Global Competitions for SupTech Vendors
SUPTECH LAUNCHPAD 2023
Lean Procurement And Agile Prototyping
To Deliver 3 Innovative Suptech Applications
The Cambridge SupTech Lab has launched three competitions to prototype suptech applications focusing on advancing financial consumer protection supervision in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). The solutions are based on proofs of concept (PoCs) developed by the supervisors who graduated from the 2022 Innovation Leadership Programme.
Through the competitions, the University of Cambridge is selecting and contracting three tech vendors that will receive funding to collaborate with the involved financial authorities and the Lab in the development of the prototypes. By joining the Launchpad, each selected vendor will receive an award between $100,000 and $135,000, tailored coaching, and invitations to the Lab’s pitch day to connect with funders, to a demo day to present their products to potential clients and to the Lab’s hackathons and techsprints. They will also be showcased in the Lab’s website and case studies.
The prototypes are developed in collaboration with five supervisory agencies: the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Philippines), the Bank of Ghana, the Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (Indonesia), the Reserve Bank of India, the Securities and Exchange Commission of the Philippines and the Superintendencia de Banca, Seguros y Administradoras Privadas de Fondos de Pensiones (Peru).
Seven vendors were shortlisted through in the Expressions of Interest phase and will receive the Requests for Proposal (RFPs) on March 27: FNA, Hoory, Innova Limited, Proto, Talanta 10, Synechron and Winnow Technologies.
The Proposals are due on April 4. The projects will kick off at the end of April. The prototypes are due by the end of November.
The 2023 Competitions are supported by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Asian Development Bank.
Financial consumer protection suite with web scraper and ML-based analysis
Contract Value: USD125,000
This prototype application will serve two agencies within the same country in their efforts to collect and process consumer protection data from web and social media channels, extending their consumer protection data collection capabilities, and complement the ability for customers of financial services to raise explicit complaints raised prior chatbot deployments.
It is an advanced analytics tool capable of processing streams of web and social media channels, and linking with entities and trends in historical complaints data, using machine learning (ML) to provide a comprehensive view of the market in the interest of consumer protection initiatives for two financial authorities.
Next-generation AI-powered, chatbot supported, complaints management system
Contract Value: USD135,000
This prototype application will augment existing chatbot deployments in two countries by providing an advanced analytics interface, powered by a data warehouse to centrally store data from complaints sources and other collection channels, and enable cross-silo actionability by supervisors.
These chatbot upgrades will bring NLP and other AI technologies into the collection process for financial authorities in two countries, along with a data warehouse and dashboard solution that draws from historical complaints data in order to surface trends that can be useful across departments.
Financial market monitoring via social media and web extraction
Contract Value: USD100,000
This prototype application introduces advanced monitoring tools via social media and other channels, building on initial efforts already in place at the agency. When an issue relating to a supervised entity or activity is raised and resolved via a consumer complaint, inspection, or otherwise, that is not always the end of the story. Further monitoring ensures the issue remains resolved.
These advanced market monitoring tools extend the existing capability of the authority, going beyond basic sentiment analysis to surface trends, anomalies and other patterns in the data that is relevant to monitoring of entities and activities flagged through other processes.
Example Of Past Project And Funded Vendor
The Lab’s Launchpad competitions are modeled after the RegTech for Regulators Accelerator (R2A) experience and process. In 2018, R2A awarded three tech start-ups to develop suptech prototypes in partnership with the Philippines’ Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Mexican Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores. All projects were successfully completed. The groundbreaking applications developed by R2A have been deployed and scaled. More information can be found in the R2A website.
One of the applications conceived and sponsored by R2A is the free speech bilingual chatbot and processing utility for customer complaints. Please click the links below to download the case study and receive a message from Curtis Matlock, CEO of Proto, the startup that was awarded the project through the R2A competition.
What are the SupTech Launchpad Competitions 2023 about?
The financial authorities participating in the Innovation Leadership Programme 2022 developed 26 proofs of concept (PoCs) of suptech applications that would enhance their supervisory capabilities. The Lab selected four PoCs focusing on consumer protection supervision that will be prototyped in 2023. Through global competitions, the Lab will award four technology providers to build the applications. The five working prototypes are sponsored primarily by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with other potential sources of funding possible to further the cohort of solutions.
What is the timeline for the SupTech Launchpad Competitions 2023?
- Expression of Interest Window: 27 February – 9 March
- Request for Proposal Window: 27 March – 4 April
- Winners announced: 2 May
- Projects kick-off: 17 May
- Projects completed: 30 November
Please note the dates above may be subject to change if necessary. All applicants will be duly informed of any changes.
What does the award consist of?
Each winning vendor will be awarded between USD100,000 and USD135,000 (depending on the specific project) to develop and test the required working prototype solution. This is a fixed-sum contract intended to cover all the vendor’s expenses related to the development and testing work, including staff time, hardware, software, travel, and all other project-related expenses.
