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Fifteen fintech startups from all over Africa just competed for a chance to travel to Singapore later this year where some of them will stand a chance of winning US$50 000 and a hell of a lot of exposure. Only five made the cut.
This was the first time the Innotribe Startup Challenge was hosted in Africa. It also happens to be that out of all the countries, the competition received the third most of its applications from South Africa, with the United States and the United Kingdom making up most of the pile.
“There is a genuine spirit of innovation in Africa and the semi-finalists who pitched in Cape Town really shows the appetite there is in this market for new business models and harnessing technology in new ways,” Hugo Smit, Head of Sub-Sahara Africa at SWIFT. “I’m delighted that SWIFT and Innotribe are able to offer these young African companies this platform and wish them best of luck in Singapore at Sibos. We are already excited about the next African Showcase at ARC 2016.”
The competition was tough while the audience of bankers and investors had the opportunity to vote for their top favourites. Below are the winners:
The three early-stage startup finalists are:
- Intelworld delivers mobile applications on top of existing mobile wallets to help banks and merchants increase mobile ecommerce
- Notafy provides secure messaging infrastructure to help companies communicate with their customers via mobile instant messages instead of costly SMS
- YueDiligence offers actionable, light-touch due diligence tool for entrepreneurs, investors, and service providers to assess deal readiness
The two growth-stage startups finalists are:
- 2Quins enterprise SaaS financial information tool, Green Model, slashes the time and expense of meeting banks’ operational and regulatory reporting requirements
- ZAQ Finance provides debt reduction, savings, and low-cost credit products to help low-income Africans become more financially secure
The next steps of the Startup Challenge programme will be the regional showcases in Singapore on 28 May, and New York on 18 June.
“Startups that differentiate themselves are the ones making it easier for investors. I truly believe this is a real problem that Yue Diligence is solving in the ecosystem. This competition helps a lot with exposure and can really help amplify that,” the co-founder of Yue Diligence, Keet Van Zyl, told Ventureburn.
Van Zyl, who’s also the co-founder of venture capital firm Knife Capital said, winning the cash prize would enable the business to focus on making the product more awesome as well as beefing up its marketing. “If we don’t market it well enough, we might have built the best product never sold,” he quipped.
On the Innotribe process itself Van Zyl added that it should be used as an example going forward. “I’ve been involved in many of these types of competitions, but from the other side. I really think that the stature of the mentors and the whole process were of high quality.”