Top 10 financial service ideas in 2006

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We’re deviating from our regular schedule to bring you the best new business ideas we spotted in 2006. Up next: financial service ideas:

  1. Kiva: p2p micro lending: Kiva helps lenders provide (charitable) microloans to entrepreneurs in developing countries, offering a new, sponsor-a-business option for individuals to connect with small enterprises in developing countries through flexible loans. More »
  2. Facilitating kidpreneurs: Dutch Postbank, part of the ING Group, recently started a campaign aimed at budding entrepreneurs. Children who open an Easy Blue account receive a briefcase containing materials for printing their own t-shirts (aka bizznizz attire), stickers, letterhead, flyers, and business cards. More »
  3. Making it easy to chip in: ChipIn is an online tool that enables people to collect money for gifts or other group purchases. Like Fundable, which we wrote about last year, ChipIn automates the time-consuming task of organizing people to collect funds for a group purchase. More »
  4. Prosper, one and all: In March, we wrote about Prosper, the people-to-people money lending marketplace. Time for an update! Since its launch in February 2006, Prosper has signed up 100,000 memberships and has generated more than USD 20 million in loans. Prosper lets interested borrowers create a loan listing for up to USD 25,000. More »
  5. Ether: sell what you say: For minipreneurs with a service to sell, Ether provides an innovative and easy way to tap into new business. The idea is straightforward: the service provider signs up for a free Ether (1-888) number, which is forwarded to a phone number of his choice, be it cell, home or work. He then decides how much his time is worth, per hour per minute or per call. More »
  6. Greensurance: Touted as the UK’s first eco-friendly car insurance, Ecoinsurance offers customers a cleaner conscience and a greener planet, at no extra cost. Each vehicle insurance policy comes with carbon offsets for 20% of the customer’s car’s CO2 emissions, based on an average passenger car with average annual mileage. More »
  7. Ultra-personalized banking: Like My Postbank Cards, which we wrote about last year, Garanti Bank’s Flexi Cards allow customers to personalize the look of their bank cards. But Garanti takes the concept a bit further: customers can develop their own banking product. Flexi Cards are Visa cards that let the cardholder make a few key decisions, allowing them to set over ten parameters. More »
  8. Banking on women: Austria’s first bank for women was recently opened by Raiffeisen in the ski resort town of Gastein. The concept was developed in association with Emotion Banking, which conducted extensive studies about women and finances, and how they interact with banks. More »
  9. Prepaid computing: Using small-dose financing, Microsoft’s FlexGo is attempting to make computers available to more consumers in developing countries. Customers will pay approximately half the price of a computer upfront. Usage is paid by the hour, and after a few hundred hours of use, the user will own the pc outright. More »
  10. Matching first-time homebuyers: Faced with rocketing real estate prices, first-time homebuyers have a new option in the UK: buying with a stranger they’ve found online. Shared Spaces is a ‘co-buyer network’, enabling potential buyers to join forces with others. More »
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