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Nesta Chooses Open Up Challenge Winners

Nesta has announced the 10 winners of Stage 1 of its Open Up Challenge, a competition in the U.K. for developers of FinTech targeting small business banking disruption.

Reports in Forbes on Wednesday (Dec. 13) spoke with Nesta prize lead Christ Gorst about the 10 winners, which will receive £100,000 (approximately $133,000) each to fuel growth and product development in 2018.

“Useful innovation has been slow to come in small business banking, imposing real costs on the entrepreneurial economy and hitting small business productivity,” Gorst told the publication. “But the U.K. is perfectly placed to make rapid progress, as a global leader in FinTech and open data innovation; open banking could radically reduce barriers for new players and models to emerge, and this is good news for small businesses.”

The U.K. is gearing up to adopt the EU’s PSD2 rules as well as its own Open Banking standards. Industry experts expect these policies to drive innovation in small- and medium-sized business (SMB) banking, which has struggled from a lack of competition and adequate services for SMB owners, research says. Open banking enables data sharing between financial institutions (FIs) and third-party solutions.

Among the winners of the Challenge are Bud, a banking service that consolidates SMB and consumer financial services onto a single platform; Capitalise, which helps businesses find the right institutional lender and Coconut, which provides banking services for freelancers and self-employed professionals.

Additionally, Credit Data Research uses open banking to provide SMB credit behavioral analytics; Fluidly provides predictive cash flow management services; Fractal Labs automates cash management and links SMBs to advisors and banks; Funding Options offers small businesses an online lending marketplace and Handle provides SMBs with a banking and cash management dashboard.

Finally, alternative lender Iwoca was also chosen as a winner, as was Teller, which links bank accounts to third-party financial services apps.

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