Edan Yago ... award is gratifying
At Sibos, the SWIFT-run banking and financial conference in Boston – billed as the world’s largest banking conference – cryptocurrency and blockchain focused company Epiphyte was awarded “Top Startup” at SWIFT’s Innotribe Innovation Event.
Epiphyte won the title of “Top Startup” with its first product, cBridge, providing banks with the technology for real-time international transactions at reduced costs.
As “Top Startup” of the Challenge, Epiphyte also won the $50,000 cash prize. Judges were asked to determine which company was likely to have the greatest impact on the future of the financial industry. Epiphyte beat over 280 other competing fintech startups.
Epiphyte’s CEO and founder, Edan Yago, said: “We have spent the last year and a half working with banks to help them integrate distributed ledger and blockchain-based technologies in a low risk and compliant way.
“We are building the bridge between established finance and cryptofinance. It’s very gratifying to be awarded this prize here, at the world’s largest banking convention. Banks, Bitcoin and other distributed ledger-based technologies have a great deal to gain from each other.”
Kevin Johnson, SWIFT Innotribe Startup Challenge Manager, said: “I feel Epiphyte’s pitch at the startup competition was voted by the audience as the winner due to the connection he made to the audience, showing how they can benefit from this technology and the, business model," he explained.
During the competition, Epiphyte unveiled technology to allow banks to facilitate consumer to merchant payments utilizing cryptocurrencies. Bank customers can perform the transactions in familiar currencies such as dollars or euros directly from their bank accounts, without the banks having to hold cryptocurrencies themselves.
Payment processing by cryptocurrency is the fastest growing payment processing method, with companies such as Square, PayPal and Dell signing up in recent months.
Jo Lang, Epiphyte’s Product Lead and co-founder, said, “Banks have seen how 500 million of their customers have become empowered to make purchases through this payment rail. They are concerned that currently they are not part of this loop.
“Epiphyte is helping our banking customers see additional revenue by providing a service that a growing number of customers want.”
SWIFT Innotribe is an annual global fintech competition bringing together global startups and innovators with investors, strategists, and influential decision-makers from leading financial institutions across the globe.
The initiative seeks to bridge the gap between the startup ecosystem and the financial services industry, looking for products and services that could disrupt current business models and create opportunities for new ones.
Edan Yago ... from school debates to Tel Aviv water fights
Edan Yago came to live in Israel from South Africa at age 11. He studied at Tichon Hadash high school in Tel Aviv and became very involved in Siach ve Sig, the Israeli youth debating organization.
He entered and won competitions locally and abroad, and later became a coach for the Israel team, accompanying them in competitions abroad. While still at school he began teaching debate at various schools as part of the English curriculum. He continued with this until he left for the USA.
After finishing his compulsory service in the Israeli army, Edan completed a BA in Philosophy and Rhetoric at Tel Aviv University.
He established “Charisma”, a business communication consulting firm specializing in guiding top high-tech and business management with their presentations for global audiences.
He was accepted to the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon, in Pittsburgh, PA, USA, where he completed his MBA studies.
Edan also left his mark on the Tel Aviv social scene. He orchestrated the first Tel Aviv “water fight” which today, in its eleventh year, has become an integral part of the city’s social calendar, and is enjoyed by thousands annually.
In 2014 Cryptofinance Company, Epiphyte, of which Edan is CEO and founder, won the SWIFT Innotribe Startup Competition with its first product – cBridge.