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Judo announces £1m competition to discover new UK mobile startup talent

Level 39, the swanky, high-in-the-sky working space at Canary Wharf, played host to TechMeetups (opens in new tab) drinks last week. The regular event offers startups the opportunity to show their innovations to the rest of the tech community and this month it was all about FinTech Innovation. (opens in new tab) This explained the choice of venue - Level 39 is Europe’s largest accelerator space for finance and retail technology companies. Seven lucky UK-based companies were selected to present to an audience of men in suits.

Software company Abilisoft kicked off the night with a review of the business operations support services market (BOSS) which, according to the company’s CTO, David Charles, is worth over $25 billion (£16.4bn). Founded in 2005, Abilisoft has created software that monitors application, server and network device performance for virtual, physical and cloud environments.

Sam Cullen introduced the mobile payments company Paymill, which allows online businesses and services to accept payments on their websites. He told the audience that if people want to make money from selling online, they should "deliver an experience" to the customer. In other words - make it easy to pay so that customers can enjoy their shopping pursuits. Paymill is currently active across Europe and other regions.

The Currency Cloud’s CEO, Michael Lavin discussed his cloud-based business platform, which simplifies the complexities of accessing foreign exchange liquidity and payment networks. The company handles B2B transactions only and is expected to do over $2 billion (£1.3bn) in payments this year.

Trending on the popularity of crowdsourcing new projects is the company Crowdcube, which has created a new way to fund startups and business expansion. Co-founder Luke Lang told the audience he wanted to create a company that would democratise the process of raising venture capital. Crowdcube provides a way for entrepreneurs to connect with ordinary people and help them crowd fund for equity.

Dan Crowley, Head of Content for FundApp, provided an overview of the company and its flagship software Rapptr. FundApp offers cloud based compliance and risk monitoring to the fund industry. The solution is easy to use and integrates seamlessly into financial institutions - giving the industry a means to automatically flag financial regulations that need to be addressed.

Nutmeg is another easy to use product - but aimed at the public. Jonathan Hey, Head of User Content at Nutmeg, provided an overview of the financial tech start-up, which allows people at all wealth levels to build and manage their investment portfolios online.

The biggest news of the night came at the very end from the UK mobile payments company judo. Recently named one of 30 mobile companies to watch in the UK by Real Business, announced a £1 million competition aimed at UK-based entrepreneurs and early stage companies building apps for Android and Apple phones. judo will offer £100,000 in free credit and debit card processing to 10 promising new UK-based businesses looking to simplify the payment of services provided by their apps.

The winners of the competition will be given the opportunity to use judo’s payment processing platform, which makes it simple to integrate card processing in Apple and Android apps for one or many business users.

According to Dennis Jones, CEO of judo, startups find it difficult and expensive to build back-end systems for payment processing. They either don’t have a way to simplify payment transactions or they spend most of their investment building the payments portion of their solution, leaving app functionality lacking.

Consequently, many apps fail to become profitable and don’t make it past their first year. judo makes it easy to integrate the building block of payments into mobile apps for all businesses so developers can focus on the quality of the apps and services they provide.

Businesses can apply by going to the judo website (opens in new tab), clicking on the application link and filling out the competition form.

Georgia Hanias is a director within Citigate Dewe Rogerson’s corporate practice division and is responsible for supporting the agency’s technology, Tech City startup accounts and digital services.