Applications for the 2014 Innotribe Startup Challenge are now open!
The Challenge is an opportunity for FinTech and Financial Services startups and innovators to meet potential investors, customers, and partners. The Challenge, which was started back in 2009, is sponsored by SWIFT and is an initiative to start a dialogue within the financial industry. With the raising of the debt ceiling and Bitcoin calling into question the very nature of currency, this is a conversation of utmost importance.
The Challenge is for both early stage companies less than 3 years old and with less than $1 million in combined investment in the last 12 months, as well as later-stage applicants with products they consider ‘under the radar.’ Companies accepted into the Challenge will have the opportunity to interact with SWIFT’s network of over 9,700 banking organizations, security institutions, and corporate customers.
“We basically put the startups together with the banks to help them get some exposure and some investment. It also lets the banks see what’s going with the startups and see a different way of doing things,” said Kevin Johnson, Innotribe Startup Challenge Manager at SWIFT.
Startups chosen to participate in the Challenge will go before a panel of judges. The judges are from all around the world and range from VCs, to bankers, and even a few people from SWIFT, creating a broad spectrum of perspectives.
Those judges will then chose semi-finalists to be invited to three regional showcases in either London (May 2014), Singapore (May 2014), or New York (June 2014) to pitch in front of a room of 150 bankers, VCs, and investors. From that group 10 startups and 5 innovators will be invited to present at Sibos, SWIFT’s annual financial industry trade show, which will take place in Boston this year. The startup that wins will receive a $50K cash prize.
While the cash prize sounds alluring, the real prize is the unbelievable amount of exposure applicants can receive. VC, bankers, journalists, as well as SWIFT’s substantial online community offer startups a real shot at being discovered. The Innotribe Startup Challenge is the place where connections are made and partnerships are forged.
“We’ve seen $350 million in investments and transactions since the program started. Just recently one of our alumni, Kantox, got €6.5 million. So it’s not small fries that we’re attracting. The people that this gets put in front of have got the clout to make big decisions that will hopefully help the startups move up,” per Kevin Johnson.
The challenge is open to companies working in financial technology or technology-enabled financial services such as payments, securities, trading, social media, tools, bit data/data analytics, identity, b2b or b2b mobile, small business apps and services and/or IT infrastructure.
To learn more and apply check out the Innotribe Startup website.
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