Akoni has been selected for the second phase of Nesta’s Open Up Challenge within the New Frontiers track. At the forefront of open banking, the Open Up Challenge is a new challenge prize by Nesta that will use this unique opportunity to shape a future for small business banking characterised by greater transparency, choice, quality and innovation.
Akoni aim to fundamentally change the way businesses bank. We use the multiple sources of business data and the power of innovation to deliver personalised prompts and products to SMEs. We are born out of the frustrations experienced by our CEO, Felicia Meyerowitz Singh, when she was an SME director managing cash. Akoni believe SMEs should receive the same services, tools and financial products as larger corporates.
Akoni has partnered with Coriolis Technologies as our trade data partner, headed by Dr Rebecca Harding, author of ‘The Weaponisation of Trade’. Trade data, in addition to our existing partnerships for company and sector data, ratings data, bank partner and product data, allows Akoni to offer SMEs support for Trade solutions as well as existing cash, savings and corporate membership solutions.
Akoni delivers significant value to small and midsize companies, increasing returns and ensuring products are aligned to the different stages of their business growth. Our platform provides personalised solutions using the various open data sources and as part of the challenge, also adding Open Banking data. Akoni is already live in the market and FCA authorised with 10+ established banking relationships. Our new platform will leverage these existing technologies to add a SME Trade Intelligence for business planning, cashflow planning and access to credit products.
The Open Up Challenge comes at a time when there is the perfect storm of market pressures impacting the sector - banks being impacted by ring-fencing and liquidity requirements under Basel III, as well as threats from innovators due to Open Banking. In the UK in particular, this will meet a latent demand among small businesses, who largely do not have access to the tools they need, but will now benefit from a simple interface combining different sources of data and enabling them to start increasing their global trading.
Felicia Meyerowitz Singh, CEO, Akoni, said:
“Our team is excited to deliver solutions for SMEs, which enable them to grow and drive their businesses forward using technology in a simple way. We believe openness of data, driven by Open banking, will contribute to a fundamental shift in business banking and are delighted to be in such excellent company amongst other startups, with our solution acknowledged by such a prestigious body.”
Akoni is a digital cash treasury manager, ensuring maximum deposit returns for its clients through the portability of cash and cash management tools. The firm was conceived by its CEO while working as a director of a SME business after she became frustrated that the firm’s £50 million held in cash, with no returns or tools provided from their company banks. Akoni is FCA regulated, and offers its cash management platform directly to businesses, charities and corporate member groups as well as works with banking partners. Clients can register to view the full marketplace of business deposit products from more than 80 UK banks and building societies, and then choose to instruct Akoni to execute deposit transactions on their behalf.
Using innovation and technology, Akoni delivers cash treasury services to businesses and SMEs and is leveraging the current platform and banking relationships to add SME trade intelligence and product prompts.
About Coriolis Technologies
Coriolis Technologies Ltd is a big data company providing Data as a Service to the trade and trade finance market. Coriolis Technologies’ unrivalled data covers static trade flows between countries using monthly and annual data, company data, political risk data and real-time logistics and shipping data to provide solutions for providers of trade finance, trade finance advisory and trade risk.
Coriolis Technologies use leading edge big data techniques, including Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, to help our clients answer the key questions they face.
About Nesta’s Open Up Challenge 2018
From early 2018, 'open banking' will be a reality in the UK.
Most small businesses will, for the first time, be able to share their banking data securely with trusted third parties via open banking APIs, and allow third parties to initiate payments on their behalf. It is the most ambitious scheme of its kind anywhere in the world, and could lead to a revolution in UK retail banking.
At the forefront of open banking, the Open Up Challenge is a new challenge prize by Nesta that will use this unique opportunity to shape a future for small business banking characterised by greater transparency, choice, quality and innovation.
Nesta are challenging talented teams from anywhere in the world to take this unique opportunity to develop next-generation services, apps and tools that help UK small businesses get game-changing value from their banking services.
The prize was selected by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as one of a package of remedies aimed at shaking up UK retail banking.