Citi launches MENA 2019 challenge
Citi has announced the launch of the Citi Middle East and North Africa (MENA) FinTech Challenge. The challenge will offer Fintechs the chance to come up with solutions for the following issues:
- Digitizing Cash Collections
- Assured Payments
- B2B2C Enablement
- Digitizing Trade Processes
Emre Karter, Treasury and Trade Solutions Head, MENAPT, Citi said: “We are calling Fintechs with relevant innovative solutions, ranging from existing enterprises to early stage start-ups, to participate in this challenge. The launch of this challenge is an important milestone in our quest to uncover innovative solutions for our clients.
By offering the Fintech community the opportunity to showcase their ideas, we hope to contribute to the development and growth of Fintech companies in the region.’’
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Fintechs that are shortlisted will get the opportunity to Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions and present their solutions to executive sponsors at the Citi MENA Fintech Challenge Day on September 9. 2019.
On September 10. 2019, finalists will also be invited to Global Finance’s Digital Bank & Innovator conference in Dubai, UAE. There they will be awarded the opportunity to work with Citi in developing a market-ready solution by March 2020.
Citi MENA Fintech Challenge – Key Dates:
Last date of submission: 10th July 2019
Shortlisted Fintechs to be notified 1th August 2019
Engagement & Virtual Collaboration 1th August – 8th September 2019
Citi MENA Fintech Challenge Day 9th September 2019
Global Finance Conference 10th September 2019
Stripe backs Step - the digital bank for teens
The Series C round raised US$100m in capital from a number of backers, including Coatue, TikTok star Charli D’Amelio, actor Jared Leto, and Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, for the enterprise.
Step provides a free FDIC-insured bank account and Visa card to teenagers. The accounts are backed by Evolve Bank and there is no subscription charge for its usage. Users don’t pay for their accounts and there are also no overdraft fees.
The mobile banking app enables parents to set controls and limits on spending and encourage responsible finances. According to data released by the company, 88% of the platform’s users say this is their first bank account.
To date, Step has seen great success in the marketplace. The company has raised more than $175m from investors and now has 1.5m users.
Stripe, which was founded by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison, previously led Step’s $22.5m Series A round in 2019.
Step's Series B funding round also brought in $50m, and has a distinctly celeb-tinged reputation with investors including Justin Timberlake and the pop duo The Chainsmokers.
Users get access to a free, FDIC-backed bank account, a spending card and P2P payments platform to send and receive money instantly.
CJ MacDonald, chief executive of Step, said the company is aiming to improve the financial futures of the next generation. “Step is the only banking platform that enables teens to start building a positive credit history before they turn 18 and does not charge fees of any kind.
He has previously spoken about the importance of financial literacy for young people. “Money is just one of those things where I think the more educated and equipped you are early, the better decisions you can make down the road,” he told . “And you can also prevent yourself from making costly mistakes. I mean, the average American doesn't have $400 in emergency savings and pays $350 a year in banking fees. If we can help this next generation just ultimately be smarter and more educated as it pertains to money, I think we'll all be better off.”
Kyle Doherty, managing director at General Catalyst and Step board member, explained, “Gen Z is flocking to modern financial solutions that can be easily embedded within their digital lives and Step has a unique model for how to do this right.”
The news follows on from Stripe’s recent announcement that it plans to acquire TaxJar. The fintech, which builds software for online businesses that automates the reporting and filing of sales taxes, will most likely be integrated with Stripe’s billing services.
Currently, No terms have been disclosed but the Boston start-up had raised more than $60m from investors including Insight Partners.
Stripe chief financial officer Dhivya Suryadevara said of the move, “With TaxJar, we will help millions of internet businesses running on Stripe with their sales tax and make it easier for them to sell internationally.”