The Ecobank Fintech Challenge, an annual event that recognises and promotes groundbreaking African fintech startups, has unveiled its finalists for 2023.
Now in its sixth edition, this year’s competition has attracted its highest-ever number of applications, indicating the escalating influence of fintech in shaping the financial landscape.
More than 1,400 fintech startups from 64 countries across Africa and beyond applied for this year’s Ecobank Fintech Challenge – more than double compared to last year’s 703 applications received from 59 countries.
The challenge has now narrowed down to eight finalists who will compete for the coveted top prize of US$50,000 at the Grand Finale, scheduled to take place at the Ecobank Pan African Centre in Lomé, Togo, on 6 October 2023.
Among the finalists is Flexpay Technologies from Kenya, which offers a merchant-embedded saving-based purchase experience called ‘Save Now, Buy Later’. South African startup IPOXCap AI introduces FinanceGPT, a platform that processes structured and unstructured financial data to provide actionable insights, financial forecasting, health monitoring and valuation for frontier markets.
Kastelo, also from South Africa, focuses on transaction, savings, and forex offerings with a mission to bank the underbanked in emerging markets. While Koree from Cameroon addresses the scarcity of spare change by digitising cash merchant payments through its card wallet application, empowering African consumers through an incentive reward system.
Kori Tech from Senegal introduces Koripass, an e-wallet linked to physical payment accessories like bracelets and stickers, enabling quick and easy merchant payments using NFC and QR Code technology. Smart Teller Technologies Limited from Nigeria empowers cooperative digital banking, IT services, and online bill payments for seamless services.
Rubyx, with a presence in Belgium and Senegal, provides digital lending solutions for service providers in emerging markets. Lastly, Wolf Technologies from the Democratic Republic of Congo introduces Makuta, an application that provides a simple, secure, and convenient electronic money transfer and payment experience.
As the competition moves towards its grand finale, the finalists will also have the opportunity to participate in the Ecobank Fintech Fellowship Programme, which offers a platform for product roll-outs, access to Ecobank’s pan-African Banking Sandbox, and priority access to venture capital partners.
The initiative aligns with Ecobank‘s fintech strategy of building partnerships with African fintechs to help transform digital finance and banking.
Ecobank Group CEO 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.”
Touch and Pay, a Nigeria-based fintech, won the 2022 edition of the Ecobank Fintech Challenge. Touch and Pay, which processes microtransactions across Africa, such as paying for bus rides, took home a $50,000 cash prize.