Innotribe has announced 14 African companies in the financial technology sector are among the 60 startups selected to pitch their ideas to financial services experts, angel investors, venture capitalists, and global bank decision-makers at the African Regional Conference taking place in Cape Town this year.
The startups work in fields including corporate business services, lending, payments, big data, e-commerce, investment management, financial education and forex, and come from South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Nigeria.
Disrupt Africa reported in December Innotribe – SWIFT’s fintech innovation initiative – opened applications for its 2015 Startup Challenge, with the competition to include an African leg for the first time.
To select the 60 companies from the 370 applicants, Innotribe worked with more than 500 judges from across the financial, technology and investment communities. The selected startups will now pitch their new products during the regional showcases in London (April 22), Cape Town (May 6), Singapore (May 28) and New York (June 18).
“In 2014, just one per cent of applications to the global startup challenge came from Africa; this year, the continent represents 13 per cent 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,” Hugo Smit, head of Sub-Saharan Africa at SWIFT, said.
“For the second consecutive year, we are thrilled with the record number and quality of the contestants applying to our programme,” said Fabian Vandenreydt, head of markets management at 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.”