Blog post by Nektarios Liolios

There was a moment during the Startup Challenge Grand Finale last week where I looked at the audience and I couldn’t help feeling a little overwhelmed… more than 230 attendees (record attendance!) coming together to hear about the most exciting startups and vote for the best.


And they voted alright! Tadaaa! The winners of the Innotribe Startup Challenge 2013 are:

  • KlickEx, Top Startup 2013, a regulated clearing service for Central and Commercial Banks9803237944_7f62beea90_b
  • Waratek, Top Innovator 2013, cutting infrastructure costs using patented Java Virtualization

Looking back at the competition over the last four years (it started back in Hong Kong, remember?) it is worth pointing out a few things:

Go East! All winning Startups in the last three years came from APAC: GuardTime (Toronto 2011) is based in Singapore and so is Playmoolah (Osaka 2012) and now KlickEx from New Zealand.

They mean Business! They might be young, they might be quirky, they might be (the dreaded D-word) disruptive, but they all mean business. This year we have seen more submissions focussing on B-2-B than ever before and Waratek’s drive to cut costs drastically aims straight at the sweet spot of CTOs and CFOs.

growth intelligenceWe asked the judges in the room to rate the companies on how important they are for the future of the financial industry. As a tie breaker we also asked them to vote for their favourite startup and it is worth pointing out that Growth Intelligence won that vote by a mile. Check them out, they ‘generate qualified time-sensitive sales leads’. More importantly, they had a queue of people wanting to talk to them afterwards.

And this is what the Startup Challenge is all about: building bridges between the decision makers in the financial institutions and the entrepreneurs with the great ideas and products. It’s inspiring to see their passion, determination and willingness to learn.

We guide them, help them tell their story, put them through their paces and then we let them go. Most importantly, we want them to do well! So watch this space, an update on the last batch is due soon.



I finish with a (slightly sentimental) picture of the team that made it all happen this year. Matteo, we miss you.

Innotribe @ Sibos Dubai was a roller-coaster, no surprises there. We will all get a few days of rest before we start work on the Innotribe Startup Challenge 2014.

Applications open soon. Stay tuned! Boston here we come!