Technology for tomorrow

Are you a tech evangelist? From developing a coherent and workable strategy, knowing how data and analytics will drive finance forward and learning to anticipate the disruptive technologies which may challenge your business models, tech savvy CFO are on the frontfoot.

06 June 2017

Naspers pours $80m into Indian platform

Naspers, a global internet and entertainment group and one of the largest technology investors in the world, today announced that it led an $80 million Series E investment in India-based Swiggy, an online food ordering and delivery platform in India. Ashutosh Sharma, head of investments in India for Naspers, will join the Swiggy board. The investment will help to bolster Swiggy’s growth plans and demonstrates Naspers commitment to help Swiggy become the undisputed leader in food ordering and delivery across India.

02 June 2017

Beware the FinTech hype - Accenture report

Did someone cancel the FinTech revolution or has it just been delayed? That's the question posed by a new report on the UK scene, which argues that new entrants have failed to lure customers from incumbents and that VC money has started to dry up. Over the last few years, the FinTech hype machine has been in overdrive, with a digital revolution promising to change market structure, radically improve products and services, and save the high street veterans from sliding into invisible utilities.

17 May 2017

"Bankers of the future will be developers, designers and risk modelling people," says N26 CEO, Valentin Stalf

Banking is like Formula One, says Valentin Stalf, co-founder and CEO of mobile bank N26. This observation came a day after Valentin returned from the famous Monza race track north of Milan in Italy, where N26 was invited as the Fast Companies Series partner by British Formula One racing team, Manor Racing. “Of course, it was very cool to see our logo there, but when you are on the grid and in the pit lane, you also realise Formula 1 is a big myth,” he says. “Just like banking, people think it is really complex. When you get closer to the action, you realise it is a group of normal people working on cars. We have debunked the myth that banking is very complex.” We chatted to Valentin about the practical steps an entrepreneur needs to take to turn a brilliant idea into a thriving business.

03 May 2017

Cash-flush Apple posts disappointing earnings

Apple has announced financial results for its fiscal 2017 second quarter ended April 1, 2017. The tech behemoth posted quarterly revenues of $52,9 billion, falling below market expectations, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $2,10. These results compare to revenues of $50,6 billion and earnings per diluted share of $1,90 in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 65 percent of the quarter’s revenue. iPhone shipments disappointed, with Apple stocks falling by as much as two percent in active after-hours trading.

02 May 2017

Former British minister delivers FinTech boost to African farmers

Former UK government minister Mark Simmonds (pictured) has teamed up with FinTech veteran Hirander Misra on a venture that aims to help African smallholder farmers boost their earnings by connecting them with local commodity exchanges. The Financial and Commodities Ecosystem (FinComEco) says it wants to improve food security, economic diversity and financial inclusion by connecting farmers with exchanges, financial infrastructure and national economies.

28 April 2017

World Bank launches African digital entrepreneurship programme

The World Bank has launched an accelerator for African digital entrepreneurs. The five-month long XL Africa – which includes a two-week residency in Cape Town and the Venture Showcase pitching event – is backed Finland, Norway, and Sweden, XL Africa. Participants will be mentored global and local experts through a tailor-made curriculum, increase their regional visibility, and receive access to potential corporate partners and investors.

26 April 2017

Banking must adapt to be future-fit, says futurist Keith Coats

In order to meet the demands embedded in the future, banking will need to adapt. It will need to change the way things are done and bring the delivery closer to the rhetoric. In short, banks will need to rethink their traditional business models completely. Futurist Keith Coats, director at TomorrowToday Global, says it is time for banks to face their demons. Keith sheds light on the top three challenges banks are facing that will determine their future.

21 April 2017

Nasdaq launches global FinTech investment programme

Nasdaq, one of the world's leading providers of technology and services to the capital markets, has announced the launch of a venture investment programme, Nasdaq Ventures, dedicated to discovering, investing in and partnering with unique FinTech companies worldwide. The programme's main objective is to identify and collaborate on new technologies and groundbreaking services and solutions which align with Nasdaq's clients' needs and the company's long-term objectives in the global capital markets.

