Innotribe plans for center stage at SIBOS is a sign of Fintech going mainstream

Two themes jump out from the last 6 months of writing every day for Daily Fintech.

  • “Bits don’t stop at borders but money has to show it’s passport”. The biggest story of the 21st century is the emergence of billions of people from subsistence farming into a global middle class. That implies a massive increase in cross border trade. Yet Governments around the world prize their ability to regulate finance. Figuring out how to go global within this constraint is a key mission for many Fintech founding teams.
  • Co-Optition between Banks and Fintech startups. The distinction between Traditional Fintech (supplying technology to Banks) and Emergent Fintech (providing Financial Services directly to consumers and businesses in competition with Banks) is too crude. It is often a more nuanced Co-optition relationship, sometimes competing and sometimes partnering.

If either of those are issues that resonate you might consider applying to the Innotribe Challenge. Applications close in a few days on 22nd Feb.

Innotribe is run by SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Financial Telecommunications is a member-owned cooperative that operates the SWIFT messaging system).

I spoke to Peter Vander Auwera from Innotribe who made a couple of interesting points about the 2015 Startup Challenge:

  1. No fees and no equity. Startups pay their own travel expenses and that is it.
  1. Banker access. You get visibility with media and investors as with any pitch event, but through Innotribe you will also be communicating with the people at the banks who are charged with innovation and have the budget to act on that.
  1. Global Exposure through Semi Finals and Finals. The Finals are in Singapore in October and before that you present at the Semi Finals in four Regional Showcases taking place in London, Cape Town, Singapore and New York. Twenty firms are selected at the Semi Finals to present at the Finals in Singapore in October.
  1. US$50,000 cash prize for the early stage winner at SIBOS.

“The challenge is open to early-stage and growth-stage startups working in financial technology or technology-enabled financial services (no consulting or outsourcing) such as payments, securities, trading, big data/data analytics, compliance, security, b2b or b2b2c mobile, small business apps and services and/or IT infrastructure.”

Applications close on 22nd Feb (i.e. in a few days) and they tell me that applying requires only a 1-page questionnaire and a pitch deck, so it shouldn’t take most companies more than 20 minutes to apply.

Disclosure: Daily Fintech is a Media Partner and I will be one of the Judges of the Challenge.

The 2015 Innotribe Challenge is significant because of what Peter Vander Auwera was telling me about Innotribe taking “center stage” at SIBOS this year (October in Singapore). SIBOS is the big annual gathering folks involved in banking technology. In my Misys days, attending SIBOS was an annual rite of passage, locked into the calendar. In the past, SIBOS was firmly in the Traditional Fintech world. Innotribe was born from the need for Banks to understand the innovation coming from Fintech startups. Therefore Innotribe “taking center stage” is a recognition by the Banks which own SWIFT that transformation through innovation is now an urgent priority, which echoes the move of Fintech into the mainstream that Daily Fintech has been chronicling.


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