Economy, Business And Markets

Top FinTech Innovators Awarded

Top FinTech Innovators AwardedTop FinTech Innovators Awarded

The FinTech Trig-Up event wrapped up this week at Khatam University, affiliated with Bank Pasargad, with top innovators receiving cash prizes.

FANAP ICT Company, affiliated to Bank Pasargad, had organized the two-day event to promote banking and payment innovations by propping up top startups in the sector through technical and financial support.

Of the 127 startups who participated in the event, 15 got the ticket to the final round where they competed to showcase their innovations in a 54-hour marathon session, reported.

Finally, “Smart Bank” was chosen as the top FinTech startup, winning a 150 million rials ($5,000) prize. It is a system capable of identifying customers, assessing their credibility and providing various banking services based on customer’s rating.

“Moneyar”, a social network for financial communications, won second place and a cash prize of 10 million rials ($3,300) while Bereshtouk application, providing long-distance near field communication payment services for restaurants, won 5 million rials ($1,650) for the third best FinTech startup.

Some significant innovation could also be seen among those who did not manage to be among the winners, such as Vamak (loan-app), a peer-to-peer lending app; Robo-Trader, automated management services for investments in the stock market; Iran-Card, provider of debit cards for foreign tourists; C-Pay, a mobile app for paying taxi fares.  

 Banking Threat

The growth of financial services in recent years by startups is turning into a major challenge for banks across the world.

According to CB Insights, a research firm, FinTech startups managed to attract $10.45 billion in investment in 2015. Bank Pasargard seems to be the first Iranian bank recognizing the challenge FinTech presents, as such companies have been growing rapidly in recent years.

Shahab Javanmardi, head of Bank Pasargad’s affiliate FANAP ICT Company, said the event is of high importance, mainly because participants were covering key areas of financial technologies and “such technologies are less known in Iran”.

“In the future, banking will be merely a service rather than a physical place. Technology and the Internet have been changing the concept of money and monetary services,” he was quoted as saying.

“Startups are a key part of financial services in today’s world and such services are costly, but FinTech startups are trying to reduce expenses and fees in the sector.”

On the relation of banks and FinTech startups, the official said banks and other companies active in financial services industry are big partners of innovators, as their businesses are interwoven.

Elaborating on the differences of startups in financial technologies and those active in other sectors, Javanmardi said, “FinTech startups should come up with new ‘payment’ methods, which is an inseparable part of any new business.”

Unfortunately, banks seem to be the only source of financial support for startups. Bank’s support for innovative technologies might, at the same time, be destructive since at times they are purchased by banks, becoming in effect dissolved entities.

Startups, a potential contributor to the country’s non-oil revenues as planned in the sixth five-year development plan (2016-21), blossom when they are used widely. Nevertheless, the final judgment of Bank Pasargad’s approach toward them is whether it treats them as allies or potential rivals.