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Santander InnoVentures Blockchain Challenge launched to inspire fintech startups worldwide

Santander InnoVentures, the $100 million fintech venture capital fund of Santander Group, and Onevest, a leader in the startup ecosystem operating CoFoundersLab and 1000 Angels, today launched an open competition to encourage and support early stage startups using distributed ledger technologies in the financial services industry.

The Santander InnoVentures DL Challenge is aimed at startups worldwide. The Challenge seeks to identify and support innovative applications for using distributed ledger (DL) and blockchain technologies to improve the processes and operation of the banking industry.

The Challenge highlights areas providing opportunities for improvement and re-invention. These include mortgage processing, trade finance and asset leasing. An earlier report, The Fintech 2.0 Paper: rebooting financial services by Santander InnoVentures, estimated the value of these opportunities as worth many billions of dollars.

The winner of the Challenge will receive a $15,000 cash prize to help fund the startup during the process of refining their idea to make it ready for angel investment.

The winner will be given access to market and technology experts at Santander InnoVentures and its parent, the Santander Group. Onevest will provide mentorship and guidance before presenting the winner to its 1000 Angels private investor community to pitch for ongoing funding.

Participants are invited to enter the Challenge at Entrants will be shortlisted and then selected by a panel of DL and blockchain technology experts at a Challenge event to be held in New York during January, 2015.

“Our aim is to inspire innovation and encourage entrepreneurship,” said Mariano Belinky, Managing Partner of Santander InnoVentures. “Distributed ledger technologies will create huge value for customers, banks and entrepreneurs who create new businesses around it. The Challenge will spark and accelerate that process for fintech startups.”

“The financial industry’s processes are ripe for improvement and our investor community has an appetite to help startups in that space. We look forward to fostering innovation in partnership with one of the most powerful players in the fintech space,” said Alejandro Cremades, Co-founder and Executive Chairman at Onevest.

Santander is the largest bank in the euro zone by market value and among the largest banks on a global basis, while Onevest has managed to build one of the largest startup ecosystems with over 2,000 entrepreneurs registering to its online ecosystem every month via CoFoundersLab which connects entrepreneurs with other co-founders and advisors.

Richard Kastelein
In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, the Netherlands where he has set down his anchor to raise a family and write. Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015) and director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He has written over 2500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published in Harvard Business Review, Venturebeat, Wired, The Guardian and a number of other publications. Kastelein has an Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute software and Technology. He has over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division. Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology at over 50 events in 30+ cities.
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