-minded app, helping users educate themselves about the inner workings of the stock market. Its interns lobbied the company to grant early access to campus financial clubs at UCLA and UCSB, providing it a savvy and eager base of beta testers early on. With new iPhone updates emerging weekly and an Android version on the way, it is ready to make a splash with users just starting to plan their financial futures.

 

Developed by LA-based entrepreneur Joe Bayen, who felt that college students weren’t taught enough about proper credit protocols, Lenny gamifies credit cards, teaching good habits while helping millennials build their credit scores. For some time, students found themselves graduating college with no credit history. By using Lenny, they can start building their credit history while learning correct financial decisions in the process.

 

Founded in 2009 in the depths of a recession, Happy Money uses gamification and behavioral psychology to help its users pay off their credit card debt and put their financial house in order. Revolving credit card debt is a billion-dollar problem in the U.S., and shady debt-consolidation services often pour gasoline on the fire. By contrast, Happy Money is geared toward long-term financial self-improvement, giving debt-racked users guidance and encouragement when they most need it.

Margo Steines contributed to reporting for this story. This article was originally published in 2016.

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