Four FinTech startups have won $100,000 (£65,400) backing from Citi after a search for new technology and innovation to transform banking and business.
London-based Swave, an app that encourages users to monitor spending and make saving easier, trading platform Trade It, a supply chain solution created by Umati Capital and textbook subscription app Kytabu were each awarded $25,000 after pitching at the Citi Mobile Challenge, held across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“Each award recipient demonstrated a maniacal focus on creating a truly distinctive client experience. Without that focus it will be difficult to be successful over the long-term," said Citi EMEA chief Jim Cowles. “As banks continue to redefine themselves, they must work with the broader FinTech community to discover fresh ideas that can help create the client experience of tomorrow."
Scores of startups from 18 countries pitched 77 concepts to top executives from Citi, as well as IBM, Mastercard and Uber, which also supported the challenge, held at events in London, Warsaw, Jerusalem and Nairobi.
“We invited technology developers to reimagine digital banking and they went far beyond,” said Heather Cox, Citi's client experience chief and digital marketing officer for global consumer banking.“They presented solutions that could transform financial services and fuel progress in other industries like transportation and education. These developers are truly inspiring. Selecting the top innovations was a challenge and we are excited to explore bringing their solutions to market.”
It's the third demo day held by Citi after previous events held in the US and Latin America. The bank is planning the next Mobile Challenge to hunt FinTech innovators in Asia.
Here are the winners, in their own words.
Swave - London
“At Swave we know saving is hard. But Swaving is simple. Our easy-to-use app turns spending habits into saving habits to help people achieve their financial dreams. With a personal and rewarding service, Swave can motivate even the biggest spender to save a bit more.
"The concept does not rely on budgets, categorizing spending or time-consuming effort by the user. Ideas are quick, actionable and linked to an individual’s spending habits. In a single swipe the customer moves money into their savings account. The result is motivated savers who save little and often towards life changing goals.”
Trade It - New York
“Trade It could enable consumers to place orders for equities on the Citi Mobile app or from any of Trade It's partners that include top publishers and finance apps. TradeIt is a patent pending solution that enables consumers to trade anywhere online and in-app with their existing brokerage relationship.
"TradeIt is distributed on eight top publishers and four leading apps that give it unparalleled reach in the business and finance category. By integrating with TradeIt, customers are provided with pervasive digital access to trading and TouchID trading on the app.”
Umati - Nairobi
“The UMATI solution is a suite of mobile and web applications which allow corporations and their SME suppliers to access working capital advances against outstanding payments.”
Kytabu - Nairobi
“Everything a student needs for school and life, in the palm of their hands. Kytabu is a textbook subscription application that gives students access to all the books in their education curriculum, on a single device, at a low-cost subscription model.
"Kytabu leases textbooks to students on a timeframe which works for them, for less than $0.18 a day. The added value of using electronic devices is the improved learning experience that comes with it including video and audio learning facilities as well as interactive learning and collaboration in and outside classrooms.”