Kenya’s Alternative Circle will be one of the world’s top 20 finalists for the 2017 Global FinTech Hackcelerator and FinTech Awards. The program, which looks for the most innovative startups across the globe that are offering solutions to the growing fintech and financial services industry, invited applicants to showcase their products. Submission of applications came to an end in July, and as of August 28, the 20 finalists are undergoing a 12-week virtual program that aims to contextualize and improve their solutions before the main event that will take place on November 16 at the Singapore Fintech Festival.
With up to 4 categories namely Customer-Facing, Financial Inclusion, RegTech and General, Alternative Circle managed to scoop a spot in the Financial inclusion group, making it the only African startup in all categories. Other startups in Financial Inclusion include ftcash from India, Malaysia’s MyCash Online, as well as ConfirmU and AID:Tech of Israel and U.K. respectively.
Alternative Circle’s solution is a locally-built mobile loan app called Shika that we looked into a couple of days ago. We loved its design, but there are a couple of areas that it needs to improve on, including app stability and other minor fixes. However, the app is still in development so we will cut them some slack as they work on releasing a stable version. For the moment, Shika is only available on Android.
In early 2017, Alternative Circle, which was founded in 2016, received $1.1 million in funding from CreditInfo to help the company scale upwards. That partnership spurred a lot of development in the company as the company was able to get access to over 200 developers to enhance its product.
A $50,000 prize will be presented to the winner, which will add to $15,000 for every participant that made it to the finals. After the event, the terms will work with industry-leading companies for actual adoption and integration of their products into a real client context.