Innotribe, SWIFT’s fintech initiative, is calling for startups to apply to its 2015 Startup Challenge, which helps connect startups with leading fintech experts and investors.
Following a series of regional showcases in which startups will demo and pitch their products, 20 of the most innovative companies from around the world will be chosen to take part in the final event in Singapore this October. The startups will be selected by over 500 industry experts including angel investors, VCs, and bank decision makers.
Fabian Vandenreydt, head of markets management, Innotribe, and the SWIFT Institute, said Innotribe is looking forward to giving participants exposure to financial institutions.
“Every year the bar gets higher with many impressive applications from startups coming from across the globe. It is great to see this community using Innotribe as a platform of choice, and allows us to provide them with even greater opportunities to connect with the financial industry,” Vandenreydt said.
Australian startup Pocketbook, a budget planning and personal finance platform, made it to the final stages of Innotribe in 2013. Picking up $500,000 in investment soon after the competition, Pocketbook has gone from strength to strength since, hitting 100,000 users in September last year.
Bosco Tan, co-founder of Pocketbook, said the startup’s experience at the Startup Challenge competition was overwhelmingly positive.
“We were able to test our pitch in front of the who’s who of financial institutions globally. That level of feedback in such a compressed setting is rarely afforded to a bootstrapped startup that’s pre-funding,” he said.
“The program also opened up our eyes to a much more global view of where financial services innovation is needed. In Australia, as a first-world banking system, we’re very much sheltered from the issues like populations being unbanked, or the market opportunity for improving remittance.”
He said the competition forces startups to think of the global appeal of their solution and scaleability.
“A lot of questions will get asked of your business with the “how will it look in my market” view. So it’s really important to think as your audience would,” he said.
Applications to the Startup Challenge close on February 22.