18 April 2017

London, Singapore remain top FinTech hubs

FinTech has become a truly global phenomenon, with hubs popping up in cities around the world, although established players such as London and Singapore continue to be the top centres, according to a report by Deloitte. The study is the second output of the Global FinTech Hubs Federation, an initiative by Swift's innovation arm Innotribe and the UK's Innovate Finance to create a cross-border and open platform that brings established and emerging hubs together.

23 March 2017

Why artificial intelligence won't spell the end for accountants

Accountants across the globe, like their colleagues in many other professions, may feel a tad insecure at the moment, as disruptive technologies and automation continue to make disciplines obsolete and shape the way we work. These technologies are no longer confined to manufacturing, but are beginning to redefine the knowledge economy as well. Machine learning, mobile and automated workflow solutions are having a huge transformative effect on the accounting landscape.

21 March 2017

Mena region set for FinTech boom

The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) is set to experience a boom in fintech innovation over the next three years, propelled by a large unbanked population, VC inflows and the rapid emergence of a host of new startups, according to a state of the nation report prepared by local payment services outfit Payfort and entrepreneurial platform Wamda. According to the report, the number of startups in Mena’s FinTech ecosystem doubled from 46 to 105 over the three years 2013 to 2015 and the region could see a total of 250 FinTech startups launch by the year 2020.

16 March 2017

SA's first online credit facility: WATCH Mobicred CEO Geraldine Anderson at #afta16 #findaba16

Mobicred is a simple and convenient credit facility that allows you to safely shop online with participating retailers. It charges interest rates comparable to those of credit card providers and only levies monthly fees while the account is used. When a buyer – who first undergoes a simple online registration process with Mobicred – pays using the facility, the seller will immediately receive the full amount, without the risk of payment reversals.

09 March 2017

Simplifying online payments: WATCH Cubebucks CEO Jan MacKay at #afta16 #findaba16

Cubebucks is a virtual currency developed on blockchain technology that fixes the value of the qb digital currency to value in your local market against the price fix of gold on the London Metal Exchange against the dollar. The FinTech firm seeks to balance accounts in a combination of bank currencies, Bitcoin and gold reserves, that will secure the exchange ability of Cubebucks for Bitcoin or Vanilla currency value.

28 February 2017

Mauritius is an ideal FinTech location - Inter Pay Tech's Mark O' Sullivan

Mauritius-based payment solutions provider Inter Payments Tech will be one of the FinTechs pitching at the FinTech Africa Future of Payments event in Sandton, Johannesburg, on 14 March. Topics of discussion relevant to the exciting and expanding space on the evening will include the the death of credit cards and systems enabling digital currencies. We spoke to founder and CEO Mark O’ Sullivan to find out more about the company’s activities and involvement in the event.

03 February 2017

Innotribe FinTech challenge open for applications

Financial messaging service provider SWIFT Innotribe's Startup Challenge for Africa is open for applications. For the third year running, the Challenge will be part of SWIFT’s African Regional Conference (ARC) held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, from 16-18 May 2017. ARC brings together policy-makers, industry leaders and the broader financial community from across the African continent. Typically attracting up to 500 delegates from around 40 countries, ARC is a unique forum for networking, education, discussion and debate and a great platform for FinTech startups to connect with the financial sector.

31 January 2017

Ecobank launches African FinTech challenge

Pan-African banking conglomerate Ecobank, which boasts operations in 36 countries on the continent, has launched a FinTech challenge for African startups. The Ecobank FinTech Challenge provides selected startups with tailored mentorship from leading industry experts, funding of up to $500 000, a partnership with the multinational, and access to Africa’s biggest banking ecosystem, maximising exposure across the continent. The winner will also showcase their idea at Ecobank’s Innovation Fair.

13 January 2017

London and Brussels build FinTech bridge

While other major European capitals play to Brexit fears in a bid to steal the UK's leading FinTech hub status, Belgium is taking a different approach by seeking to build a mutually supportive bridge between startups across both jurisdictions. A delegation led by Belgian finance minister Johan van Overtveldt recently crossed the channel to initiate talks with UK FinTech agency Innovate Finance on the establishment of a collaboration between the two communities and to announce the launch of a new Brussels-based hub to support financial technology startups.

