Tanzanian mobile money startup Nala wins $10k at Ecobank Fintech Challenge


Tanzanian mobile money startup Nala has emerged as the winner of the 2018 Ecobank Fintech Challenge, clinching $10 000.

The mobile money application works offline, without an internet connection and provides a unified user experience in which multiple financial services can be connected on one application.

Tech site Disrupt Africa reported earlier that the startup secured $50,000 in funding from DFS Lab in April (see today’s Disrupt Africa story  for an interview with co-founder Benjamin Fernandes, pictured above, left).

The announcement on Friday (7 September) was made following the official prize-giving ceremony at Ecobank’s headquarters in Lome, Togo on 30 August.

Virtual Identity (developed by e4) from South Africa, which helps customer onboarding for banks, and Wallet.ng from Nigeria which provides an alternative bank for a growing generation of digital natives, were the first and second runners up, winning cash prizes of $7,000 and $5000, respectively.

Tanzanian mobile money application Nala — which works offline, without an internet connection — clinched the $10k Ecobank Fintech Challenge prize

The challenge drew applications from 412 innovative fintech entrepreneurs from across Africa, Europe, North America and Asia.

All 11 finalists were officially inducted into the Ecobank Fintech Fellowship programme to explore commercial partnerships with the pan-African banking giant.

The other eight finalists were: Lypa (Kenya), Litee (Benin), SESO Global (South Africa), InvestED (Sierra Leone), Secapay (Nigeria), MojiPay (Togo), Eversend(France), and Awamo (Germany).

Read more: Here are the finalists of the second edition of the Ecobank Fintech Challenge
Read more: Here’s all you need to know about the 2018 Ecobank Fintech Challenge

On Friday, Ade Ayeyemi, Ecobank Group CEO praised the finalists for their innovative solutions and welcomed them to the fellowship programme.

“They are shining examples of the entrepreneurial spirit and creativity that will propel our continent’s global competitiveness in the commercial services markets, and I sincerely expect some, if not all, of them to be the business titans of tomorrow,” said Ayeyemi.

Launched in 2017, the second year of the challenge brought together startups and innovators, policymakers, investors and development organisations from across the world to network and witness the 2018 finalists’ exhibitions, and see the finalists in the 2018 Ecobank Fintech Fellowship.

Also present at the finals was Ghana’s Minister of Business Development Ibrahim Awal Mohammed. He commended Ecobank for this initiative and urged more support for young African entrepreneurs to improve job creation on the continent.

The Ecobank Fintech Challenge and Fellowship is managed by advisory firm Konfidants and supported by FMO, Microsoft4Afrika, Accion Venture Labs, Cellulant and FinConecta.

Featured image: Nala co-founder Benjamin Fernandes pictured receiving the $10 000 Ecobank Fintech Challenge prize (Supplied)



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