Disclaimer: the Cambridge Fintech Ecosystem Atlas does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal information. The Ecosystem Atlas is a public data repository based on pooled data, collected, and validated to the best of the research team’s ability, through methods detailed herein. The University of Cambridge, Judge Business School, the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, its affiliates, and any of the participating analysts do not accept any responsibility or liability regarding the aggregated information presented. The data provided on this website is for informative purposes only; we do recommend all information to be individually verified for the nature of its use.
The Cambridge Fintech Ecosystem Atlas is an online interactive resource that allows users to interact with a visual representation of the fintech industry and its evolution.
The objective of the Cambridge Fintech Ecosystem Atlas is to offer industry actors, regulators, researchers, and the public access to longitudinal and historical data related to the industry. The Atlas aims to become a collaborative platform whereby users and industry participants can actively review, update, and share data.
The Atlas has been developed to systematically identify, classify and visualize fintech entities. Although definitions of fintech differ, the working definition of fintech applied in the Cambridge Fintech Ecosystem Atlas refers to entities that use digital technology to provide or to enable the provision of financial services. Where these technologies have been applied by entities and have enabled new or evolved business models, instruments, products, channels or systems they have been included in the Atlas.
Incumbent financial services firms have been excluded, even if they use new technologies or software to provide (or facilitate the provision of) financial services. All the fintech entities included in the Atlas must have been in operation for at least one year and must show a concrete digital presence. Fintech that are not operational (inactive) are also included in the Atlas.
The first version of the public repository is based on a dataset of over 2,000 entities employing both manual and automatic data extraction processes and techniques.
The CCAF has developed a comprehensive classification system to classify, in a consistent manner, organisations by business models. The first iteration of the Cambridge Fintech Ecosystem Atlas covers 14 market segments, subdivided into 63 subsegments, and 118 categories. The structure of the classification system is hierarchical and built on an activity-oriented conceptual framework that groups entities based on services offered directly to clients/users.
Table 1: Overview of CCAF fintech classification system
Level 1 (subsegment)
Level 2 (category)
Balance Sheet Lending
Balance Sheet Business Lending
The platform entity provides an unsecured or secured loan directly to the business borrower
Balance Sheet Property Lending
The platform entity provides a loan, secured against a property, directly to a consumer or business borrower
Balance Sheet Consumer Lending
The platform entity provides an unsecured or secured loan directly to a consumer borrower
P2P / Marketplace Lending
P2P / Marketplace Business Lending
Individuals and/or institutional funders provide a loan to a business borrower
P2P / Marketplace Property Lending
Individuals and/or institutional funders provide a loan, secured against a property, to a consumer or business borrower
P2P / Marketplace Consumer Lending
Individuals and/or institutional funders provide a loan to a consumer borrower
Individuals and/or institutional funders purchase debt-based securities, typically a bond or debenture, at a fixed interest rate
Individuals or institutions purchase securities from companies in the form of an unsecured bond which is ‘mini’ because the issue size is much smaller than the minimum issue amount needed for a bond issued in institutional capital markets.
Individuals and/or institutional funders purchase invoices or receivables from a business at a discount
Interests and/or other profits are re-invested (forgoing the interest by donating) or provides microcredit at lower rates.
A buy now/pay later payment facilitator or Store Credit solution, typically interest bearing
A merchant cash advance provided via an electronic platform, typically with a retail and/or institutional investor counterpart receiving fixed payments or future payments based on sales.
