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The winners of the Rietumu Fintech Challenge 2017 are announced

02-May-2017, 10:33 / Products & Services In Riga, Rietumu FinTech Challenge 2017, the largest competition for startups developing financial technologies in the Baltic States, was held for the third time.

Start-up Toneboard from Latvia is the winner, which received the grand prize of 5,000 euros from the Rietumu Bank and a free ticket to London FinTech Week 2017 from the UK Department of International Trade.

Toneboard has developed a toolkit for voice and speech style recognition that can help financial institutions in assessing the ability of a potential customer to repay a loan.

“It was very exciting. We met with mentors from various areas related to the financial industry like lawyers, investors, and founders of start-ups. There was an opportunity to forge useful contacts and to listen to critical remarks. In general, we are very satisfied. This is the first serious competition where we have participated, and we are happy for our victory. Of course, we understand that success in business is not assessed by victories in competitions, but by the effectiveness of real activity, that is why we are now actively working on the commercialization and improvement of our system. We plan to complete the pilot project and prepare a product for the market so that we can offer it to customers within the next six months,” said Mr Martins Vaivars, co-founder and CEO of Toneboard.

The competition organised by the Rietumu Bank in cooperation with the Latvian Startup Association StartinLV received huge interest. More than 50 applications were received from the USA, Israel, Germany, the Baltic States, and even from Africa. Seven projects were selected for the final round, including three from Latvia - Crassula, Toneboard, and ForexTeam (Latvia), as well as Paytailor (Estonia), Welltrado (Lithuania), GetZuper (Germany), and Tap2Pay (Israel).

“We evaluate the held competition very positively. Really interesting projects were presented, whom I would like to wish successful implementation and development. In our opinion, banks and new FinTech companies will increasingly interact, complement each other in the future, and we plan to take a very active part in the process. Of course, we will definitely continue to support this useful event,” stated Mr Ilya Sukharenko, Member of the Management Board of the Rietumu Bank.

Ms Jekaterina Novicka, President of the Board of Start-up Association StartinLV, noted, “We are pleased to see that the Rietumu Fintech Challenge is becoming more and more prestigious. Foreign teams are ready to go to Latvia to get an assessment of their start-ups from our experts. That definitely proves that Latvia is becoming an increasingly famous and attractive platform for the global fintech industry.”

The participants of the competition offered many original ideas. A company from Latvia, Crassula, has created an API software allowing banks, financial institutions, and companies to build their solutions in the fintech using that software. The ForexTeam offered an application for improving online financial analysis. The Paytailor proposed a mobile payment system. In their turn, the Welltrado from Lithuania has created a tool for comparing the mutual loan platforms. The GetZuper has developed a financial management system, and the Israeli team, Tap2Pay, has created an application that helps to pay for the purchase using contactless cards.

At the end of the event, Mr. Shaul David, fintech expert from the UK Department of International Trade, stated, “I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the teams. All participants have experience, they are confident in what they are doing. I think they need a little help to position their product on the market, which I hope they got here.”

The jury of the Competition
The jury consisted of fintech experts: Mr Denis Filipov from the Bank of Latvia, Mr Janis Janevics, the representative of the Latvian Association of Private and Venture Capital and the Impramatur Capital Foundation, Mr Janis Skutelis, representative from FlyCap, Mr Renat Lokomet, representative of the Latvian Startup Association, and Mr Matiss Ansviesulis from Creamfinance.
Mr Ilya Sukharenko, a member of the jury, Senior Vice President and Member of the Management Board of the Rietumu Bank, awarded the grand prize of 5,000 euros to the winner. In her turn, Ms Tina-Maria Araya, Head of the Baltic Investments of the UK Department for International Trade awarded a ticket to the London FinTech Week to the winner of the second place.

Latvian Startup Association StartinLV
The association was established in 2016 with the goal to unite start-ups, other companies, and organisations supporting the startup sector. Currently, the Association unites 69 members: 12 private partners for cooperation, 14 corporate partners, and 43 start-ups.

Eleonora Gailisha
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