In a keenly contested Financial Technology (Fintech) challenge with applications from 412 innovative fintech entrepreneurs from across Africa, Europe, North America, and Asia, Nala, from Tanzania beat ten other finalists to emerge overall winner of the competition.
The competition which was organized by Ecobank, also saw Virtual Identity from South Africa and Wallet.ng from Nigeria pick up the second and third positions. While Nala won a cash prize of US$10,0000, Virtual Reality and Wallet.ng went home with $7,000 and US$5,000 respectively.
All 11 finalists were officially inducted into the Ecobank Fintech Fellowship programme to explore commercial partnerships with the pan-African banking giant.
Winners of the 2018 Ecobank Fintech Challenge were announced at a ceremony held at Ecobank’s headquarters in Lome, Togo.
Nala, based in Tanzania, is a mobile money application that works offline, without an internet connection. Nala provides a unified user experience in which multiple financial services can be connected to one application. It can host multiple SIMs, enabling users to manage their spending and take control of their finances.
Second-placed Virtual Identity is an innovative platform designed to disrupt traditional customer onboarding for banks. The process is fully digitalized, creating a virtual video conferencing link between the agent and the customer. Its easy-to-use, web-based solution allows the client to complete tedious Know-Your-Customer (KYC) processes from anywhere, making it both convenient and time-saving.
The third-placed prize winner, Wallet.ng, is a start-up providing an alternative bank for a growing generation of digital natives. Its core strength is building a banking platform that is as native to customers’ devices as Facebook and WhatsApp.
Ecobank Group’s CEO, Ade Ayeyemi, praised the finalists for their innovative solutions and welcomed them to the Fellowship: “We are proud of the impressive start-ups that made it to our 2018 final. They are shining examples of the entrepreneurial spirit and creativity that will propel our continent’s global competitiveness in the commercial services markets, and I sincerely expect some, if not all, of them to be the business titans of tomorrow. They have my congratulations and we look forward to working closely with all eleven Fellows over the next year to deliver innovative banking services at better price-points that will improve the lives of Africans.”
The eleven (11) finalists who were inducted into the Ecobank Fintech Fellowship, will have access to a one-year business program where they can explore opportunities for commercial partnerships with the Ecobank Group, also launch and scale products across Ecobank’s 33 country markets in the continent.
On its second year running, the Ecobank Fintech Challenge has brought together Fintech start-ups and innovators, policymakers, investors and development organizations from across the world to network, witness the 2018 finalists’ exhibitions, and celebrate the induction of the finalists into the 2018 Ecobank Fintech Fellowship.
Also present at the finals was the Honourable Minister of Business Development of Ghana, Alhaji Dr. Ibrahim Awal Mohammed, who commended Ecobank for this initiative and urged more support for young African entrepreneurs to improve job creation on the continent.
The Ecobank Fintech Challenge and Fellowship is designed and managed by the advisory firm Konfidants and supported by FMO, Microsoft4Afrika, Accion Venture Labs, Cellulant and FinConecta.