12 January 2017

Blockchain will surprise you: WATCH BankyMoon CEO Lorien Gamaroff at #afta16 #findaba16

"There is a lot of hyperbole about blockchain right now: blockchain will change everything and become the beating heart of finance. Finance is a big thing for blockchain. Banks have a lot of interest in the potential for cross-border remittances, for instance. There are many other applications. Blockchain can replace letters of credit and be used for smart contracts. I think it is going to create new business models and surprise us," says BankyMoon CEO Lorien Gamaroff.

10 January 2017

OPIC pledges $5 million towards emerging market investments

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US Government’s Development Finance Institution has announced the financing of up to $5 million to support Unreasonable Capital Fund I. Unreasonable Capital is a venture capital firm that invests in scalable and profitable companies working to address social and environmental issues that improve the lives of people living in underserved communities across Latin America, India, Asia and Africa.

29 December 2016

The future of banking is now: WATCH FNB CIO Peter Alkema at #afta16 #findaba16

FNB has long been lauded as the most progressive of South Africa's big four banks and it has received global recognition of its innovative and digitisation initiatives. The bank added another award to its bulging trophy cabinet at the African FinTech Awards at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 in October, beating Absa and Standard Bank to the honours in the Incumbent Bank category. But while FNB may have enjoyed much success over the past few years, according to CIO Peter Alkema, it is certainly not resting on its laurels.

20 December 2016

Uber's Ebi Atawodi: "Collaboration in the African tech space is practically impossible`

Africa is a continent of over one billion people, 54 countries, vast land mass and a multitude of languages, customs and cultures. Panelists at the Africa Technology Summit held in Lagos, Nigeria, by the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology earlier this month agreed that Africa's diverse markets and the need to adapt to individual circumstances remain a stern challenge for tech startups looking to expand across the continent.

15 December 2016

Towards global wealth creation: WATCH Wealth Migrate's Scott Picken at #afta16 #findaba16

While many startups have the long-term aim of going global, real estate investment firm Wealth Migrate already boasts a presence on five continents with investors in 84 cities on its globally compliant platform. At the African FinTech Awards at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 in October, Wealth Migrate CEO Scott Picken explained how his company aimed to solve one of the world's most pressing challenges: bridging the global wealth gap. While 49% of the world's wealth is held in real estate, only 12,9% actually have access to property and less than 1% retire wealthy, according to Scott.

07 December 2016

Finance Indaba 2017: Purple Group eager to build on success

“We have a completely different approach to financial services. We take what we do seriously, but not ourselves, so we have a lot of fun with our customers. Despite the fact that investment is a very serious discussion, it doesn’t need to be a boring and staid experience," says Charles Savage, CEO of Purple Group, a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2017 on 12 and 13 October 2017 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

24 November 2016

Solar for a new Africa: WATCH The Sun Exchange's Morwesi Ramonyai at #afta16 #findaba16

Africa has a huge untapped potential for solar power generation and initiatives that electrify businesses and impoverished communities could help the continent meet its economic development goals. At the African FinTech Awards at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 in October, The Sun Exchange CCO Morwesi Ramonyai talked about the revolutionary bitcoin-based investment scheme that is filling the gap between large-scale solar farms and solar-powered lamps and other items.

09 November 2016

Donald Trump becomes US president: six lessons for CFOs

The historical victory of Donald Trump in the US elections has taken the world by surprise. In the next few days, weeks, months and years there will be countless analysis, debates and studies to explain why hardly anyone saw it coming. CFO South Africa Editor in Chief Joël Roerig doesn't want to wait that long and has listed six important lessons South African CFOs should learn from the property baron, tv-star and president-elect.

