BY JOY TANG
Ayannah, a mature stage startup from the Philippines, has won the US$10,000 Best in Show award at the recent Fintech Finals 2017 (FF17) pitch competition in Hong Kong.
Founded in 2008, Ayannah operates the largest digital payment network in the Philippines, offering digital financial services that focus on serving the needs of the unbanked. Ayannah has served over 10 million customers through its physical agents and online presence. The company serviced US$150 million in remittances in 2016.
Miguel Perez, Ayannah’s CEO said, "We look forward to keeping this momentum going and will work on continuing to grow our business with the proceeds.”
As Best in Show, Ayannah also beat 22 other startup finalists to receive a cocreation engagement with Visa at its Innovation Center in Singapore. This enables Ayannah to explore business solutions and opportunities together with a team of subject matter experts from across Visa’s business.
Three Best In Category trophies were also distributed, with one winner from Asia; Best Early Stage Startup went to Bambu from Singapore. All winners will also receive the benefits of partnership opportunities and promotion through Next Money channels.
Associate Director-General of Invest Hong Kong, Charles Ng, said, "Hong Kong welcomed the Fintech Finals back here again during the StartmeupHK Festival 2017. We were glad to meet the 23 shortlisted startups, five of which (are) from Hong Kong, to present their innovative fintech solutions on stage. Hong Kong has a fertile ground for fintech startups to grow. It has a robust and market-driven fintech fundraising centre, with different accelerators and innovation labs in town and the largest Smart-Space* (for) fintech located in Cyberport. Invest Hong Kong's dedicated fintech team is here to help overseas startups embrace the vast opportunities in Hong Kong, mainland China and beyond."
Judges worked from a score sheet to rate the startups, based on the following criteria: business model application, scale and robustness; transformative concept and technology; market opportunity and size; customer experience design and ease, financial opportunity and forecasts and the quality of the team presentation.
Ralph Koker, Head of New Channels Solutions, Asia Pacific, Visa stated, “As one of the judges of the competition, I was impressed with the incredible ideas from the finalists. It is very encouraging to see the fintech community in Asia taking a leading role in creating new solutions for consumers and businesses. Increasing collaboration across the innovation ecosystem is particularly exciting for Visa and is needed for the payment industry. We are building tomorrow's payment experiences through cocreation with our partners, including fintechs, by extending access to the Visa network and our open API platform Visa Developer."
Next Money founder and FF17 organiser Rob Findlay commented at the time: “We are thrilled for Ayannah on their well-deserved Best in Show win, and we congratulate and applaud all of the startups that participated these past two days for their absolute dedication and passion for innovation. These are clearly the individuals that will continue to influence the future of fintech here in Asia.”
OKLink, the Blockchain-powered global settlement network, and Ayannah have separately signed a partnership agreement to provide real-time remittances to the Philippines via cash, bank accounts or e-wallets.
Powered by Blockchain, OKLink’s settlement platform currently allows transfer companies worldwide to send money to the Philippines for 0.5% of the amount, a rate that is significantly lower than incumbents'. The partnership allows all 100+ companies on the OKLink network to make transactions within the same day to bank accounts; within four hours to cash-pickup locations across the Philippines; and real-time to mobile wallets via Ayannah’s mobile payment partner.
Perez said, “As the largest digital payment network in the Philippines, we are very pleased to partner with OKLink, the world's leading Blockchain settlement system to provide our customers all over the world with more affordable and convenient options to send money to the Philippines.”
Jason Lau, VP of Business Development at OKLink said, “We are thrilled to work with Mikko and the entire Ayannah team on this partnership. We continue to pursue low cost instant transfers to every country in every payout form.”
Overseas remittances to the Philippines remains a key part of the country’s economy, equivalent to more than 10% of the gross domestic product according to 2015 data from the World Bank.
*a coworking space.