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FinTech, PropTech, InsurTech – What Do These Terms Mean?

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Startup world terms explained

8 minute read

Startups develop innovative technology products for a specific market or target group. New names are constantly appearing for these startups and can be confusing for observers on this scale. We provide an overview of familiar and less familiar terms in the startup world.



The most common term is FinTech. The term FinTech is a combination of the words financial services and technology. FinTech describes the industry in which financial services are changed by technology.

FinTech is known for innovation throughout the financial sector, including mobile payments, remittances, savings, and investment. These technology-driven companies compete with the long-established financial service providers, the banks. FinTechs fill gaps that the existing banks do not serve. FinTech also incorporates new areas such as crowdfunding.

We all know the company PayPal. But there are many startups in this area. The Hamburg-based startup is one of the best-financed FinTech companies as a loan comparison service. On the other hand, bonify wants to provide its users with financial products that fit their specific financial situation. FinTechs also include N26, which recently became a registered bank that allows account management via smartphone.



InsurTech is an offshoot of FinTech. The term consists of the English words insurance and technology. It refers to insurance services that work with modern technology. More than USD 82 million flowed into the digital insurance market in Germany in 2016.

Customers can enter their insurance policies online using a computer or smartphone and instruct the InsurTech company to look for better and more affordable insurance.

Ottonova is the first online-only health insurance company based in Munich. With just a few clicks, customers are able to conclude a private health insurance policy with an app. Clark from Berlin is a smartphone app to manage insurance companies digitally. The company analyses its customers' insurance situation and suggests improvements. The Berlin startup Friendsurance was founded to enable users who have the same type of insurance to join together as a group. The group pays for minor damages; the individual insurance will pay for major damages.



The term property technology, in short: PropTech, stands for modern technological developments in the real estate sector. Innovative products and services are offered around planning, construction, renting, administration and sales of real estate. Search engines allow a targeted search for homes, digital platforms facilitate property management and crowdfunding platforms simplify investment in real estate.

In the first half of 2016, more than USD 1.8 billion was invested in PropTech startups - 85 percent more than in the same period in 2015. intends to facilitate landlords' property management. Maklaro is a digital real estate agent who takes on all the tasks involved in selling real estate and is supposed to be more efficient and powerful than an ordinary real estate agent. Homelike is a platform with a large portfolio of furnished apartments. You can book temporary apartments throughout Europe on this platform.



LegalTech is made up of the terms legal services and technology. It describes companies that use digital and innovative technologies to automate and simplify access to justice and administration of law, finding and applying justice.

Legal services or entire work processes are automated in order to increase efficiency and thus save costs.

Jurato offers a platform for legal services. It allows you to book consulting services. Alternatively, users can ask a legal question and lawyers can apply for the case. Advocado offers legal advice from lawyers, giving clients faster and more transparent advice. Edicted from Bremen is a platform for lawyers to outsource tasks such as researching and writing briefs.



So-called FoodTech startups drive innovations in the field of food and technology. The use of technology can improve agriculture and food production or logistical issues such as the supply chain and distribution channel.

There have been profound changes in the food sector in the production of new consumer goods, food production processes, and biotechnology.

In our everyday lives, we are more familiar with food suppliers such as Foodora, Deliveroo, or platforms on which one can customize products such as meinfrühstück24, or subscription options such as earlybird Coffee. The ResQ app is designed to reduce food waste by offering food produced in excess.



A lot has been happening in the FemTech segment for some time. The words female and technology make it clear that this is technology for women. This especially refers to health products for the female body, notably menstrual cycle and fertility apps.

This poses a challenge for founders of these startups. It is more difficult for women to obtain venture capital for their companies, as investors are usually male. They must first be inspired by these female topics. Well-known FemTech startups are the menstrual cycle apps Clue, Ovy, and Trackle.

Ovy combines an app and a Bluetooth thermometer to control the female cycle. Clue also allows its users to record and track their own cycle. Trackle uses a special temperature sensor that helps women to see when they can get pregnant.



A new addition to the startup scene is the SexTech industry. New technologies are intended to change and, if possible, improve our sex life and behavior. Sexual satisfaction with the help of technology should no longer be taboo. New innovations are constantly coming onto the market. Sex toys such as special vibrators, virtual reality porn or robots, with which users can have sexual intercourse, are part of it. According to US market forecasts, a volume of USD 50 billion is expected in 2020.

The US startup MysteryVibe produces vibrators for women and men, which can be personalized with its own app. Einhorn, a Berlin-based startup, offers vegan and sustainably produced condoms designed by well-known artists. 50 percent of the company's profits go to charitable projects. Amorelie is a well-known online sex shop that offers lifestyle articles for erotica. Customers can find "everything that enriches love life" there. Passion, well-being and bliss are to be in the foreground.



The healthcare industry is also relying more and more on technology. HealthTech startups contribute new innovations here. HealthTech is a combination of health and technology. With the help of digital tools and systems such as databases, apps or wearables, i.e. portable computer systems such as wristbands, all things related to our health are to be improved and access to medicine is to be facilitated. The aim is to further develop and commercialize medical products.

The health care system in Germany is heavily regulated. Due to these hurdles, "only every hundredth German startup company in the healthcare sector is founded," concludes Arno Elmer, professor at the University of Applied Sciences for Economics and Management in Berlin. That is why many of them, such as Klara, move to the USA.

Klara, a startup from Berlin, offered its users to have a dermatologist check suspicious-looking skin areas by remote diagnosis. They could send a picture to the doctor via smartphone and received a response within 48 hours. The eHealth-Startup Tomes GmbH wants to improve doctor-patient communication with its Idana software. The software digitizes the anamnesis, helps to reduce misdiagnoses, and facilitates better medical care. MySugr offers several apps for diabetics that provide all-round care for the patient, including a diabetes diary and the function to digitally monitor blood glucose levels.



Tech startups are also busy in the fashion industry. They combine fashion with the latest technology, for example by integrating it into our clothing or wearables.

A TrainWear integrates a virtual personal trainer into the fitness gear. Sensors in wearables or a smart fitness shirt provide the athlete with feedback on his posture and sporting performance. You can wear virtual clothing or visualize textiles by using a smartphone camera through thanks to Berlin-based startup Mimeme's Augmented Reality app. The online retailer Lesara allows its customers to buy directly from manufacturers in Asia. The Munich-based startup Prelovee developed a metasearch engine for secondhand fashion.



Digitalization has also been around for some time in the tourism industry. Online and comparison platforms are already commonplace. In the meantime, there are many different startups in this area that pursue different business models.

At SecretEscapes, a digital travel club, members can get great discounts and offers on luxury hotels and trips. Using the Conichi app, guests can check in and out faster and process payments. The Beacon technology recognizes guests at check-in and the hotel can respond individually to their wishes. As the first digital tour operator, itravel relies on data analysis, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology to offer customers individually customized trips.



Various technologies in knowledge transfer are summarized under the term EdTech. So-called EdTech startups, i.e. education and technology, offer a variety of products and services.

In the field of education, new digital online learning offers are being created in the traditionally burdened world of education in order to make learning more interactive and effective. These include eLearnings, cloud solutions for universities, learning apps for students or online courses such as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) for vocational training.

Well-known startups include Sofatutor, an online tutoring platform with videos and worksheets for students, or Lecturio, which offers video courses for work, study and leisure that are available online everywhere. Udacity, for example, is a private online academy that provides lectures and exams on its website for free.



Do you know any more new startup labels we've forgotten here? Let us know in the comments below!

Status as of 29.06.2018 12:15


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