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I had the honor of participating in a great FinTech event Finnosummit put on by Finnovista and BBVA in Mexico City on September 10th. Through two days of meetings, networking and competitions, we got to validate our business model with industry leaders, glean insights from years of experience, and give perspectives on what we believe to be the future of finance.
In BitNexo’s mission to bring simplicity, speed, and savings to cross border payments for SMBs through the use of blockchain technology, we had the honor of sharing the stage with 13 other amazing FinTech Startups from all around Latin America. To say I was impressed with the level of competition is an understatement. Not only were the pitches world class, but each company targeted huge pain points for a region that yearns to find scalable models to bring financial services to the unbanked and underbanked.
At the end of the day BitNexo shared the top prize with Destacame.cl, whose mission is to use alternative credit scoring models for consumers with little financial history so that they can access what may be their first financial product.
Some common themes stood out among the event and competition:
1.Bitcoin and blockchain technology had a strong showing, with 4 teams focusing on the technology, and an entire morning panel dedicated to the topic
2. Another recurring theme in both panels and startups was the ability to create a credit scoring system for people with little or no credit history, with many startups boasting proprietary scoring methodologies
3. The long tail success of Start-up Chile was present, where a country of 17 million people sent 6 of the 14 finalists, and took the top two spots.
4. The changing environment of some banks opening their doors to FinTech startups (where a panel called “collaboration or friction” regarding startups working with banks was referred to in a Freudian slip as “collaborate or destroy)
At the end of the day, a startup competition of this magnitude is just one more step into the next phase of our Startup life. It is a validation of our selection of a problem worth solving from a panel of experts in financial services, a financial push, and a lot more work ahead.
Aflore.co (CO): offering loans through its informal consultants network in their natural environment (social networks)
Bitso (MX): leading Bitcoin exchange, Bitcoin payment processor, and Ripple Gateway in Mexico
CAAAPITAL (CL): AngelList for project finance
Culqi (PE): mobile payment platform which allows every business to accept card payments from every brand
Finvox (CL): helps financial institutions in their digital transformation processes through web and mobile applications with a top-notch usability
Openpay (MX): provides an API that enables companies to accept and send payments to customers and suppliers via internet or mobile phones
Quotanda (MX): Lending as a Service platform helps schools and banks offer affordable online student financing programs in any country or currency
Uanbai (CL): a platform that integrates payments with social media
Volabit: a cash-based digital wallet that enables fast and easy international transactions through the use of Bitcoin technology
Wayniloans (AR): the first loan community with bitcoin technology between people in LatAm
Zave app (MX): save on expenses and reach savings goals through a gamified mobile app
Zoop (MX): programmable, social payments platform and very secure for credit and debit cards, wallets and online