Four Skolkovo resident startups are among the 10 finalists of the Innotribe Startup Challenge taking place next week at the International Financial Congress in St. Petersburg.

The four Skolkovo companies selected for the final of the competition on July 14, organised by SWIFT Innotribe, are Cashoff, a cash flow analysis system for banks and individuals; Oz Forensics, which helps prevent digital fraud by detecting fake photos and documents; TalkBank, a smart banking messenger app; and Scorista, a credit scoring service for non-bank lenders.

The Startup Challenge competition will take place as part of the International Financial Congress at the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library in St. Petersburg on July 14 (above). Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Startup Challenge competition aims to bridge the gap between the startup ecosystem and the financial service community. The 10 finalists will get coaching sessions with experienced entrepreneurs ahead of their formal pitches at the IFC.

“It is a pleasure for us to welcome these 10 companies to our first showcase in Russia,” Kevin Johnson, head of Innotribe Innovation Programmes at SWIFT, said via a press release. “The Startup Challenge is an enriching experience for all participating companies. They benefit from expert mentoring and get that much needed exposure to financial institutions.”

Following the pitches, the audience will vote for the three best startups, who will be invited to Sibos, SWIFT’s annual global financial services conference, on October 16-19 in Toronto. The three finalists will have the opportunity to share the stage with fintech experts, providing insights on innovation in the Russian financial industry. They will also receive a $10,000 cash prize each.

Judges from the finance, tech and investment sectors selected the 10 Startup Challenge finalists out of 40 applicants based on their potential to provide an important innovation to the future of the financial industry, SWIFT Innotribe said in its press release.

“Innotribe Russian finalists present original, prospective and ready-to-use products, which proves that the Russian fintech industry has overgrown the stage of following trends and ideas from developed markets and is ready for global fintech competition,” Olga Skorobogatova, deputy governor of the Bank of Russia, which organises the IFC, was quoted as saying in the press release.

The IFC is Russia’s largest international financial forum and runs from July 12-14.

The Startup Challenge has become one of the leading global startup competitions, connecting the financial services industry with more than 650 fintech startups around the world

Launched in 2011, Innotribe Startup Challenge was refocused in 2016 to support emerging fintech ecosystems, moving from a global competition to a local programme supporting innovation where demographic trends, economic growth and regional integration projects are creating fertile ground for new technologies to emerge.