About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Meet the innovators helping you understand your money

Whether you’re that person who has a master spreadsheet listing every penny that has gone in and out of your bank accounts in the last 12 years, or you take a ‘close your eyes and pray that you don’t hit the red’ approach to banking, chances are that one of the finalists of Nesta Challenges' Open Up 2020 Challenge could help you to understand and do more with your money.

15.2 million people in the UK say that they regularly run out of money each month[1]. Add to this the reality of everyday challenges for many UK consumers; from the irregular incomes of gig economy workers to issues relating to mental health wellbeing and vulnerability, and managing money can get really complex.

With chatbots that help you set and stick to a budget; services that help you smooth your irregular income; apps that automatically put spare pennies into high-interest saving accounts; and digital debt advisors who get you back on track, there are a number options that mean when you have a crisis before payday you don’t have to turn to predatory payday lenders. There are solutions out there that help you build your credit score and avoid hefty rental deposits. The finalists of Open Up 2020 are here to transform your bank balance - leaving you, and the rest of the UK, more in control with transparent, accessible and fair products.

A list of logo finalists: Cleo; Kalgera; Moneyhub; Toucan; Tully; Moneybox; Plum; Creditspring; Portify; Wagestream; Canopy; Currensea; Mojo; Sustainably.

A staggering 52% of UK consumers say they want to feel more in control of their finances but over 58% of consumers say that they trust existing banks more than a new bank or financial service provider. Open Banking empowers consumers to share their current account and credit card data with new or less-well-known financial service providers in a safe, secure and simple way that keeps them in the driving seat, deciding how long they’d like to share their data and enabling them to revoke consent at any time. 81% of people who have tried open banking powered services say that it has helped them to feel more in control of their money[2].

81% of people using open banking said it helped

Following the success of Nesta’s Open Up 2018 Challenge, which supported 25 teams delivering services using open banking for small and medium-sized organisations, the Open Up 2020 Challenge is designed to accelerate and showcase exceptional open banking-enabled innovation for consumers.

Delivering in partnership with Open Banking Limited, Nesta has designed a package of support to supercharge each of the finalist teams’ growth, enabling them to jointly reach millions of consumers across the UK and beyond.

Finalists will receive £50,000-£100,000 prize money to support them to develop and market their services, together with an exciting programme of support. Nesta will be launching a nationwide digital marketing campaign to raise consumer awareness and trust in open banking, featuring each of the 15 finalists.

Teams were chosen from a pool of over 100 entrants - and will present back to the judging panel that selected them in June 2020. The judges will choose three to four winners who will each receive a further £150,000-£200,000.

Watch this space, or head over to the Open Up 2020 Challenge Site to hear more about each of the finalists.

Catherine is a Programme Manager at Nesta Challenges, working on the Open Up 2020 Challenge.


Catherine Duncan

Catherine Duncan

Catherine Duncan

Senior Programme Manager, Challenge Works


Catherine is a senior programme manager, currently focusing on delivering the inaugural Manchester Prize, looking for AI for environment, energy and infrastructure to benefit the UK.

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