The global financial technology (fintech) market has been attracting significant investment in recent years as venture capital (VC) funds, banks themselves, stock markets and others bet that the rise of innovative technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), the blockchain, cloud computing, "big data" analytics and so on could significantly disrupt the market place in future years.
Investors like to get in early before growth takes off to fully realize the benefits of their capital backing, which is why CNBC previously ran a hot European fintech start-up 2017 list of firms to watch, but equally investors like a proven business model, which reduces investment risk.
These bigger fintechs could leave incumbent financial institutions (FIs) as mere utility infrastructure providers or transactional businesses if they don't respond to the more nimble front-end fintech challenge. Others may carve out a niche for themselves doing back-end processing in a more efficient manner than FIs which may outsource to them to cut costs if they decide they cannot match their technological prowess.
In no particular order, and with extensive research into the subject area, the global disruptive fintech firms to watch this year are:
Circle (Dublin, Ireland)