Digital Capital Raising
Individuals and/or institutional funders purchase equity issued by a company
Revenue / Profit Share Crowdfunding
Individuals and/or institutions purchase securities from a company, such as shares, and share in the profits or royalties of the business
Real Estate Crowdfunding
Individuals and/or institutional funders provide equity or subordinated debt financing for real estate
Raising money by offering a local community a chance to own shares in a community-local organisation
Capital Raising Retail Brokerage
Raising money on behalf of a client form a retail audience in exchange for a commission
Capital Raising Institutional Brokerage
Raising money on behalf of a client form a institutional audience in exchange for a commission
Non Investment-Based Crowdfunding
Donors provide funding to individuals, projects or companies based on philanthropic or civic motivations with no expectation of monetary or material
Backers provide funding to individuals, projects, or companies in exchange for non-monetary rewards or products
Token Hosting Platform
Platform (most often exchanges) offering to host a token sale selected against a set of criteria
Fully Digitally Native Bank (Retail)
Provide banking services to individual consumers exclusively through digital platforms
Marketplace Bank (Retail)
Banking provider offers products and services from a range of providers including its own to individual consumers
Fully Digitally Native Bank (MSME)
Provide banking services to businesses exclusively through digital platforms
Marketplace Bank (MSME)
Banking provider offers products and services from a range of providers including its own to businesses
An end-to-end process that allows other organisations to set up and offer digital banking services
Agent Banking (Cash-In / Cash-Out)
Performs services in some capacity on behalf of another banking entity
Digital Money Market / Fund
Allows fundraising through the selling of short-term debt which can be bought by investors
Digital Micro Saving Solutions
Small savings opportunities identified within individuals existing budget and automatically put money into a savings account to encourage positive behavioural change
Digital Savings Collective / Pool
Members pay into a common platform and contributions are pooled for issuing loans. Interest from the loans shared among the members
An end-to-end process that allows other organisations to set up and offer saving services
Digital Remittances (Cross Border-P2P)
Provide cross-border remittances services
Digital Remittances (Domestic-P2P)
Provide domestic remittances services
Money Transfer (P2P / P2B / B2P / B2B)
Provide digital means of payment to access and utilize funds stored in an account (e.g. Virtual debit/credit card, Wallet)
Issue electronic funds and provide digital means of payment to access and use those funds (e.g. Virtual prepaid card, E-Money)
Use of a mobile phone in order to transfer funds between banks or accounts, deposit or withdraw funds or pay bills
Acquiring Services Providers for Merchants
Provide means for the acceptance of digital payments by merchants
Points of Access (PoS / mPoS / Online PoS)
Provide hardware or software to capture payment transactions to transmit to a network
Bulk Payment Solutions
Provides payments to multiple beneficiaries from a single transaction
Top-ups & Refills
Provider facilitating the top-ups or refill of various products and services such as mobile phone contracts
Provides digital payment acceptance services on behalf of multiple acquirers to integrate different types of digital payments mechanisms/instruments
Collect payments on behalf of multiple merchants and accept different digital payments instruments
API Hubs for Payments
Integrate different online payment services through a unified API service
Settlement & Clearing Services Providers
Manage and operate digital platforms where different entities exchange funds on their behalf or on behalf of their customers
Money Transfer (Cryptoasset)
Provides means of payment to access, utilise, and transfer funds for various use cases (e.g. remittances, bill payments)
Provides debit card or other ways for consumers to spend their cryptoassets
Top-ups & Refill (Cryptoasset)
Provider facilitating the top-ups or refill of various products and services (e.g. mobile contract, prepaid card)
Provides services for the processing of electronic transactions
Points of Access (Cryptoasset)
Provides hardware or software to capture payment transactions to transmit to a network (PoS, mPoS, on-line PoS)
Issues tokens whose value is pegged to the value of an asset or a basket of assets
Issue token whose market value is maintained using algorithmic means
Central limit order book using a trading engine to match buy and sell spot orders from users
Decentralised Exchange (DEX) Relayer
Peer-to-peer relay exchange built on top of a public blockchain
Single Dealer Platform / OTC Trading
Provider enabling clients to engage in bilateral trades outside of formal trading venues
Platform using an algorithm to optimise trading strategies
High-Frequency Trading (HFT) Services
Provider enabling automated market-making and arbitrage strategies
Advanced Trading Services
Services allowing users to buy portfolio bundles and get access to more sophisticated trading tools (e.g. margin, derivatives)
Intermediation & Brokerage
Retail Brokerage Services
Platform allowing users to acquire and/or sell cryptoassets at fixed prices and submit orders
Institutional Brokerage Services
Service providers executing trade orders on behalf of their institutional clients
Platform aggregating prices to facilitate trade selection for consumers
Other Financial Transaction Processing
Bitcoin Teller Machines (BTM)
Machine allowing users to buy and sell cryptoassets in exchange for physical cash
P2P Cryptoasset Marketplaces
Buyer and seller matching platform often coupled with cryptocurrency escrow services
Transmitting, reconciling and, in some cases, confirming transfer orders from the time a commitment for a transaction is made until it is settled
Fully-managed custody solutions often using an omnibus model
Sophisticated custody solutions using multi-party computation (MPC), often associated with a 'walled garden' setup/closed environment
Hardware Cryptoasset Wallet
Small devices that securely store private keys without exposing them to connected machines
Unhosted Cryptoasset Wallet
Non-custodial applications that store cryptoassets on a device (e.g. mobile, desktop, tablet)
