Over 1,400 Fintech startups from 64 countries across Africa and beyond applied for this year’s Ecobank Fintech Challenge with eight of them making the cut to the final where they will compete for the ultimate prize. This is the sixth edition of this international competition, with the highest number of applications on record.
Ecobank Group, Africa’s leading pan-African banking group, said this year’s applications had more than doubled compared to last year’s 703 applications received from 59 countries. In 2022 Nigeria’s fintech startup, ‘Touch and Pay’, wowed the jury with their ‘Cowry App’ to win the top prize of US$50,000.
The eight finalists who emerged from the fiercely competitive pool will compete for the coveted top prize of US$50,000 at the Grand Finale, which is scheduled to take place at the Ecobank Pan African Centre in Lomé, Togo, on 6 October 2023.
The 2023 Ecobank Fintech Challenge finalists in alphabetical order are:
- Flexpay Technologies (Kenya) – FlexPay offers customers a merchant-embedded saving-based purchase experience called Save Now, Buy Later.
- IPOXCap AI (South Africa) – FinanceGPT is a financial analysis platform for frontier markets. It processes structured and unstructured financial data to generate actionable insights, using advanced algorithms for financial forecasting, health monitoring and valuation.
- Kastelo (South Africa) – Provides a democratised solution through diversified products, focusing on transaction, savings and forex offerings, aimed at banking the underbanked in emerging markets through client-centric solutions.
- Koree (Cameroon) – Koree is a card wallet application that addresses sub-Saharan Francophone Africa spare change scarcity by digitising cash merchant payments, while empowering millions of African consumers through an incentive reward system.
- Kori Tech (Senegal) – Koripass is an E-wallet linked to physical payment accessories such as bracelets, stickers and keychains. It enables quick and easy merchant payments using NFC and QR Code technology. No internet or smartphone required.
- Smart Teller Technologies Limited (Nigeria) – Empowering cooperative digital banking, IT services, and online bill payments for seamless services.
- Rubyx (Belgium and Senegal) – Rubyx enables digital lending solutions for service providers in emerging markets to bridge the financing gap that faces informal entrepreneurs and small businesses to fund their activities.
- Wolf Technologies (Democratic Republic of Congo) – Makuta is a state-of-the-art application that provides a simple, convenient and secure electronic money transfer and payment experience.
Ecobank Group Chief Executive Officer, Jeremy Awori, who will be hosting the Fintech Challenge final for the first time said: “We are encouraged by the very high number of applications received for the sixth edition of our Ecobank Fintech Challenge. The significant increase in the number of participants reflects the growing impact of our investments in the fintech space, and on our operations and fintech initiatives across Africa. The finalists went through a rigorous process, and we look forward to the pitches of the eight competitors vying for the top prize and ultimately partnering with the Ecobank Group.”
On his part, Dr. Tomisin Fashina, Ecobank Group Executive, Operations and Technology, congratulated the eight finalists of the 2023 Ecobank Fintech Challenge and said, “We are proud to support the development of fintechs to drive digital banking transformation across Africa and beyond. The ever-increasing level of participation – from just 412 applications in 2018 to 1,490 submissions this year – reflects the richness of the untapped innovation and talent that exists across our continent.”
As in previous editions, all the finalists in the 6th edition will be inducted into the Ecobank Fintech Fellowship Programme which offers:
- Product roll-out on a pan-African scale: Providing the opportunity to explore product and business integration with Ecobank and potentially launch products or services in all or part of Ecobank’s 35-country pan-African ecosystem.
- Access to Ecobank’s pan-African Banking Sandbox: Opportunity to test and develop products in the pan-African market.
- Priority access to Ecobank’s venture capital partners: Opportunity for access to funding.
The Ecobank Fintech Challenge recognises and promotes groundbreaking African fintech start-ups. The initiative is consistent with Ecobank’s Fintech strategy of building partnerships with African fintechs to help transform digital finance and banking.
The 2023 edition of the Ecobank Fintech Challenge is co-sponsored by Huawei, Arise Invest, Asky Airlines and Proparco, and supported by ALX Africa, , ABAN Angels, Africa Fintech Network, MEST Africa, Bluespace, Naija Startups, Jeune Afrique, TechCabal and Konfidants.