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Community-Driven Neobank, College-Debt Platform Win ISG Startup Challenges

Audiences at ISG events vote for socially impactful tech startups

Two innovative technology start-ups – one offering personalized banking for immigrants in Europe, the other helping people reduce college debt by engaging with brands – won ISG Startup Challenges at recent industry events hosted by Information Services Group (ISG) (Nasdaq: III), a leading global technology research and advisory firm.

ISG Startup Challenges feature entrepreneurs behind innovative solutions who deliver pitches on how their technology will add the most value to a business or community. Event judges question the presenters, and audience members vote for the technology they are more likely to implement within their own organizations.

Four enterprises competed in the ISG Startup Challenge at the ISG TechXchange: Banking and Financial Services event, September 19–20, in Paris. Welcome Place, a community-driven neobank that offers innovative and inclusive financial solutions in Europe, was selected the winner.

Welcome Place CTO Hamze Ghalebi competed against Aser Cortines, engineering director, and Michel Kurek, CEO, France, of Multiverse Computing, which uses quantum computing to reduce energy consumption and the carbon footprint of AI applications; Arno Ricou, quantum applications engineer, and Claire-Marine d'Ussel, senior business developer, Quandela, which provides photonic quantum computers that are modular, scalable, energy-efficient and accessible, on the cloud and on premise, and Sabrina Bensifi, CEO of Bankr Club, a matching platform for bankers and entrepreneurs.

“A shared commitment to social values is a clear trend across the banking and financial services industry,” said Colas Truong, ISG partner and host of the event. “In addition, the agile use of technology is enabling the industry to meet consumer demands for new digital assets, personalized services and security. Welcome Place brings that movement to immigrants and refugees in the form of online, inclusive banking that is meaningful, powerful and impactful.”

The ISG Startup Challenge audience at the ISG SourceIT event, September 14–15, in Dallas, selected College Cash, a platform that allows brands to increase awareness and engagement by paying people for creating user content with credits that can be used to pay down their student loans.

Demetrius Curry, CEO and founder of College Cash, presented his platform on stage against Lalit Ahluwalia, CEO, DigitalXForce Corporation, a unified digital trust platform to safeguard digital assets and information; Rajiv Gupta, founder and managing partner of Buying Simplified, a service provider specializing in back-office finance and procurement functions, and Tina Mani, CEO and co-founder of contextual commerce platform Unthinkinc.

“The ISG SourceIT event explored strategies for continuous, transparent, integrated cost optimization, and ways to increase the agility and effectiveness of traditional business sourcing with digital tools and improved upstream and downstream intelligence,” said Bill Huber, ISG partner and host of ISG SourceIT. “College Cash pays down students’ debt in return for their participation in user-generated content campaigns and enables brands to grow and reach new audiences in a socially positive way. This was a compelling presentation of exactly the type of agile, collaborative new approach that’s needed today.”

For more information about the ISG Startup Challenge and the ISG TechXchange: Banking and Financial Services and ISG SourceIT events, visit the ISG Events website.

About ISG

ISG (Information Services Group) (Nasdaq: III) is a leading global technology research and advisory firm. A trusted business partner to more than 900 clients, including more than 75 of the world’s top 100 enterprises, ISG is committed to helping corporations, public sector organizations, and service and technology providers achieve operational excellence and faster growth. The firm specializes in digital transformation services, including automation, cloud and data analytics; sourcing advisory; managed governance and risk services; network carrier services; strategy and operations design; change management; market intelligence and technology research and analysis. Founded in 2006, and based in Stamford, Conn., ISG employs more than 1,600 digital-ready professionals operating in more than 20 countries—a global team known for its innovative thinking, market influence, deep industry and technology expertise, and world-class research and analytical capabilities based on the industry’s most comprehensive marketplace data. For more information, visit


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