Hosted Cryptoasset Wallet
Custodial applications that store cryptoassets on a device (e.g. mobile, desktop, tablet) or that can be accessed from any connected device via a browser
Online applications that can be accessed from any connected device via a browser
Key Management Services
Providers offering technology infrastructure to self-custody their cryptoassets
Premiums or level of cover are determined by usage behaviour
Compensates policy holders automatically based on pre-defined triggers associated with losses
Insurance is extended in real-time for a specific risk event and duration
Risk-sharing network where a group of individuals pool premiums
Technical Service Provider (TSP)
Enables distribution partnerships with MNOs, virtual market places and other consumer aggregation points
Digital Brokers or Agents
Allows users to buy insurance cover, underwritten by one or multiple insurers
Compares insurers and insurance options to facilitate policy selection
Supports insurers in managing customer acquisition
Claims & Risk Management Solutions
Supports insurers in risk management and the processing digital claims
IoT (including Telematics)
Remote devices connected to insurance services
Digital Wealth Management
Online platforms to supply and provide asset management services
Platforms that provide investment advice through a social network
Asset management automated solutions based on algorithms or artificial intelligence
Enabling companies to borrow funds from a company director's personal pension, which are then paid back with interest
Robo Retirement / Pension Planning
Robo-advisors use algorithms and machine learning to offer pension advice
Personal Financial Services
Personal Financial Management / Planning
Allows the ability to understand and effectively apply various financial skills, including personal financial management, budgeting, and investing
Financial Comparison Sites
Online and mobile platforms comparing financial products
Profiling & Due Diligence
Collects and integrates data from multiple sources to build a profile of a person or entity to allow identity confirmation and categorisation according to regulation
Captures and records key biographical attributes such as location of birth for identification, BF: Monitors customer deposits and withdrawals for signs of “tainted” coins that may have been involved in criminal activity
Uses big data to assess the risk of fraud, market abuse or other misconduct at the transaction level
Facilitates and monitors regulatory changes to ensure that policies and controls adapt seamlessly to changing requirements
Reporting and Dashboards
Matches market-level outcomes to regulatory or internal rules to, for example, identify poor product performance
Alternative Credit Analytics
Connects an individual’s personality type and behaviour with a credit or insurance product
Analyzes social communication patterns with social sensing technology to drive innovative transformation services
Discovers patterns within biometric signals to ascertain potentially valuable information about a person such as emotional state or longevity.
Alternative Credit Rating Agency
Issues corporate ratings on corporate issuers not considered a financial institution or insurance undertaking
Helps lenders see the true creditworthiness of their customers by removing unconscious biases and adding much-needed nuance to credit applications.
Security & Biometrics
Captures and records key biometric attributes such as fingerprints for identification
Supports companies by verifying the identity of their clients (to comply with laws & regulations)
Fraud Prevention & Risk Management
Aims to prevent theft and misuse of personal data
Tech. for Enterprise
The process of creating and publishing web application programming interfaces (APIs) by, for example, enforcing their usage policies and analyzing usage statistics
The on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage (cloud storage) and computing power, without direct active management by the user
AI / ML / NLP
Artificial Intelligence/ Machine Learning/ Natural Language Processing
The features of blockchain technology that will solve major enterprise problems
Financial Management & Business Intelligence
Business intelligence tools that help finance professionals gain insight in internal and the external factors that affect the bottom line
The formation, representation and transmission of financial data in an electronic format
A form of electronic billing to allow collection of payment
Entities designing and building component of mining equipment (e.g. chip, GPU, ASIC)
Remote Hosting Services
Services hosting and maintaining customer-owned mining equipment
Services renting out hashpower generated by their own machines to consumers for a fixed period of time
Marketplace connecting sellers of hashpower (hashers) with buyers
Miners operating mining equipment on their own behalf
Services combining computational resources from multiple hashers and distributing rewards
Equipment Procurement & Financing
Services facilitating the sale and/or financing of mining equipment
Firmware & Software Development
Entities developing software or firmware for mining
Third-party offering services to pool stakeholders' staking capacity and participate in the validation process on their behalf
An organisation is classified in a category when its service offerings meet the definition of that category. The classification process is not exclusive, i.e. one organisation might fall under multiple categories when it offers more than one service. This approach ensures uniformity of entity classification over time.
The classification system will be periodically revised, based on internal research and external feedback from the public, to reflect the industry’s dynamic nature and constantly evolving composition.
Organisation Inclusion Criteria
The criteria for organisation inclusion into the Cambridge Fintech Ecosystem Atlas are:
• Scope of operations of an organisation. The operating activities of an entity should be directly related to the fintech industry and fit within the boundaries of the CCAF classification system (Table 1).
• Minimum lifespan. As one of the objectives of the Atlas is to provide the longitudinal and historical dataset, the entity is not de facto required to be operational at present, however, it must have had a minimum operational lifespan and an active business within that lifespan.
