The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) FinTech Conference has named Kenyan startup, Money254, as the grand prize winner of its 2022 FinTech Startup Pitch Competition.

Money254 is Kenya’s first financial services comparison platform, which makes it easier for users to find, compare and apply for financial products based on their needs and eligibility.

Money254 users can search and apply for financial products including personal loans, business loans, and savings accounts from leading banks, microfinance institutions, and digital apps on the go by combining independent financial product research with partnerships across leading institutions.

The firm was established in response to the hurdle of navigating financial product choice for Kenya’s 25 million financially included adults and 7.5 million business owners countrywide.

Money254 says it has aggregated and independently researched all the terms of more than 300 financial products to ensure the consumer has a complete and clearer picture.

The startup was selected from eight finalists out of more than 100 fintech startups globally, all of whom joined tech leaders at the MIT FinTech Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts to make their final pitch in front of a global audience and industry-leading judges in late February.

The conference culminated in the award event for the FinTech Startup Pitch Competition, with Money254 being feted as the winner, taking home the grand prize of $30,000.

This comes on the wake of the start-up launching a facility that enables consumers to directly apply for a wide range of lending products, through the Money254 platform.

Accepting the prize, Money254 CEO and Co-Founder Lorcan O Cathain said the recognition was a boost to the startup’s aim to improve transparency in the financial services sector.

“At Money254 we’re building a central place for Kenyans to learn about, manage and move their money between the financial institutions and products that make the most sense for them. We’re deeply humbled to receive this honour and excited for what the future holds for the company,” Cathain said.

Other finalists were Zumma, a Mexico-based community-focused digital wealth management platform; MiKashBoks, a Brooklyn-based peer-to-peer saving and lending platform; OpDeFi, a platform to invest in decentralised finance; CashEx, a digital banking platform for African immigrants; Finch, a New York-based current account balance investing platform; Bitadx, a cryptocurrency trading platform and Slyde, a US-based payment platform.

The MIT FinTech Conference is one of the world’s largest student-led conferences and brings together more than 1,000 participants from over 60 countries to explore innovation and disruption in financial technology.

This 8th edition featured world-renowned academics and professionals such as Paulo Passoni, a Managing Investment Partner of SoftBank's $5Bn LatAm Fund; Snejina Zacharia, founder and CEO of Insurify, David Green, the CEO of Earnest, United States largest refinancer of student loans and Neha Narula, the Director of the Digital Currency Initiative at MIT among others.