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Barclays, fintechs test solutions for Africa

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Barclays Africa Group will collaborate with nine fintech companies to explore promising new technology-based solutions that could prompt significant improvements for consumers and in bank services.
The fintechs include Abe.ai from the US, Kapitalwise from the US, as well as FOMO Group and Byte Money from South Africa to test the potential to scale up and roll out the solutions across the 10 countries where Barclays Africa Group has operations.
Other companies include Howler, FlexPay, Spatialedge, Sun Exchange and Avenews-GT.
“The solutions created by these companies are among the top innovations in the fintech space in the world right now,” says Yasaman Hadjibashi, chief creation officer at Barclays Africa Group. “Any of these solutions could have the potential to solve some of the biggest challenges facing the financial services sector in Africa.”
The fintech companies are among 10 businesses that participated in the 2017 Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars, a worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. The 13-week mentorship driven accelerator programme, hosted at Rise, Barclays Africa Group’s fintech innovation hub in Cape Town during May to July, follows the renowned Techstars curriculum which comprises intensive networking and development initiatives. The experience is enhanced through the involvement of local and global mentors, including industry experts and Barclays Africa executives.
The 10 companies showcased their solutions during a ‘demo day’ held in Cape Town this week. The participating companies were selected in a robust and competitive process that attracted applications from more than 50 countries. Barclays Africa Group is exploring potential agreements with further participants.
“The demo day, to an audience of investors and corporate partners, showcased both the breadth and depth of the innovations happening here in Africa. I’m excited by the caliber and potential that these companies have to offer,” says Yossi Hasson, MD of Techstars (Barclays Accelerator).
The financial services industry has experienced significant disruption over the past few years as agile fintech start-up companies introduced solutions that brought step-changes to customer convenience and efficiency. Barclays Africa Group is staying ahead of the curve by embracing start-ups and their agile approach, seeking out their disruptive thinking and challenging the norm.
Rise, Barclays Africa Group’s fintech hub in Cape Town, was established to foster innovation and create the future of financial services together with Rise centres in New York, London, Mumbai, Tel Aviv and others. The global Rise network is a community of the world’s brightest startups, experts, investors and colleagues. The network offers startups access to an exclusive network of curated experts, businesses and partners so they can work together, learn together and solve the biggest industry challenges together.
“Innovation is the powerful collaboration of bright humble minds that are continuously originating, testing and shipping new customer-centric products,” says Hadjibashi.