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Yasaman Hadjibashi, Barclays Africa Group Chief Creation Officer

Barclays Africa Group and Techstars on 20 April 2017, released the names of ten financial-technology (fintech) companies selected to participate in the second Barclays Accelerator programme, powered by Techstars.

The successful companies, all focused on providing fintech solutions in Africa, will participate in a 13-week growth acceleration programme at Barclays Africa’s Rise fintech innovation hub in Cape Town from mid-May.

The 2017 programme participants are: Flexpay (Kenya), Howler (South Africa), Spatialedge (South Africa), Abe.ai (USA), The Sun Exchange (South Africa), Byte Money (South Africa), Avenews-GT (Israel), FOMO Travel (South Africa), Kapitalwise (USA) and eCOIDA (South Africa).

“Our diverse, ambitious, and growth-hungry African continent with its young population is finding a growing self-actualization momentum now more than ever, with the largest segment being the millennials. Through our deep and lean collaborations with fintechs, and in fact all kinds of startups, we aim to further drive this momentum that can result in the creation and accelerated distribution of new products, experiences, and services that will make a difference for our African communities,” says Yasaman Hadjibashi, Barclays Africa Group Chief Creation Officer.

Applications were received from fintech startups in 52 countries. Through a rigorous and competitive process, the ten successful companies were selected to participate in the 13-week accelerator programme.

The best fintech solutions could be made available across the Barclays Africa Group footprint comprising close to 12 million customers in ten African markets, and participants could have the opportunity to leverage the bank’s expertise and technology teams.

“Each of the ten successful companies represented something unique that we believe has the potential to become a significant and relevant player on a global scale,” says Yossi Hasson, MD of Techstars.

“Access to Barclays Africa’s base is a significant opportunity for these fintech companies to greatly accelerate their growth through partnership or distribution deals with Barclays and access to their senior executives as mentors, providing key expertise to the startups that ordinarily would be almost impossible to get access to,” adds Hasson.

The companies will follow the proven Techstars model and they will have direct access to top mentors, investors and venture capitalists in Africa as well life-long access to the Techstars global network. The Accelerator programme aims to uncover the next ‘Paypal’ by working with exceptional fintech entrepreneurs innovating Africa’s financial services industry.

“Techstars is the best global ecosystem for entrepreneurs to bring new technologies to market,” says Hasson.

“Techstars is significant as it has been working with technology businesses since 2006 and has invested in more than 920 companies which have gone on to raise over $3 billion dollars in funding. Ninety percent of companies that have been through a Techstars Accelerator are still active today or have been acquired”.

2017 Barclays Accelerator participants:

Abe.ai (USA): Designs artificial intelligence solutions for the banking industry, helping banks better engage and support their customers at scale; significantly reducing the costs of servicing and acquiring customers through the use of chatbots.

FOMO Travel (SA): Provides a gamification model for travel, which gives the user the opportunity to reduce their financial obligation through crowdfunding, rewards and incentives.

Avenews-GT (ISRAEL): Designed a digital trading platform based on blockchain technology, modernising agricultural trade by connecting food wholesalers to food producers directly, reducing distribution costs, creating financial security, and providing chain transparency.

Byte Money (SA): Provides solutions that help avoid mismanagement of payments in the ‘informal finance sector’. Byte Money taps into and revolutionises existing third-world payment channels and integrates them with first-world technologies.

Flexpay (Kenya): Provides an automated and secured layaway system that manages the purchase of goods. Customers can choose to pay for goods over varying periods of time.

Howler (SA): Provides an event commerce platform. Howler is the consolidation of three powerful events and entertainment platforms, designed at the highest benchmark of service and technology, helping consumers and event organisers to make moments that matter.

Spatialedge (SA): Focused on consumer analytics and targeting. Using a proprietary consumer database, Spatialedge enriches and verifies clients’ customers by spatially locating them, mapping them, and use advanced analytics to help clients locate and target new customers.

Kapitalwise (US): Simplifies the investment process for millennials by automating their investment decisions using machine learning and predictive analytics.

eCOIDA (SA): eCOIDA is an online insurance technology platform; a central database that connects all role players in real-time, creating an accurate workflow, fraud-free, paperless claims-processing platform.

The Sun Exchange (SA):. The Sun Exchange enables anyone anywhere to own and earn from solar panels powering Africa, India and other developing economies. The exchange allows for collaborative solar finance using blockchain.

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