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UK start-ups among BBVA fintech competition finalists

Six firms chosen for new banking category

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Six UK start-ups have been selected as finalists in the Open Talent 2014 fintech competition held by Spanish bank BBVA.

The competition aims to find start-ups with the "strongest potential to impact and transform the financial services and related industries in Europe and the Americas", with finalists announced for the European part of the competition.

In the New Banking category, which focuses on financial technology, are; artificial intelligence and natural language processing provider FinGenius, credit scoring data analysis firm Aire, online money transfer service TransferGo and digital receivables financing platform Pollen. Trade agreement service ClauseMatch and savings and investments app ETFmatic have also been selected.

Cashboard.io (Germany), ininal (Turkey), Lendstar (Germany) and Bewa7er (Spain) are the other finalists in the group.

Another 10 firms have been selected for the more general 'Digital Life' category. Finalists from both sections invited to present their projects to a panel of experts at the Next Bank Europe event in Barcelona on 18 and 19 September.

Winners will receive 30,000 (£27,000) to invest in a collaboration with BBVA, and will be invited to participate in training and mentoring as part of the Crash Acceleration Week in New York.

A number of banks in the UK have launched their own accelerators and venture funds, including Barclays, HSBC and Santander, as they seek to improve their own technology strategies by collaborating with smaller firms.

Earlier this month, chancellor George Osborne launched a financial technology trade body in Canary Wharf called Innovate Finance, and announced a £100 million investment in the UK's growing fintech start-up community.

Speaking to ComputerworldUK at last year's FinTech Innovation Lab start-up event in London, Citi's EMEA CIO Alistair Grant said major banks can benefit from engaging with the start-up community to help foster innovation within their business,

"It can take quite a long time to develop in-house capability," Grant said. "The start-ups have done the hard work of turning these ideas and concepts into something tangible, so we can take the product straight to pilot and start testing as opposed to designing it ourselves."



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