Financial messaging network Swift has upped the ante in its annual innovation start-up contest, promising a $100,000 cash prize to the winning pitches at this year's Sibos conference in Toronto.
Applications for entry
are open now and must be completed by 14 August. The challenge is open to start-ups and vendors less than three years old with a 'demonstrable' beta' product.
The top ten entries will be selected during a qualifying round, in which rankings will be weighted between public votes (20%) and rankings from a panel of judges including VCs and banks, with finalists announced by the end of August.
Round two will take place on 21 September, at Sibos in Toronto, where contestants will be assembled to make a five-minute demo pitch to an audience of top banks.
Rankings will be tallied from direct audience feedback, and two companies with the highest scores will each walk away with a $50,000 cash prize.
Swift's Innotribe unit has been steadily raising the stakes in its search for hot new tech start-ups and business-ready ideas. In July, the group unveiled a new incubator unit, which will invite partners, vendors and entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas at a quarterly 'dragon's den' style gathering of bankers, consultants and venture capitalists. The objective is to nurture an idea to a Version 1.0, with some early adopters testing it in a commercially-viable proof-of-concept.