6 Startups That Are Disrupting Retirement Planning

By Matteo Pisani Published on Feb. 17, 2021

The retirement market has evolved over the years. As we begin to see the rise of the gig economy, the need to be proactive in financial planning only increases. Everyone who has a permanent job (employee or freelancer) has to cope with the issue of saving enough money to live an honest life after retirement. Despite the sensitive nature of the topic, wider trends, technological advancement, and regulation have created an environment and market opportunity irresistible to those looking to disrupt the field. 

The Three Most Popular Industry Startup's Business Models  

Startups have developed innovative business models considering the trends, new developments and regulations in the market. Since the statutory pension system of national entities is out of scope, new ventures have focused their effort on the second and third pillars:

  1. Contribution Fees: percentage paid by the user on every monetary contribution that is made (usually monthly) to build up the pension scheme.  
  2. Annual Management Fees: one-time fee paid every year to the distributor who manages the contribution paid by the user. 
  3. Investment Fees: paid to the investment management entities that are managing the overall amount saved by the user. 

Retirement Market Players

The pension space can result as complex when understanding the environment and the various business models. In order to make it easier to understand the market, we have listed the different players who are key to this process:

  • Users: The person who subscribes to the pension scheme.  
  • Distributor or Initiator: It is called distributor because of the nature of the business. The startup, in this case, plays the role of reaching and attracting the customers and subscribing to the pension scheme. 
  • Product Provider: It is intended to be the investment manager entity that underlies the fund. It is called product provider because the different schemes are offered towards different investment plans. 
  • Custodian: It is the entity in charge to guarantee safety over the users' contributions.  

Innovative Solutions that Rethink Retirement

At Plug and Play, we have had the opportunity to work with many young companies looking to create an impact on the pensions space. These are the game changers you should definitely have on your radar. 



Penfold - a full-stack digital pension. They digitize pensions and innovate to drive engagement in later life saving to help freelancers and contractors save towards future financial wellness. By the way, this startup is a part of our Plug and Play portfolio.



Grandhood, an alternative pension fund tailored to SMEs. Employees can enroll in an individual pension plan using their Danish internet ID (a "NemID") and the Grandhood app. The fund itself invests the enrollees' money according to a long-term global strategy with a focus on a good balance between different asset classes.



Vantik is a 2017 launched, Berlin-based PensionTech startup. Their vision is a simple and secure private pension that is as flexible as life itself, their mission is to inspire millennials to save for their future. Anybody with a smartphone and a passport can open a Vantik account within 11 minutes. No payment details are required. You can save by automatic monthly transfers or by one-off transfers, starting at €1. 



Epsor - an easy-to-deploy digital platform with a transparent pricing policy, that designs and distributes employee savings and retirement plans to small and medium companies. The employees can select funds from various asset managers in accordance with their goals and risk appetite.



Pensionbee - an application that enables its users to create profiles including information on past and present pension and personal information. It allows them to track the pension progress and features a pension calculator to set retirement goals and add new contributions.



pensionsync offers a payroll management software that automates the delivery of data between payroll, AE middleware and pension providers. 

At Plug and Play’s Insurtech accelerator we match large corporations with top-tier startups that are changing the future of the insurance industry. Join our platform today.