Umati Capital: Our Experience with the Citi Mobile Challenge
By Ivan Mbowa, Co-Founder & CEO, Umati Capital Limited September 11, 2015 01:00 AM
The Citi Mobile Challenge is a groundbreaking global initiative that invites technology developers to reimagine digital banking and fuel innovation in the financial industry. Below is a Q&A with Umati Capital, a participant from the 2015 Challenge in EMEA.
1. Please tell us a bit about your background. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, I spent 8 years in banking. Coincidentally my entire banking career was developed within Citi. My co-founder, Munyutu, and I saw a huge credit gap in the market which could be filled with a combination of structured finance and technology applications.
2. What is Umati Capital? What impact could it have on the community?
Umati Capital is a technology-driven SME lender focused on bridging working capital gaps within agribusiness value chains. Given the fact that 70% of the entire African population derives income from agricultural activities, we are excited by the possibility of extending access to formal financial services in this underserved segment.
3. Where was Umati Capital before the Citi Mobile Challenge? What motivated you to register for the Citi Mobile Challenge? How did you hear about it?
Prior to the Citi Mobile Challenge, we were still in the pilot phase of our business trying to test our model in various agribusiness value chains. We were motivated to join the Citi Mobile Challenge out of our desire to partner with Citi and use its world class banking infrastructure to scale our business. I heard about the challenge through former colleagues at Citi who encouraged us to throw our hat in the ring.
4. Please describe your experience with the Citi Mobile Challenge? How has it helped your business?
The Citi Mobile Challenge really took the visibility of our business to another level – as we were now conclusively able to demonstrate that our business model was among the very best in the global fintech space. This has now opened doors to a number of investors and corporate partners. We learned that the sky is really the limit when it comes to our ability to compete globally.
5. What would your advice be to other entrepreneurs who are interested in participating in future iterations of the Citi Mobile Challenge?
I would advise other entrepreneurs to be clear about the solution they are proposing, its impact within their environment and its relevance to Citi. I believe this is what enabled us to win the best business solution within the Citi Mobile Challenge in EMEA.
For more information: Upcoming Citi Mobile Challenge Demo Days will be held in Bangalore (Nov 3, 2015), Singapore (Nov 6, 2015), Sydney (Nov 10, 2015) and Hong Kong (Nov 12, 2015).