Swift Innotribe Startup Challenge names European finalists
Swift’s Innotribe Startup Challenge has named the five European finalists for its annual competition, which seeks to find the best new companies in financial services and bring them to compete in the final at Sibos Boston in October.
The chosen companies were Currency Transfer, an online market that matches business with international payment quotes; Ensygnia, which has an app that is designed to protect and verify user identity for e-commerce transactions, TransferGo, which is a digital international money transfer and remittances company, Mambu, the cloud banking platform focusing on emerging markets, and MatchMove, a company that offers a wallet aimed at smartphone users in emerging countries that may lack a conventional bank account.
“We are aiming to become the Amazon of remittances,” said Daumantas Dvilinskas, chief executive and co-founder at TransferGo. “We’re not in FX or brokerage. We’ve got people from Visa and advisors from Twitter and Square. We have our own clearing house. We can do this cheaper and faster and guarantee the destination – and we’re talking about near real time.”
Other companies that were part of the challenge included Silver Oak, which is a startup that aims to change the world by connecting hedge funds with SMEs in emerging markets to provide finance; MoneyMeets, a personal financial management tool, and Xuvasi, which provides a risk and impact analysis modelling tool.
Many of the entrants focused on emerging markets opportunities. Pointing out that conventional bricks and mortar banking typically takes off when a country reaches a GDP per capita above $10,000, a spokesman for Silver Oak suggested that in India, which has a GDP per capita of $3,800, there was significant unmet demand for banking services.
“70% of SMEs in emerging markets have no access to finance, while in the US the reverse is true – 90% of businesses do have access to credit,” he said. “We estimate the market in India is worth $19 billion and we expect returns of 10%. We’re Silver Oak, we’re going to change the world. Come and join us.”
The London Startup Challenge was the first of three regional events to be held this year, with two others to follow in Singapore and New York or 15 May and 5 June respectively. The finalists from each of the three regions will compete at the final in Boston in October.
“London was a great kick-off to the 2014 Startup Challenge and it was exciting to see so many inspiring companies present their innovations to a packed room,” said Fabien Vandenreydt, head of markets management, Innotribe and the Swift Institute. “All of the pitches were of the highest standard and these companies can be proud of their achievements! Now into the third full year of the Startup Challenge, we continue to see our network grow, allowing us to provide more startups with even greater opportunities to connect with the financial industry. We wish the finalists the best of luck at Sibos in Boston later this year.”