Voice IT wins African FinTech hackathon

FinTech startup Voice IT took the honours at the Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF) 48-hour Recode Nigeria hackathon, sponsored by Access Bank, winning N1,5 million cash, as well as a year's access to the IBM Bluemix artificial intelligence platform and the Microsoft BizSpark developer toolkit.

Voice IT's winning Android app helps temporarily or permanently disabled bank customers to transact via a voice interface using artificial intelligence. Paysense, which monitors customers' banking behaviour to devise a more accurate credit score and Creative Jar, which produces a comprehensive financial planning and transacting tool, were also among the winners.

Some 18 teams encompassing 70 participants were competing for the prizes, with bankers and programmers working together to create prototypes and test customer-centric approaches to old banking issues over 48 intense hours. The hackathon aimed to address challenges of customer experience and value creation opportunities beyond payment in Africa and shape the future of banking on the continent.

AFF spokesperson, Victor Okigbo said: "The message to investors, analysts and the public is that Nigerian banks can lead financial technology ecosystem to secure future growth while creating real value for stakeholders."

Held at the Lagos office of Access Bank and the new AFF hub on Victoria Island in Nigeria, the hackathon produced 18 prototypes and three winners. All 70 participants received affiliate membership of the AFF.