Innotribe announces today it has selected 60 companies out of the 370 early-stage and growth-stage startup applicants to participate in the 2015 Startup Challenge. Innotribe worked in close collaboration with more than 500 judges from across the financial, technology and investment communities evaluated the applications narrowing the selection process to this year’s 60 semi-finalists. These will now get the opportunity to pitch their new products during the regional showcases in London (22 April), Cape Town (6 May), Singapore (28 May) and New York (18 June).
“For the second consecutive year, we are thrilled with the record number and quality of the contestants applying to our programme.” says Fabian Vandenreydt, Head of Markets Management, Innotribe and the SWIFT Institute at SWIFT. “The regional showcases represent a unique platform for discussion, debate, and high-level networking for our community and are a great opportunity for the startups to meet face to face with potential investors, partners and customers. We are excited for this year’s competition and look forward to seeing each startup pitch their innovative products with determination during the regional showcases.”
This year for the first time, SWIFT has included an African showcase as part of its annual African Regional Conference, now in its 22nd year, being held in Cape Town from 5-7 May.
Ten African startups and four early growth companies from South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Nigeria will pitch to investors at the showcase during ARC.
The key areas of African innovation include: corporate business services, lending, payments, big data, e-commerce, investment management, financial education and forex. The African semi-finalists are: BitFinance, Creditable, Digital Legacy Management Solutions, Ex Nihilo Labs, Intelworld, Kulea Consulting, LulaLend, Notafy, SafePersona Services, YueDiligence, 2Quins, Bristlecone Holdings, ScanMan and ZAQ.
Hugo Smit, Head of Sub-Sahara Africa, SWIFT, says: “In 2014, just 1% of applications to the global startup challenge came from Africa; this year, the continent represents 13% of the total. This is a tremendous achievement in 12 months and a clear indication of the continent’s innovative spirit. Africa has already brought mobile money into the world; it has the potential to deliver other disruptive financial technologies.”
As a part of the programme, each semi-finalist will receive complimentary coaching sessions with seasoned entrepreneurs to give them advice ahead of the formal pitches to a select audience of judges from across the financial services industry.
“What really sets the Innotribe programme apart is the coaching we give the startups in how to engage the more established financial services providers.” said Mike Sigal, Founding Executive Producer and Lead Coach of the Startup Challenge. “There’s a chasm between how startups and banks practice innovation, and helping our startups understand how to communicate their value propositions to SWIFT’s community helps banks quickly evaluate new technologies and models, and helps our startups identify appropriate partners and investors.”
A hand-picked audience of financial services experts, angel investors, venture capitalists, and global bank decision-makers will attend the different showcases and vote for the top five companies of their choice. Across the four showcases, the audience will select the 20 companies who will automatically secure a place as finalists in the Innotribe Startup Challenge Grand Finale, which will be held at Sibos in Singapore on 14 October 2015.
Please click here to view the names of the 60 semi-finalists participating in the 2015 Startup Challenge. Companies are listed in alphabetical order and by showcase.
To register for any of the four regional showcases or for more information about the Startup Challenge, please visit http://innotribe.com/2015-startup-challenge/.