Karandaaz Pakistan signed grant agreements with the winners of its third ‘FinTech Disrupt Challenge’ at a ceremony in Islamabad. The annual challenge, run with the support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, funds startup ideas that use technology to bring financial services to the underserved segments of economy and create a social impact. In this round, Karandaaz had invited FinTechs to design and present solutions in nine thematic areas including payments, interoperability, consumer/retail banking, regtech, insurtech, mobile wallets, loyalty programs, lending, and savings. The three startups from this round, selected after a close competition between 16 FinTech startups are ‘Matilda Solutions’, ‘Love for Data’, and ‘AgriMart’. Matilda Solutions is working on developing a biometric verification authentication suite which will include fingerprint verification, liveness detection, and facial recognition. Love for Data is developing a credit scoring algorithm based on data analytics which will predict fraud detection and credit profile of a consumer. Agri Martisaone window platform that is easily accessible to the agri community and can be used for complete agri-ecosystem and sustainable agriculture. Under this grant cycle, the three successful startups will each receive a funding of PKR 10million from Karandaaz to implement their ideas. During previous rounds Karandaaz provided grants worth up to PKR 500 million to Ricult Pakistan, Publishex Solution, Paysys Labs, Credit Fix, Unikrew Solution, Agri-Gate, and Invoice Waqalah.
Karandaaz Pakistan CEO Mr. Ali Sarfraz while speaking at the event said, “We are confident that the grants agreements we signed today will help the three startups play an effective role in changing Pakistan’s financial services landscape for the better. Over the years, Karandaaz FinTech Disrupt Challenge has emerged as a leading platform through which we give emerging and aspiring innovators an opportunity to materialize their groundbreaking ideas. We have established a model of supporting innovation in the FinTech domain for other players from public and private sector to emulate. Financial technology is now a viable new field for innovators in Pakistan and new funding avenues are becoming available for them.”
Karandaaz Pakistan Chief Digital Officer Mr. Rehan Akhtar emphasized the use of financial technology solutions for increasing the nationwide financial inclusion. He said, “Globally, digital technology is dramatically expanding the scope of financial services beyond traditional banking. In Pakistan’s context, mobile penetration and innovation through FinTech can be very effectively employed to achieve scalability, affordability and convenience of financial services and financially include the unserved and underserved segments contributing to their prosperity and resilience.”
Recently, Karandaaz has also launched another grant opportunity to support experiments in partnership with the digital financial service providers to address the barriers related to uptake and active usage of digital financial technologies. For this, Karandaaz is looking to partner with commercial banks and FinTechs. The lessons learnt through these experiments will be available for diffusion and uptake of best practices by the financial sector. These experiments will help in testing ideas, products, services, and incentive structures that can potentially accelerate the uptake of digital financial services by excluded and underserved segments, especially rural women.
The Fintech Disrupt Challenge and the partnership opportunity for experimentation in digital financial services are an extension of Karandaaz’s overall ambition of promoting financial inclusion in Pakistan. Karandaaz has financial and institutional support from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID).