Finalists announced in Later Life Planning Innovation Challenge

24/06/2024
Bryn Coulthard CTO of Smart Data Foundry

SIX pioneering companies are each being awarded £5,000 and the chance to compete for a prize of £45,000 in the final round of the Smart Data Foundry and FinTech Scotland UK Fintech Challenge.

Legado Technologies, Legal-Pythia, Planda AI, Data Pal, Doqit Technologies and Inicio AI beat tough competition from across the country to reach the final round of the Challenge, which focuses on Later Life Planning.

The Challenge aims to help unlock new products that may enable consumers to better plan for their retirement. As life expectancy continues to increase globally, the number of people living into their eighties and nineties will have a major impact on the cost of living, as people will have to be financially secure for longer. It is expected that average life expectancy in the UK will be 85.9 years by 2050 – in 1950, it was 68.6 years.1

The winner of the Challenge will be announced on July 23rd.

Bryn Coulthard CTO of Smart Data Foundry, said: “The impressive standard of the innovation call submissions reflects the vibrant and dynamic spirit of innovation within our community. We are excited to support and showcase these groundbreaking ideas, and we look forward to the transformative impact they will undoubtedly bring.”

During the final heat, participants will present their ideas to major financial institutions, including Natwest Group, PwC, and Royal London, as well as work closely with experts in data, technology and fintech. This will allow innovators to gain valuable insights, benefit from expert guidance, and enter potential collaborations, maximising the chances of success for their projects.

A key feature of the challenge is Smart Data Foundry’s provision of synthetic data*, which replicates data relating to consumer banking and investment and savings products. This will enable fintechs to thoroughly test and refine their innovations, ensuring the development of robust and effective solutions that address consumers’ real needs.

Two companies who can testify to the benefits of taking part in a previous FinTech Scotland challenge are Skwile and Xpand, who jointly won the inaugural FinTech Scotland and Smart Data Foundry Challenge last December.

Skwile was awarded £50,000 to develop its CaFE (cash flow engine) app which enables small businesses to forecast cash flow and future performance much more effectively than with traditional spreadsheets.

Skwile’s CEO Makoto Fukuhara said: “During the Innovation Challenge we were given access to a data set created by Smart Data Foundry’s ‘Aizle’ synthetic data engine, which opened our eyes to the different ways data could be used to help small businesses improve their performance. 

“Their data allowed us to look at information around a company’s carbon footprint and we are adding this to our app so that businesses would be able to monitor things like their energy consumption, fossil fuel usage, fuel consumption of company cars, sustainability measures and benchmarking of positioning compared with the same industry or business area.”

Matt Barnes, Co-Founder of Xpand, which has designed an app which helps businesses to source funding, also benefitted significantly from taking part in the Challenge.

He said: “Being involved in the Innovation Challenge was a great experience and would have been hugely valuable regardless of whether we won the funding or not. Access to the synthetic data allowed us to refine our proposition and determine that it was viable, while the sessions we had with the Challenge’s banking partners gave us a much clearer idea of what steps we had to take to get our products ready to put in front of them and other financial services organisations. They told us how they work and what they expected from their partners – in a way they provided us with a road map for developing that side of our business.

“The financial award has also been a significant benefit, enabling us to bring in new resources to further develop our products and services.”

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