25 October 2016

People, not technology, give data meaning, says CGMA study

In a Volatile Uncertain Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world, management accountants are expected to provide better support for decision-making, performance management and ongoing ‘insight’, in the form of financial and non-financial data. According to a latest CGMA research, ‘Business analytics and decision making – The human dimension’, analytics has little to do with technology. It is people, not technology, who give data meaning. While there may be technical issues to address, such as getting access to data, combining data sets or integrating financial data with data generated from social media or ‘connected things’, no analytical tool can do more than augment or complement what is a cognitive and sometimes social process. Generating insight is an inherently human trait. Thus, business intelligence resides not in the data warehouse but in the minds of people.

19 October 2016

Newest Thomson Reuters Data and Innovation Lab Launches in CT

Thomson Reuters has launched its newest Data and Innovation Lab, located in Cape Town. The lab will see Thomson Reuters engage with the region’s vibrant innovation ecosystem and dynamic start-up community. The Labs have two primary objectives: innovation and partnership. Innovation will come through driving creative conversations with customers and partners through open events and rapid prototyping, while partnership involves collaboration and co-creation with startups and other partners to put new technology and business models into practice. Mona Vernon (pictured), vice president of Thomson Reuters Labs, said:

13 October 2016

2016 African FinTech Awards: Towards a financially inclusive continent - #afta16 #findaba16

Servicing the millions of unbanked citizens of Africa and bringing them into the mainstream economy through FinTech innovations – the mission of many startups – can thwart poverty and other social ills, as well as enable the continent to compete on a level footing with the rest of the world. This was the core message coming out of the opening discussion of the African FinTech Awards at the 2016 Finance Indaba Africa at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on 13 October 2016.

12 October 2016

Finance Indaba 2016: Cellulant is all about transforming Africa

"FinTech is completely revolutionising the speed, the scale and the cost of getting services to the people. This is transformational for Africa – and it is this transformation that drives Cellulant to continue realising this for millions of consumers and thousands of businesses," says Ken Njoroge, Group CEO of Cellulant, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

11 October 2016

Finance Indaba 2016: Meniga brings banks and clients closer together

"A single platform can become the main source of information for all digital channels, not only enabling banks and other financial institutions to offer their clients an engaging experience, but also solving simple problems related to the integration of data and reducing infrastructure costs," says Jakub Piotrowski, CRO and Head of Customer Engagement at Meniga, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

04 October 2016

5 questions for Russell Glover about Finance Indaba partner Linxus

"The Finance Indaba is an ideal platform for Linxus to engage with key decision makers by demonstrating the value we can add to any business through our software products," says Russell Glover, managing director at Linxus, a a gold partner at the Finance Indaba next week. We spoke to him exclusively. Why is Linxus present at the Indaba? "Linxus is a Software Solutions business that specialises in the building and implementing solutions that drive operational efficiencies, reduce cost and mitigate risk. Our focus is on delivering appropriate and responsible solutions that are developed and implemented rapidly thereby addressing current business needs in a time frame that enables businesses to grow and or reduce cost, ultimately driving profitability in your business."

15 September 2016

Disrupt, or be disrupted - CFOs discuss digital transformation

“By show of hands, how many people in the room have begun a digital transformation project in the last 12 months?” CFO South Africa MD Graham Fehrsen asked the crowd during his welcoming at the first Johannesburg breakfast event hosted by CFO South Africa on 15 September 2016. Virtually every attendant raised their hands. “So everybody is here to discover why it is not working or how to improve the ROI,” he joked to appreciative chuckles.

15 September 2016

Finance Indaba 2016: Creditinfo is a data-driven solutions pioneer

"Credit bureaus have always played an important role within the financial sector providing information, solutions and services that ensure that creditors have the information and technology needed to make informed decisions." says Agata Szydlowska, Head of Financial Inclusion and CRB Awareness at Credit Info, a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

14 September 2016

Public sector CFOs and CIOs are trying to embrace the future

From medical emergency drones, to self-driving vehicles to a Google Hangouts gathering of Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa and the Dalai Lama in Tibet: technology makes amazing things possible, as long as we embrace it. During a breakfast event on 13 September 2016, the energetic futurist Craig Wing challenged, educated, inspired – and entertained – a group of CFOs and CIO from the public sector and asked them some hard questions about technology: “Do you see a threat or an opportunity?”

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