• Organisational structure. An entity should have some form of identifiable operational structure. Although an entity is not required to be legally structured or incorporated in any jurisdiction(s) to be included in the database, this type of information with respect to its legal structure can be used to evaluate this criterion. The organisational structure criterion may also vary depending on the type of activities an entity undertakes.
Additional optional criteria include:
• Public disclosure. An entity should have clear, transparent, and publicly available information related to its activities and operations (e.g. a functional website, company registry entry).
• Digital footprint. An entity should have an online presence (e.g. a working website, social or development platform accounts, matching email address) showcasing its product(s) and/or services at the time of operating.
• Individual behind the company. An entity should be associated with an identifiable person or a pseudonymous alias (e.g. forum account username).
The data presented in the Cambridge Fintech Ecosystem Atlas that exists in the public domain is obtained through desk research whereas non- personally identifiable data is sourced from survey findings. Data is collected from primary sources, such as company website, official documents, company statements, in-person, or phone interviews; as well as secondary data sources such as news articles, blog posts, podcasts and other online presence.
The entity attributes collected and currently made available for the public are described in Table 2.
Table 2: Variables used for data collection
The trade name of the organisation, as colloquially known in the industry
The legal name of the organisation as recorded in legal registers
The date that the organisation launched its operations
The type of organisation (‘Public’, ‘Private’, ‘Non-profit’).
Public companies are defined as those publicly traded on major exchange venues.
Social media metrics
The organisation twitter handle, Reddit channel, follower count, likes, comments, shares
The URL of the organisation’s landing page or if applicable an archival capture of the URL of the organisation’s former landing page
The date that the entity was incorporated
The unique entity number as publicly available in jurisdictional company registrars
individual jurisdictional company registrars
Cessation of operations (date and reason, if applicable)
The date that the organisation ceased its operations. The reason identified for an organisation to cease its operations (‘Acquisition’, ‘Termination’, ‘Merger’, ‘Pivot’)
The country where the organisation predominantly operates from
The jurisdiction where the parent organisation has been incorporated
Description of an organisation’s service offering
Number of employees
Full-time equivalent employees
Limitations of the data collected are listed below, along with the approach adopted to address and mitigate some of these challenges.
Complex corporate structure: corporate entities are often structured in complex ways, based on multiple commercial, legal and tax considerations. In most cases, the shareholding patterns and corporate structures of such private entities are not available in the public domain and disentangling them becomes difficult. In such cases, the rule of thumb has been to focus on the parent company rather than subsidiaries.
Unidentified operational headquarters and incorporation jurisdiction: some organisations do not have any identifiable physical presence from where they conduct their operations and/or have no trace of incorporation. Operational headquarters was classified as “Unidentified” to denote the inability to verify the primary location of an entity’s operations and/or its incorporation country. Incorporation numbers refer to those of the parent entity unless otherwise stated.
Service offerings: the services and activities an organisation is engaged in were commonly found on the organisation’s website, official press releases, or through external communications. Though the name, description and launch date of services are true to the best of the knowledge of the research team, some information might remain unproven due to limitations on the public availability of data. The research team has made all possible efforts to cross-check the information using users’ posts on forums, platforms such as Reddit or bitcointalk.org, and in rare instances, registered onto the platform to precisely assess an organisation’s service offering.
Entity history: the most arduous task has been to accurately track the history of an entity, from the evolution of its offering and portfolio to changes in its geographic location. For the chronology of service offerings, a combination of web archives research (e.g. Wayback Machine) and search engine entries for historical news articles and blog posts was used to determine the launch date of a particular product or service offering.
New form of organisational structures: the emergence of the alternative finance industry, and the cryptoasset ecosystem, in particular, has enabled new forms of the organisational structure previously unseen. In particular, multiple projects were developed by team members with no common location. Organisations falling under this category were classified as ‘Decentralised Autonomous Organisation’ (‘DAO’).
Ambiguity between communicated information and officially recorded information: at times, the information displayed on social media did not match recorded in the official or verified database (e.g. company registrar). While the research team often opted for the official version, cross-checking information from multiple distinct sources was used as a substitute when no official information was available.
Lack of clear information regarding cessation of operations (reason and date): as any emerging industry, the alternative finance ecosystem has naturally witnessed the emergence and disappearance of multiple entities. In the early days, organisation dissolution occurred frequently without too much publicity. When cessation date could not be identified, the research team used the last year of online activity (e.g. tweet, last screenshot available in web archives) as a proxy. Unclear reason of the cessation of activity was classified as ‘Termination’.