Karandaaz Pakistan announced ‘Matilda Solutions’, ‘Love for Data’, and ‘AgriMart, as the winners of its third round of annual FinTech Disrupt Challenge after a close competition between 16 extraordinary technology startups with ideas for financial inclusion. The three outstanding FinTechs will each receive a funding up to $100,000 from Karandaaz to implement their ideas. The pitch round for the Karandaaz FinTech Disrupt Challenge 2018 was held at the Hive in Karachi and the judges’ panel comprised of Mr. Khurram Zafar, Director 47 ventures; Rabeel Warraich, Founder and CEO, Sarmayacar; Sameer Chishty, Venture Partner, SparksLab Global; Shahid Mustafa, President and CEO, Telenor Microfinance Bank; and Dr. Ayseha K. Khan, Country Director, Acumen.
The annual Karandaaz Fintech Disrupt Challenge, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, now in its third consecutive year running, supports FinTech sector in Pakistan and provides seed money to the most promising innovative responses for removing bottlenecks in Pakistan’s financial services sector. This year, Karandaaz had invited FinTechs to design and present solutions in nine thematic areas including payments, interoperability, consumer/retail banking, regtech, insurtech, mobile wallets, loyalty programs, lending and savings.
Rehan Akhtar, Chief Digital Officer Karadaaz said, “Two years ago when we started the FinTech Disrupt Challenge, we aimed to nurture enough challengers and disruptors in the market and introduce more innovative products and services for the banks and formal financial industry to take benefit from and drive greater financial inclusion in the country. This year we pivoted our model a bit and instead of just giving seed money to the most promising ideas, we also got involved in helping a larger pool improve their products and services through a focused 5 month long acceleration program prior to the pitch round.”
Speaking to the startups, CEO Karandaaz Pakistan, Ali Sarfraz said, “I extend my heartiest felicitations to the winning teams of this years’ disrupt challenge and hope that they and many others who were part of the acceleration programme for FinTechs that Karandaaz ran with its partner, FinTech Factory, will be able to break the glass ceilings and expand their startups way and beyond. This new breed of startups trying to disrupt the financial technology space in Pakistan will go a long way in transforming the country’s financial service landscape and usher in greater inclusion and convenience for underserved communities.”
Speaking at the occasion, Michael Weigand, Director of the Financial Services for the Poor program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said, “About 1.7 billion people worldwide are still excluded from formal financial services. Without formal financial histories, people are also cut off from potentially stabilizing and uplifting opportunities like building credit or getting a loan to start a business. The foundation’s Financial Services for the Poor program works to broaden the reach of low-cost digital financial services for the poor. Our strategy is aimed at supporting what we believe are the most catalytic approaches to financial inclusion: helping to drive the development of digital payment systems, advancing gender equality, and supporting the development of national and regional strategies to provide exemplar models. I was highly impressed by the innovative ideas presented today and wish them all the best.”
The Fintech Disrupt Challenge is an extension of Karandaaz Pakistan’s overall ambition of promoting financial inclusion to marginalized segments of the society. Karandaaz extends financial and technical support to the financial technology startups that demonstrate substantial potential to create value for the society. It has financial and institutional support from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.