Virtual currency processor Epiphyte and virtual credit cards company Matchmove have been named the winners of the Innotribe Startup Challenge, one of the best known financial technology startup competitions in the world.
Over 280 companies entered the challenge, which began in London in April before continuing in Singapore in May and New York in June. The final took place in Boston, at Sibos 2014.
Epiphyte, which is based in San Francisco, was awarded the top award, alongside $50,000 in prize money. Its winning concept is technology designed for banks that converts currency into bitcoin to transfer it overseas while shifting the currency risk to exchanges like Coinbase or Bitpay, thus cutting out many of the costs typically involved in traditional money transfers.
Singapore-based Matchmove was recognised for its creation of a virtual prepaid American Express card that can be used by the 97% of people in Asia who do not currently have credit cards. The brainchild of CEO Shailesh Nalik, Matchmove allows customers to pre-load cash and use the 16 digit card number for online purchases, in the same way as a normal credit or debit card. The company has already a strong presence in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia and is now rolling out the concept throughout Asia, including in India and China.
Innotribe, which is funded by SWIFT, is a community of startups and their supporters, which seeks to nurture new innovation in the fintech space.