Four out of 12 Finalists for Swift African Startup Challenge Are Blockchain or Bitcoin Related

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Working in close collaboration with Innotribe, over one hundred judges from across the financial, technology, and investment communities evaluated  89 applications received for the second edition of the Startup Challenge in in Mauritius on May 18. The judges assessed the startups’ ability to provide an important innovation in the future of the financial industry and ultimately narrowed the selection process to this year’s 12 semi-finalists.

Four of them are African Blockchain related projects. 

The winners will then have the chance to also go to  Sibos, SWIFT’s annual global financial services conference in Geneva in late September.

  • AMoney from Cameroon enables cross border payments and unifying mobile wallets using Blockchain technology. AMoney uses multi-rail technology combining four rails: the AMoney protocol, Blockchain technology, The Ripple protocol and the Stellar protocol to enable large volume of low-value cross border payments and unify mobile wallets in Africa.
  • BitPesa is Africa’s fastest and most affordable bitcoin trading platform out of Kenya.  Users around the world can send bitcoins to BitPesa, which exchanges them to Kenyan shillings and sends them along to recipient’s mobile phone account. BitPesa charges a 3% remittance fee for the service regardless of how much money is transferred. BitPesa’s main competitor is M-Pesa – a mobile-based money network that has worked to lower transaction fees for Africans using mobile technology, but whose fees still reach a staggering 30% for registered users and up to 66% for unregistered users.
  • The Sun Exchange is a peer-to-peer lending platform from South Africa for investors to fund solar energy projects across the globe. The Sun Exchange is a crowd-investing platform. It connects people wanting to finance solar power to those that need solar power to lower electricity bills or access electricity for the first time. Solar panels costs money and in many places in the world there is limited access to financial services. Through The Sun Exchange you can either lend money too or raise money for a solar project, regardless of geographies.  Transferring fiat currency between countries is often expensive and time consuming, so they accept bitcoin so that you can invest in a solar project wherever you are in the world quickly, easily and securely.
  • Geopay from Johannesburg allows for domestic and foreign remittance platform using the Blockchain. Geopay is a peer to peer digital money transfer solution that allows low to high end consumers to instantly withdraw and deposit cash to anyone in the world. The client makes a deposit which by them bitcoins which are transferred to a geoteller the Geoteller is able to convert bitcoin in currency and cross border client can make withdrawal. The client and geoteller never have to see and interact with bitcoins as it is on the back end.

Launched in 2011, Innotribe Startup Challenge’s mission was to bring visibility to activities at the edges of the Swift ecosystem, highlighting the importance of these new emerging companies called startups and their revolutionary way to think and work. Over the years, the Startup Challenge has become one of the leading global startup competitions, connecting the financial services industry with more than 650 FinTech startups around the world and reaching over 4,000 audience members through global showcases and networking events.

In 2016, the Startup Challenge has evolved and will support emerging FinTech ecosystems, moving from a global competition to a local programme supporting innovation where demographic trends, economic growth and regional integration projects are creating fertile ground for new technologies to emerge.

What are the benefits for Fintech startups?

  • Receive coaching and mentoring from renowned experts from the global Fintech scene
  • get the opportunity to meet financial industry executives and potential investors
  • Be one of the 12 startups to go to Mauritius or Mexico and they will cover your travel and expenses up to 2,000 USD
  • Get a chance to attend Sibos, the world’s premier financial services event taking place in Geneva in September 2016, and receive a $10,000 USD cash prize

For the second consecutive year, Innotribe is partnering with SWIFT’s African Regional Conference (ARC) to tap into the high potential of African startups. The event will take place in Mauritius, from 17-19 May 2016.

About Richard Kastelein

Founder, Publisher and Editor in Chief of Blockchain News and co-founder and director at Blockchain Partners in London/Amsterdam/NYC, Richard Kastelein is also an advisor with a number Blockchain startups doing ICOs including DECENT.ch, Inchain, Humaniq, Chronobank, eGaas and others.

He is regarded as one of the top journalists by the Blockchain and fintech communities – as is evident by his entry in the Top 150 Fintech journalists online and in the top 10 of the Blockchain Top 100 List. As a prominent keynote presenter, he has spoken on Blockchain at events in Gdansk, Amsterdam, Minsk, Dubai, Antwerp, Eindhoven etc, where he helped spread the cause for Blockchain technology and crypto-currency and, consequently, has built a notable network inthe scene.

In 2013, the European Commission appointed him as an expert for overseeing financing for emerging startups as a part of the European Commission’s 90 billion euro Horizon 2020 project, created in Brussels to promote innovation as a driving force of job creation and business ventures across Europe. He has also worked as an external expert for Innovate UK since 2012, judging startups for the UK government.

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