Moreover, each firm will be invited to join the Cambridge SupTech Lab Launchpad. Through the Launchpad, the vendors will:
- receive tailored coaching
- be invited to the Lab’s pitch day to connect with funders and to a demo day to present their products to potential clients
- be listed in the Lab’s online Vendor Database.
- be mentioned in a case study published by the Univeristy of Cambridge to share lessons from the project
- engage with the suptech community through the Lab’s hackathons and techsprints
- be introduced to the global community of regulators and supervisors, investors, academics and development partners that are collaborating with the Cambridge SupTech Lab during other events hosted by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF).
How does the process of shortlisting and selection work?
The shortlisting and selection process is characterized by:
- Blind review process: A panel of expert reviewers will score anonymised proposals.
- Competitor scorecard: Applications will be assessed by the panel using a set of scoring metrics and weighing the relative importance of each attribute.
- Rapid turnaround time: The winning vendor will receive 50% of the total USD100,000-USD135,000 (depending on the specific project) within 48 days of the final proposal submission. The last 50% of the award will be transferred in one instalment upon completion and signoff of the deliverables according to projected timelines.
Who can participate in the Competitions?
The SupTech Launchpad 2023 Competitions aim to attract high-potential startups and developers who are seeking engagement with financial authorities to accelerate their idea or solution into the growing suptech market. Participation is open to firms from around the world that are looking to develop solutions to address financial sector regulatory oversight and supervision challenges.
Is there a cost to participating in the Competitions?
Do I already need a prototype of my project to participate?
Not necessarily, although past work may serve to demonstrate expertise (i.e., experience designing, innovating, developing and testing working solutions with supervisory authorities in the suptech space) and thus may be taken into consideration.
How are the proposals judged?
We look for proposals with clarity and focus, responsiveness to the financial authorities’ needs and a good chance of successful prototype development.
Proposals from vendors will be judged based on a combination of factors, including:
- relevant experience in building technologies required for the particular solution
- technical and managerial expertise
- adequacy of resources
- responsiveness to requirements laid out in the REOI and RFP
- feasibility of the proposed execution plan
- level of innovation brought to the proposed suptech solutions.
Additional details are included in the REOI and/or RFP documents, and associated scorecards will be provided to judges to ensure a consistent rating system.
Who will be participating in the judging panels, and how are judges selected?
There are two independent sets of judges, one for each phase of the competition, selected based on the expertise required for each stage. At the REOI stage, the single panel for all solutions consisted of the University of Cambridge experts, who specialise in shortlisting EOI applications. At the RFP stage, we invite a curated set of judges specific to the requirements of each RFP, with expertise covering the relevant supervisory area, the development and deployment of innovative products, AI and data science, human-centred design (HCD), business modelling, etc.
What are the next steps if my application wins the Competition?
Once you are selected as a winner of a specific Competition, the Lab will then do the last due diligence on the company, register your company within the Cambridge Judge Business School procurement system, and send all the contracts for the development of the project. The winners are planned to be officially announced on 2 May, and after you have issued the first invoice, we plan to transfer the first 50% of the award by 17 May.
Will I receive feedback on my idea/prototype if I am not selected?
We expect to receive a significant number of applications and, therefore, it is unlikely that we will be able to provide specific feedback to the firms that are not selected.
How do I know the judges will not steal my solution?
Judges will sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that will prevent them from profiting from any intellectual property you choose to describe through this process.
What are the project award amounts?
Depending on the specific project – in particular, the number of financial authorities (up to two) and geographies involved (up to two) – the award for each competition will be between USD100,000 and USD135,000.
Is the grant a one-time award, or can it be renewed?
The grant is a one-time award, and it cannot be renewed. Vendors who have participated in similar processes (for example, via the R²A programme) have gone on to commercially license their suptech applications to the partnering financial authority, as well as other public and private sector organisations.
Can awards funding be used for indirect costs?
Yes. Funding may be used for any expense necessary to complete the project goals.
Will we get audited during the project?
Vendors and innovators must be prepared to be accountable for the money they spend.
What kinds of deliverables will the award recipients need to provide and when will they be due?
These items and timelines are explicitly elaborated in each RFP and finalized during contracting and project kick-off in the form of a project agreement.
Who will own the developed prototypes?
When vendors submit their final prototypes, they are not transferring ownership to the financial authorities. Instead, vendors will retain ownership of the prototype but will give the financial authorities, the University, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation access via a perpetual, transferrable license to the prototype for continuity purposes. Additionally, prototypes funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are subject to their Global Access requirements. Vendors will be free to use the idea or prototypes for any purpose, either independently or in partnership with others, after the 20–month period.
Vendors will provide an unlimited, perpetual, transferable, worldwide, irrevocable, non-exclusive, fully paid-up, royalty-free license to use, execute, perform, display, share with contractors or project funders, maintain, modify, adapt, enhance, and create derivative works of the deliverables, in object code form, to Cambridge Judge Business School and the respective financial authority.
