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Irofit Technologies, Sokowatch & Vugapay win Innotribe’s 2017 Startup Challenge for Africa

Irofit Technologies, Sokowatch & Vugapay win Innotribe’s 2017 Startup Challenge for Africa

18 May 2017

Winning startups receive a 10,000 EUR cash prize each and will share their insights about FinTech innovation in Africa with the global financial community during Sibos

Abidjan, 18 May 2017 – Innotribe’s Startup Challenge attendees selected the three most promising African FinTech companies during its third annual showcase in the region. The event was held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on Wednesday 17 May, in partnership with SWIFT’s African Regional Conference (ARC).

The three winners are:

  • Based in Nigeria, Irofit Technologies is providing a mobile Point of Sale that helps small retailers process card payments in REAL-TIME, even in settings where internet connection is poor.

Awesome coaches, invaluable feedback, and inspiring fellow-entrepreneurs.

Omoniyi Olawale, Co-Founder & CEO
  • Based in Kenya, Sokowatch Who are a last-mile distribution channel for consumer goods companies to better reach and sell more to small shops through an SMS ordering system.

Being coached by some of the most knowledgeable startup investors in Africa and Silicon Valley was an invaluable experience in helping us craft our pitch for a global financial audience.

Daniel Yu, Founder & CEO                               
  • Based in Rwanda, Vugapay is Helping mobile money merchants to get paid across Africa.                                                                                                  

I have learnt a lot on perfecting my pitch deck.

Patrick Muhire, Co-founder.                                                                                                        

The winning startups receive a 10,000 EUR cash prize and invitations to attend Sibos, SWIFT’s annual global financial services conference, taking place from 16-19 October in Toronto this year. At the event, the startups will share the stage with FinTech experts, banks and financial institutions from across the globe and will provide great insights on innovation happening in Africa.

In its 24th year, ARC brings together policy makers, industry leaders and the broader financial community from across the African continent. Typically attracting up to 500 delegates from over 40 countries, the conference was the perfect place for our startups to deliver compelling pitches around their innovative products and demonstrate how they could support the economic development of the continent

“Our partnership with SWIFT’s African Regional Conference over the last three years has highlighted how much SWIFT’s community is keen to understand FinTech innovation, whether we refer to its latest developments, benefits or the opportunities it can unlock”, says Fabian Vandenreydt, Global Head of Securities Markets, Innotribe and the SWIFT Institute at SWIFT. “It was a real pleasure for us to provide expert mentoring and in-depth industry feedback to the 9 participating startups and we wish them all a lot of success in the future”.

Commenting on the Innotribe finalists, Sido Bestani, Head of Middle East, Turkey and Africa at SWIFT says: “The Innotribe showcase at ARC gives delegates an unique opportunity to tap into the most exciting new Fintech businesses on the continent. This year’s finalists are providing real solutions to the most pressing challenges facing the African financial industry including financial crime compliance, financial inclusion and supply chain finance.”

The Innotribe showcase at ARC gives delegates an unique opportunity to tap into the most exciting new Fintech businesses on the continent.

Sido Bestani, Head of Middle East, Turkey and Africa at SWIFT

The African showcase was the first regional event to be held in 2017. The next regional Startup Challenge will be organised in St Petersburg on 14 July 2017 during the Bank of Russia’s International Financial Congress (IFC). Hosted by the Bank of Russia, our general partner for this first Startup Challenge in Russia, the IFC is Russia's largest international financial forum and will take place from 12-14 July 2017.

For more information about Innotribe and the Startup Challenge, please visit:

About Innotribe
Launched in 2009, SWIFT Innotribe is about innovation and connecting people, networks and ideas. We bring together global innovators and investors, strategists, and influential decision-makers from leading financial institutions across the globe, providing them early insights into innovations that could disrupt current business models and create opportunities for new ones. Through the Startup Challenge competition, we bridge the gap between the startup ecosystem and the financial service community.

For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter: @innotribe and Linkedin: Innotribe.

SWIFT is a global member-owned cooperative and the world’s leading provider of secure financial messaging services. We provide our community with a platform for messaging, standards for communicating and we offer products and services to facilitate access and integration; identification, analysis and financial crime compliance. Our messaging platform, products and services connect more than 11,000 banking and securities organisations, market infrastructures and corporate customers in more than 200 countries and territories, enabling them to communicate securely and exchange standardised financial messages in a reliable way. As their trusted provider, we facilitate global and local financial flows, support trade and commerce all around the world; we relentlessly pursue operational excellence and continually seek ways to lower costs, reduce risks and eliminate operational inefficiencies. Headquartered in Belgium, SWIFT’s international governance and oversight reinforces the neutral, global character of its cooperative structure. SWIFT’s global office network ensures an active presence in all the major financial centres.

For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter: @swiftcommunity and LinkedIn: SWIFT

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