Two fintech companies have each been awarded £50,000 after winning a ‘synthetic data’ innovation challenge.

Xpand and Skwile Ltd took home the prize after working on novel datasets to help strengthen the relationships between financial institutions and their SME clients.

The UK Fintech Innovation Challenge was organised by FinTech Scotland – the cluster management organisation – and Smart Data Foundry, the data innovation organisation.

The investment will fuel the development of their propositions, fostering innovation and supporting the economic growth within central Scotland.

This innovation call represents a unique way of encouraging the development of new, impactful financial products and services. FinTech Scotland has a long track record of running successful innovation calls for established financial firms and, thanks to its collaboration with Smart Data Foundry, it has taken those calls to the next level.

Participating fintechs were given access to a unique SME synthetic dataset, created by Smart Data Foundry’s ‘aizle’ synthetic data engine, to develop and test their innovative propositions safely and efficiently. 

Virgin Money and NatWest played a vital part in the innovation call, supporting fintech SMEs with workshops to help those businesses be more collaboration-ready whilst getting early access to new innovative solutions.

This initiative continues to demonstrate the commitment of FinTech Scotland and Smart Data Foundry to drive innovation but also aligns with the objectives laid out in the Research and Innovation roadmap published by FinTech Scotland in March 2022. The roadmap highlighted the importance to focus on helping established financial firms service their SME clients better to support them in a post-Covid world. 

James Gumble, CEO at Xpand said: “The challenge allowed Xpand to understand the opportunities working directly with business data on behalf of financial institutions – and has identified new opportunities, which we will use the funds to explore.

“Working with the partners on the challenge enabled Xpand to further our work tracking the impact of public sector funding with national and local government teams. 

Integrating the synthetic data into our tools showed how this enriched data can provide businesses with the most up-to-date funding information, help them grow and scale and provide support through uncertain economic times”

Makoto Fukuhara, CEO of Skwile Ltd, said: “We are thrilled to be selected as a prize winner and are excited by the opportunity to make a positive impact in Scotland.

“We have gained invaluable insights throughout the competition and thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with the competition partners, Smart Data Foundry, NatWest, and Virgin Money, on this transformative journey. The knowledge we’ve acquired will be instrumental in enhancing our products and services, allowing us to continue delivering innovative solutions that empower businesses to make better informed financial decisions and thrive.”

Bryn Coulthard, Chief Product and Technology Officer at Smart Data Foundry, said: “We are delighted with the success of our first innovation call in partnership with FinTech Scotland, the first in a joint programme of innovation calls to help drive economic growth in Scotland’s fintech sector. I was especially pleased to see the value of giving access to our SME synthetic dataset as part of the challenge, which helped accelerate participants thinking and allowed for rapid iteration of ideas as they developed their pitch of their proposition.”