Citi Launches Virtual Accelerator Program For Mobile Startups In India: The Citi Mobile Challenge


Citi has launched their virtual accelerator program in India: The Citi Mobile Challenge; which aims to nurture mobile startups in the niche of banking, payments and e-commerce ecosystem.

This unique mentorship program will last for 8-10 weeks, and has combined hackathon with an incubation program.

Citi India country business manager Kartik Kaushik said in a statement, “The Citi Mobile Challenge is aimed at harnessing the talent and agility of the developer and startup community in India to create affordable, accessible and transparent solutions for consumers,”

Bengaluru will host the finale of the India leg of this challenge on November 3rd and finalists will compete for a cash prize of $100,000.

This program was initially launched in Latin America in 2014, followed by Europe earlier this year and now in Asia Pacific region, with focus on Indian mobile startups. As per Citi, they have already received around 2000 submissions till date under this challenge.

Some of the IT biggies such as IBM, Amazon, Google, Wipro Technologies along with leading names in venture capital world: Microsoft Ventures and NASSCOM 10000 startups and PwC are partnering in this accelerator program. This is most probably for the first time that a bank-led initiative is being supported by leaders of Ecommerce, Technology and Venture Capital for grooming and nurturing fresh ideas in the mobile banking and finance space.

The participants would be able to use a host of APIs (Application Program Interface) from Citi and their partners to create open ended solutions which should be able to run on Citi’s digital platform, globally. This is for the first time that Citi has opened up their APIs for mobile startups outside their own platform.

Kartik said, “We’ve taken a long time to get here, but it’s always better late than never.”

Besides the cash prize of $100,000, winners would also be able to implement their ideas live, with help from Citi and will get various benefits such as accelerator programs, mentoring, office space and most importantly, investment.

It is not yet clear how much investment Citi will approve or will it be equity based incubation.

You can apply for Citi Mobile Challenge here.

Some other incubation and accelerator programs launched in India:

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