Citi names finalists for Latin America Mobile Challenge 2014
Citi has chosen the ‘headliner’ finalists for its mobile innovation competition in Latin America, the Mobile Challenge LatAm 2014, which aims to bring together individuals and companies with innovative ideas to create applications for Citi’s Latin America mobile banking platform.
The finalists include Planet Media, which submitted the project ‘push to customer,’ designed to allow businesses to detect users located inside branches or checkpoints and send push notifications via SMS or email with a tailored product offering; I-exceed Technology Solutions, a company for which the CitiLite B2B app seeks to better connect businesses with suppliers and clients; Cuatroochenta’s Citi Mobile 480 B2B solution, which allows Citi Mobile users to make a payment at any company via the Citi Mobile app without using their physical card, provided they are B2B Citi customers; and Infobip, which plans to use SMS to encourage customers to download the bank’s mobile app, combine a database with triggered push notifications and provides in-app payments solutions.
At present, Citi has two mobile apps active in 10 markets in Latin America. These are a standard mobile banking app, and another that allows users to see what benefits they can get in the retail environment, including transaction abilities, offers, coupons, discounts and promotions. The four ‘headlining’ companies listed above were joined by 16 others to present their ideas during the first demo day event of the competition in Buenos Aires on 30 and 31 May.
“We are excited about the global attention we have received, including entries from a total of 19 countries and 50 cities, which is a testament to the entrepreneurial engagement we have worked to achieve in this challenge,” said Jorge Ruiz, business development and digital banking head for Citi Latin America. “The high caliber of competitors in the Citi Mobile Challenge is representative of the immense digital talent emerging globally, which we have had the privilege of tapping into. The finalists will be at the forefront of mobile banking innovation, and their contributions have the potential to impact millions around the world.”
The winners of the competition will be announced on 13 June and will share $60,000 in cash awards. They will also receive assistance to bring their ideas to market and engage with Citi in a commercial relationship.
Citi indicated that the competition is not just a one-off event, but will likely be repeated next year and possibly expanded into other geographical areas, although plans remain subject to change. One of the entrants, YellowPepper, recently signed 12 Colombian banks to its mobile payments platform in August last year. YellowPepper plans to expand across LatinAmerica.
Innovation-based competitions have become increasingly popular in financial services in recent years. Swift has played a significant role, through its Innotribe Startup Challenge, which runs annually in New York, London and Singapore. However, the lack of Spanish-speaking participants in these competitions prompted a new event supported by Wayra, the Latin American and European startup funding firm owned by Telefonica. Called Innotribe Startup Disrupt, the new competition took place as part of the NextBank Madrid project. Spanish business to business platform Licuos was named as the winner of competition, which took place in Madrid.
Wayra and Telefonica are also supporting the Citi Mobile Challenge LatAm 2014.