Kenyan startup wins global mobile technology challenge

By / May 29, 2015 | 8:50 am



Kenyan-startup-wins-global-mobile-technology-challenge

Umati Capital, which is a Kenyan startup was one of the key winners in the list of top innovations announced yesterday in the Citi Mobile Challenge across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). This global initiative launched in February 2015 invited developers to build solutions based on Citi’s digital platform and present concepts at events in Jerusalem, London, Nairobi and Warsaw.

Umati Capital is one of the four top solutions that will receive a cash award of $25,000 from Citi for their innovation. Others are Swave from the UK, Kytabu app from Kenya, and Trade It from US.

Teams from 18 countries presented 77 working prototypes to Citi executives and technology influencers at four Demo Days in April held in Jerusalem, London, Nairobi and Warsaw. Finalists competed for an opportunity to take their technologies into production with Citi’s support, plus a share of $100,000 in cash awards and a suite of services from Citi Mobile Challenge sponsors. Entries were evaluated on their impact, viability, user experience and functionality.

‘‘We are thrilled to be selected as one of the top innovators in financial services products across Europe, Middle East & Africa, says Ivan Mbowa one of the Umati Capital co-founders. ‘’Following the win, we plan to work with Citi to provide our technology-driven finance solutions to the SME suppliers of Citi’s corporate clients. We believe that Citi is the perfect partner to drive adoption of our product in Kenya and all other markets in which Citi is present within Sub-Saharan Africa.’’

Umati Supply Chain Finance Solution was voted the most innovative solution for businesses. The Umati solution is a suite of mobile and web applications which allow corporations and their SME suppliers to access working capital advances against outstanding payments.

‘’We will continue to use ICT platforms to increase access to financial services.  We believe that there is a credit gap that can only be addressed through the use of scalable technology platforms,’’ another co-founder Munyutu Waigi says of the award.

Umati Capital is a Kenyan startup financial services company that aims to revolutionize access to finance through the consistent and innovative use of technology. Launched in September 2012, Umati is a non-bank financial institution focused on the provision of credit and related payment technologies.

The firm is currently focused within agri-business supply chains, retailer value chains and fast moving consumer goods manufacturers. It leverages proprietary technology to provide branchless financial services to small scale suppliers, trading companies and industrial processors.

“Each award recipient demonstrated a maniacal focus on creating a truly distinctive client experience. Without that focus it will be difficult to be successful over the long-term,” said Jim Cowles, CEO of Citi for Europe, the Middle East and Africa on the awards. “As banks continue to redefine themselves, they must work with the broader FinTech community to discover fresh ideas that can help create the client experience of tomorrow. That’s why we’re here and that is what will help determine our long-term success.”

“We invited technology developers to reimagine digital banking and they went far beyond,” said Heather Cox, Chief Client Experience, Digital and Marketing Officer for Global Consumer Banking at Citi. “They presented solutions that could transform financial services and fuel progress in other industries like transportation and education. These developers are truly inspiring. Selecting the top innovations was a challenge and we are excited to explore bringing their solutions to market.”

Other sponsors for Citi Mobile Challenge were IBM, MasterCard and Uber.

First held in Latin America and the U.S. in 2014, the Citi Mobile Challenge has received participation from thousands of developers across 101 countries. Citi plans to expand the Mobile Challenge to deepen developer engagement, connect directly with new innovation hubs, and uncover fresh approaches to expanding financial inclusion through technology.

For more information about Citi Mobile Challenge, visit www.citimobilechallenge.com and follow along on social media: #CitiMobileChallenge.







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