Pan-African banking group Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), the parent company of Ecobank has made official the winners of the 2018 fintech challenge. The finalists were announced at the Group’s Fintech Fellowship fair at its HQ in Lome, Togo.
From a group of ten finalists, Tanzania’s Nala grabbed the top spot. The second position was held by South Africa’s Virtual Identity, while the second runners-up was Nigeria’s Wallet.ng. The firms were awarded US$ 10,000, $7,000 and $5,000 respectively.
Nala prides itself as an offline mobile money application and provides a unified user interface and experience in which multiple financial services can be connected on one platform. Nala says the app is capable of hosting multiple SIMs, hence a user can manage their spending and take control of their money.
Virtual Identity is a platform that targets to replace traditional customer onboarding for banks. The process is completely digital as it creates a virtual video conferencing link between the bank/agent and a customer. According to the creators, it is web-based and eliminates the need to complete lengthy form applications from anywhere, making a convenient and prompt solution.
Lastly is Wallet.ng that is an alternative banking platform for folks who appreciate the services of a digital platform. Its core strength is building a banking platform that is as native to customers’ devices as Facebook and WhatsApp.
The competition, which was designed and supported by FMO, Microsoft4Afrika and Cellulant, among others, received more than 412 applications from fintech entrepreneurs across Africa, Asia, North America and Asia.
All eleven (11) finalists were inducted into the Ecobank Fintech Fellowship, a one-year business program where they can explore opportunities for commercial partnerships with the Ecobank Group, to launch and scale products across Ecobank’s 33 country markets in the continent.
It is also worth noting that among the many tech-based fellowships that competitively select winners out of a pool of applicants, this is the first one that did not include any group from Kenya.
“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,” said Ade Ayeyemi, Ecobank Group CEO.