“Sun, sea, sand, surf and startups”: welcome to the motto of Startup Malta, the country’s meeting place for entrepreneurship. Located in the Mediterranean sea, the island’s prime placement allows for a beach-side way of life, which is perfectly suited to tourism tech startups. Stretching beyond its paradisaical nature, though, the island also affords a prominent and strategic connection point between North Africa and Europe, and has seen a recent boom in globally-facing blockchain, AI and retail startups that are poised to spring into both markets at any time.
Having scouted out the fastest growing, early-stage Maltese startups that were founded in the last few years, we came across many teams that have jumped way past second digit team numbers in just 1-2 years. Twinning this with information like funding closed, sector analysis and more, we came up with a list of some of the top startups to watch in 2020. So without further ado, here are the top promising Maltese startups that we expect to see zooming ahead this year, and beyond.
Founders Bank – Founders Bank, founded in 2018, is a corporate challenger bank serving the tech industry, including blockchain and other emerging technologies. Its team aims to provide banking services on a world class technology platform, with a strong emphasis on customer experience. Having raised €9.1 million, the startup is currently obtaining an EU banking license from the Malta Financial Services Authority, at which point it will offer its services throughout Europe and beyond.
EZ365 – EZ365, founded in 2018, is a revolutionary platform that lets users play, trade and learn with digital assets. Comprised of three distinctive platforms (EZ Win, a blockchain-based digital asset casino; EZ Exchange, a digital asset exchange; and EZ Academy, a blockchain/cryptocurrency educational platform for users), its experience is simple, user-friendly and fun. Based in Valetta, its team has ambitious plans for 2020 and beyond, planning to facilitate the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies.
Solfy – Solfy, founded in 2018, is a fintech startup aiming to transform the shopping pipeline for customers, banks and merchants. Its multi-directional services help all participants of the scheme to solve major problems: for banks to sell more credit products with less risk, to get more clients and increase the volume of retail transactions; for merchants to increase sales and customer loyalty; for customers to have a privilege of free loans for happy shopping. Solby has closed four funding rounds currently, with the last being late 2019 for €1.2 million.
Quidax – Quidax, founded in 2017, is taking advantage of its geographical location in the Mediterranean sea to create Africa’s first user-focused cryptocurrency exchange. Based in San Gwann, its team makes it easy to buy cryptocurrencies using local currency, making its accessible even for the first-timer. In 2020, it’s goal is to build the liquidity that would power the next generation of remittances, making it 4 times cheaper, 8 times faster and much more efficient.
Pacific – Pacific, founded in 2017, has created a payment system based on Smart QR codes, for social media and e-commerce. Its 9 microsystems (pTransfer, pCodes, pMicroPay, pSwap, pStable, pTap), allow users to pay using QR codes, do instant transfers with any currency, freeze the value of funds online, use your smartphone as a payment terminal, among others. The Santa Venera-based team landed approximately €685K in 2018, and has been using the funds to achieve a just 8-second transaction time for its services.
Kubitx – KuBitX, founded in 2017, aims to educate and empower people from all walks of life to be a part of the blockchain technology revolution. Boosting financial inclusion in emerging markets, the startup has begun its vision in Africa. Via its first two products (KBXWallet and KuBitX), users can now send money across Africa in seconds, such as paying international bills from 3000 merchants from anywhere. In 2019, the Mahe-based team closed a seed funding to use its platform to expand the gig economy and provide more employment opportunities for Africa’s teeming youthful population.
Tokenomica – Tokenomica, founded in 2018, is a place to invest, issue, trade and offer smart securities. It aims to help both sides of the equation: both business, and investors. Businesses of any size can launch a fully compliant fundraising campaign in front of secondary markets, and on the other side of the coin, investors can scout the marketplace to find quality financial assets to seamlessly invest in with fiat and crypto. In 2020, the startup has already launched a crypto-to-Euro trade option, its first legally compliant Equity Token Offering in Estonia, and its ‘OTC Trading Desk’, so we are excited to see what comes next.
Stasis – Stasis, founded in 2017, has a vision that twins together the stability of traditional currencies, with the potential of the cryptocurrency market. How can this be done? By ‘tokenization’ – the process of representing real-world assets on the blockchain. Stasis’ team has built a full-service tokenization platform, including smart contract creation, third-party audits, custodial services, and deep expertise of the current regulatory environment. Based in St. Julians, the startup achieved a ‘world first’ with EURS, the world’s first stablecoin that is pegged to the Euro, which was launched at the Malta Chamber of Commerce, with attendance from Malta’s Prime Minister.
Stobox – Stobox, founded in 2017, offers blockchain-based fundraising solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises, investment funds and real estate developers. The way it works is that companies can issue digital securities and attract funds from a global community of investors, allowing for a significant reduction in operational expenses from their side. But that’s not all- companies can access a full range of services, including legal structuring, technical setup and marketing campaigns. In early 2020, the team launched its competitive consulting services, showing the startups’ potential for market domination.
EBO.ai – EBO.ai, founded in 2017, is an AI-driven ‘customer service’ virtual agent. The startup began with the very simple idea to address a huge need that is experienced by companies worldwide today: automating human communication, at scale. The result of the team’s hard work is the EBO.ai virtual agent, which helps companies build valuable, long-lasting relationships with their customers, and on the other side, lets customers connect with businesses at any time with zero effort. Backed by venture capital funding, the team is on a mission to transform the way banks and other financial institutions interact with their customers online, as well as help companies in gaming, healthcare and beyond.
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