For clarity, this license does not include a perpetual license for the use of the vendor’s underlying pre-existing software or intellectual property. Any license to use the pre-existing software independently developed prior to the provision of services within this project shall be agreed to by the parties in a separate agreement.
Can the product/idea developed from this process be commercialised?
Working prototypes funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are subject to their Global Access requirements, the implications of which will be project specific, and thus elaborated in a separate agreement with the vendor.
Can I work on other projects while working with a SupTech Launchpad financial authority, or would I be expected to work solely with the partnering agency?
We do not expect exclusivity from the vendor. Still, we do consider in your proposal the fact that you will have specific resources focused on the development of the prototype, and your involvement in other projects will not hinder the correct development of the project you have been awarded, and limit the rights and expectations of the Lab and the financial authority you will partner with.
What are the specific requirements to participate in the process?
The project requires a vendor with the capacity, relevant experience, and resources to design, develop, test, and deploy a prototype of a suptech application. The requirements for each competition are detailed in the associated REOI and/or RFP, but, for example, key qualifications may be drawn from the following list of criteria:
- Specificity: The competition is result oriented, and the proposed solution needs to have a high level of detail and granularity with respect to the expected output.
- Precedent: The applicant needs to work on a novel solution.
- Geography: The vendor can be based in any jurisdiction. Data needs to be stored in an infrastructure compliant with the needs of the financial authority.
- Collaboration: The development of the solution should be conducted in collaboration with the team designated by the financial authority in each distinct phase.
- The vendor and proposal must ensure sufficient experience to build an application that can serve the data needs of the financial authority, for example:
- integrate with the existing application within a governmental entity
- allow the migration of existing data
- provide real-time, on-demand support and the ability to generate reports or summaries
- provide a high standard of application security.
- A demonstrated ability to:
- manage the product life cycle
- develop, complete, implement, maintain, and deliver the appropriate technologies
- properly write documentation
- maintain an enterprise ecosystem.
- Experience with:
- suptech solutions
- working with regulators and financial authorities
- frontend development and UI/UX design (as needed)
- data products and practical applications of analytics and data science (for example, AI/ML)
- software engineering
- application architecture and DevOps
- programme/project management and business analysis
- agile methodologies for application development
- application integration and performance tuning/optimisation.
- Knowledge including:
- cybersecurity and secure application development coding standards
- best practices in the relevant fields to the solution at hand.
- Technical expertise in related knowledge and experience
- Sufficient staffing and computing resources required by the identified feature and time requirements and constraints
- Sufficient specification of online, on-premises and/or hybrid computing resources
- Adequate project management staffing based on requirements
- Software, hardware, network, and cloud computing licenses and subscriptions to cover the development, implementation, and warranty period
Generally speaking, the requirements are the ability to leverage technical skills, context expertise, and agile delivery methodologies for project planning, design, building and testing, stakeholder engagement, and effective risk management to ensure on-time completion of the project without budget overrun.
What supporting documentation must be provided by vendors?
Interested vendors must demonstrate that they are qualified to perform the services required for the project, as specified in each Competition’s respective REOI and/or RFP. For example, interested vendors are asked to address the following requirements in their submission:
- Company and/or C-suite background (including the technical and managerial capabilities of the firm), including a list of past representative projects
- Information on the qualifications of management and key staff to be involved in the project, including whether they have experience working on suptech projects
- A summary of your working experience in the following geographies: (1) the Philippines, (2) Indonesia, (3) Ghana, (4) Peru and (5) India
- Examples of prior experience related to the development of this solution prototype or similar technological solutions
- Indicative development/implementation schedule based on the timeline set out above
- Supporting documents may be submitted (for example, company brochures, case studies and CVs) as attachments to the submission email.
What level of fidelity do we mean when we say working prototype?
By ‘working prototype’, we mean a functional solution that delivers the capabilities laid out in the Competition document and subsequent project agreement, integrating with live systems and databases as required for completion. We do not mean an interactive design, a proof of concept, or other non-functional artefacts that do not deliver the required functionality.
How does the Launchpad provide for the continuity of the solution beyond the working prototype?
Through the innovative Competition and partnering processes introduced here, all parties’ needs are served through appropriate partnering documents, agreements, and licensing arrangements, while retaining maximum flexibility in arrangements beyond the delivery of the working prototype. For vendors, this means an ability to continue building upon the work delivered here; for financial authorities, this means procuring the vendor introduced via the SupTech Launchpad or continuing forward with an in-house or another team that best meets their needs. The continuity of services is prioritised while also ensuring a healthy marketplace of solutions.
How can I contact the Lab to understand more about the process?
Any general questions prior to the submission deadline should be sent via email to the SupTech Launchpad at firstname.lastname@example.org and copied to the Cambridge SupTech Lab at email@example.com , with the subject line ‘Cambridge SupTech Lab – SupTech Launchpad 2023 Competitions’. Specific questions about each project should reference the particular project, according to each REOI and/or RFP requirements.