Nigeria’s Irofit Technologies, Kenya’s Sokowatch and Rwanda’s VugaPay have emerged winners of Innotribe’s Startup Challenge for Africa for 2017, with each picking up US$11,100 (€10,000) cash prizes and a spot at this year’s Sibos in Toronto.
Announced earlier this year, the challenge was aimed at giving young African financial technology startups the opportunity to showcase their products and receive expert coaching, mentoring and funding.
Following calls for applications, about 100 submissions were received from startups in 16 countries, with South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya dominating the list. The judges eventually picked 10 startups to compete in the final.
At the final, which held during SWIFT’s African Regional Conference (ARC) on 17 May in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, the audience selected Irofit, Sokowatch & Vugapay as the most promising fintech startups in the contest.
Irofit Technologies provides a mobile Point of Sale that helps small retailers process card payments in real time, even in areas with poor internet connection, while Sokowatch provides an SMS ordering system for consumer goods companies to better reach and sell more to small shops. As for Vugapay, it is helping mobile money merchants to get paid across Africa.
“Our partnership with SWIFT’s African Regional Conference over the last three years has highlighted how much SWIFT’s community is keen to understand FinTech innovation, whether we refer to its latest developments, benefits or the opportunities it can unlock,” said Fabian Vandenreydt, Global Head of Securities Markets, Innotribe and the SWIFT Institute at SWIFT.
He added, “It was a real pleasure for us to provide expert mentoring and in-depth industry feedback to the 9 participating startups and we wish them all a lot of success in the future.”
Besides the cash prizes, the three startups will share the stage with fintech experts at Sibos in Toronto, Canada from 16 – 19 October 2017, providing great insights on innovation happening in Africa to the financial industry at large.