Chris Gorst, Challenge Prize Lead at Nesta

Global innovation foundation Nesta has announced the winners of its Open Up Challenge, a prize fund designed to unlock innovative fintech products and services for small businesses, building on the UK’s open banking initiative.
The winning fintech businesses will each receive £200k to take their products and services to market. Between 2017 and 2018 the Open Up Challenge has awarded £4.5m in funding to 25 technology companies, culminating in the six winners announced today.
Winners include: Coconut, a current account that takes care of accounting and tax, designed specifically for freelancers, self-employed people and small business owners; Fluidly which provides ‘intelligent cashflow’ to help solve cashflow forecasting and management; Funding Circle, a small business loans platform, matching businesses who want to borrow with investors who want to lend in the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands; Funding Options, an online marketplace for business finance; OpenWrks, a developer of open banking technology; and Swoop, developer of technology that analyses funding opportunities.
“The UK is the first country in the world to introduce ‘open banking’, and regulators, banks and start-ups around the world are watching closely to see whether the country’s reforms are a success,” said Chris Gorst, Challenge Prize Lead at Nesta. “The Open Up Challenge is proof that ambitious, well-designed regulatory reform can be a driving force for innovation that puts real solutions in the hands of small businesses. Since 2017 the companies we’ve backed have been building a quiet revolution, transforming how small businesses find the best bank accounts and loans, manage cashflow, reduce financial admin and trade with one another.”

by Guy Matthews