Karandaaz Pakistan signed grant agreements of US$ 300,000 i.e $ 100,000 each with Ricult Pakistan, Paysys Labs, and PublishEX Solutions, winners of the first-ever Fintech Disrupt Challenge in Pakistan. Both the challenge and resultant grants have been funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Out of a total of 61 applications from all parts of the country, 28 were invited to present at the Fintech Disrupt Challenge 2016 held in collaboration with LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship in November last year.
Ten finalists were shortlisted by judges which included subject matter and investor experts from ArbiSoft, Acumen, Bank Al-Falah and board members of Karandaaz. Out of which these three companies emerged as the winners.
Ali Sarfaraz, CEO of Karandaaz Pakistan shared his vision and said:
“This competition showcased an incredible display of talent from startups across the nation. We have now completed the first step in the process with these awards. The next and more vital piece of this challenge will be getting the deals completed, and setting up a soft landing for winning startups who aspire to disrupt FinTech industry. We look forward to expediting that process and helping these startups gain traction in the Pakistan market.”
Rehan Akhtar, Director Digital Financial Services, Karandaaz Pakistan added,
“The initial mobilization amount will give the winners a kick-start to their projects. With this grant, we intend to provide them with capital inflow for the next one year so the startups remain focused on operationalization of their products/services rather than worrying about the lack of finance. We expect these FinTechs to be sustainable in the long run and create an impact in the digital financial services industry.”
Ricult is focused towards changing the way farming has been done by bringing a more ‘databased’ approach and reducing inefficiencies in the system. A farmer can register for free with Ricult by phone, where he can order supplies and be referred to a credit partner if he needs a loan on convenient and affordable credit terms. The money is then transferred to Ricult, which manages the delivery of the products to the farmers. Ricult earns a small percentage of each transaction. Through this grant, Ricult will integrate a mobile-wallet in their platform which will seamlessly disburse amounts to the farmer’s account.
Paysys Labs is a technology startup in the domain of digital financial services with a key focus on research and development. Karim Jindani believes that secure & friction-less identity verification is one of the major challenges in DFS space. Using the FinTech Disrupt Challenge award, they will be introducing a biometric ID verification solution that uses the smartphone camera. This will provide FinTechs and financial service providers, seamless biometric authentication, anytime and anywhere.
Salim Karim and Yassir Pasha of PublishEX Solutions plan to use the grant amount to build their platform, Direct Carrier Billing (DCB), a payment channel which enables merchants to seamlessly monetize digital goods and services for their users on a global scale. Their service aims to provide users with a simple, secure and fast way of making payments via available balance in their mobile sim without any requirement of a credit card or a bank account.