Pakistan’s top agency for promotion of financial inclusion, Karandaaz Pakistan announced ‘CreditFix’ the winner of its Fintech Disrupt Challenge 2017 after a close competition between extraordinary startups at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi. CreditFix, founded by Owais Zaidi will receive up to $100,000 in funding whereas the three runner-ups, ‘Invoice Wakalah’, ‘UniKrew’ and ‘Agrigate’will receive up to $20,000 each.
The FintechDisrupt Challengethat aimed at hunting for extraordinary startup ideas worthy of creating substantial social impact, solicited innovative responses to bottlenecks in Pakistan’s financial services sector under the 2nd edition of the challenge.
This year,Karandaaz had invited startups in five thematic areas including Access to financial services, payments, E-commerce, Interoperability and Early stage ideas related to M-Wallet Use cases, Education of Financial Services through technology, Customer Engagement / Experience, Micro Credit, and Digital Savings.
Funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UKAid, the disrupt challenge offered two different grants, up to $100, 000 for established startups and $20,000 for seed funding of new startups respectively.
Speaking to the audience, CEO Karandaaz Pakistan, Ali SarfrazHussain said: “I extend my heartiest felicitations to the winning teams of this years’ disrupt challenge and hope that they will be able to break the glass ceilings and expand their startups way and beyond. I am hopeful that all the participating startups will go long way in transforming Pakistan’s financial service landscape to usher in greater inclusion and convenience for underserved communities in the years to come. Pakistan’s startup ecosystem is still in its nascent phase and needs support to take strong root to create a substantial social impact. Through the financial support of UKAid and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we are enabling the startups to scale up and secure access to market to be able to capitalize on the immense potential of Pakistani market.”
Director – Digital Financial Services, Rehan Ahmad Akhtar said: “This year Karandaaz targeted specific thematic areas around which innovation and disruption is required in the market. For this round of Fintech Disrupt Challenge, Karandaaz is not only be funding mature startups with established ideas but also startups who require seed funding and are in the proof of concept phase because we feel that it is important to facilitate a good idea and team which are at a nascent stage. In our effort to act as a catalyst in Fintech Startup area, Karandaaz is working with all actors of the industry including innovators, young entrepreneurs, existing players and regulators and in this challenge fund we also tried to bring representatives from each actor to get a constructive dialogue going among them.”
Director- Institute of Business Administration, Dr. Farrukh Iqbal and Entrepreneur in Residence from Caribou Digital & DFS Labs, Ben Lyon also shared their thoughts with the audience.
The panel of judges for the event included Azfar Jamal, EVP Head of Payment Service and Banking at National Bank of Pakistan, Humayun Bashir, Former CGM IBM and current Chairman at NCCPL, Khurram Zafar, Director at LUMS Centre for Entrepreneurship and Ali Abbas Sikander, Executive Director at Paysys Labs.
The Fintech Disrupt Challenge is an extension of Karandaaz Pakistan’s overall ambition of promoting financial inclusion to marginalized segments of the society. The company extends financial and technical support to financial technology starts ups which showcase substantial potential to create value for the society.
About Karandaz Pakistan:
Karandaaz Pakistan, a not-for-profit company registered under SECP in August 2014, promotes access to finance for small businesses through a commercially directed investment platform, and financial inclusion for individuals by employing technology enabled digital solutions. The Company has financial and institutional support from leading international development finance institutions; principally the United Kingdom Department for International Development (UKAid) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.