42 fintech teams covering 11 European countries (Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic ,Greece, Cyprus) and even from outside of Europe, applied to be part of the challenge to build value creation applications on top of the battle tested Open Banking data aggregation platform provided by Finqware.
After a thorough selection process, the competition kicked off on the 29th of September with the best 15 teams having the mission to develop, in only 5 days, a new innovative fintech application to prove a use case of leveraging connection to banking data that is now available based on Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) in European countries.
After days of designing and programming digital fintech applications, the best 5 projects got the spotlight of being on the final stage in the Grand Finale demo night that took place on Sunday 3rd of October 4PM CET, broadcasted live on the internet.
The 5 teams that got it to the final gala to showcase their ideas were: Formaps (Romania), Elucidate AI (Cyprus), ProxiCash (Romania), Dry Cash (Bulgaria), Loany.io (Romania). After a tough deliberation, the jury, formed of 12 C-level representatives of big tech companies and regional banking institutions decided to award the winners:
- BIG WINNER Prize (5,000 € cash) - ProxiCash (Romania) - A fintech startup to encourage banking penetration in rural areas, by addressing the users’ main concern, lack of access to cash. Their unique approach would allow people to withdraw funds from their bank accounts from any of the more than 30.000 proximity stores throughout the countryside.
- Finqware Special Prize (PoC partnership) - Dry Cash (Bulgaria) – A fintech solution simplify work processes for accountants in order to amplify business. This would be done through using open banking to automate banks statement processes for accountants.
On top of the awards, all the finalist teams received a Runner-Up Prize that included Google Cloud Credits and green card to the Next Fintech Accelerator Program organized by Techcelerator, one of the accelerators supporting the event. Additionally, teams received Wolves Summit virtual passes to attend the conference taking place this month.
“Open Banking Hackathon was exactly the opportunity we were looking for to explore, experiment, and improve our product. It was great to see so much support for open banking innovation in the industry, both when it comes to feedback and availability for further collaboration. We hope this is only the first step towards making finance more accessible to everyone and look forward to seeing what all the teams will be doing over the next period.” - Dan Cobeanu, Founder ProxiCash, the grand prize winner.
The 5 days innovation challenge was supported by Microsoft Romania as main partner, along with Google Cloud as technology partner, The National Bank of Romania as institutional partner and important banks like Banca Comerciala Romana, Alpha Bank, Raiffeisen Bank International and OTP Bank. Along with them the international law firm CMS and technology companies QUALITANCE and ZITEC have also partnered in the event, interested to see Open Banking getting traction in the financial industry. As supporting partners, DHL Express Romania, Mindspace Bucharest and Grai Ventures are offering their premises and services to secure a successful hackathon.
The supporting partners that contributed to the success of the event are fintech associations, innovation communities and startup accelerators from Austria (Pioneers, Elevator Lab, Advantage Austria), Czech Republic (Czech Fintech Association), Hungary (OTP Lab), Romania (Techcelerator, InnovX-BCR, Rofin.Tech, Startup Grind Bucharest), Bulgaria (Eleven Accelerator, Bulgaria Fintech), Slovakia (Slovak Fintech) with many local communities and groups offering their support for the event.
“This year’s competition was clear proof of a growing fintech innovation landscape. Teams that took part in the hackathon were more experienced and had a good business understanding of the market, thus developing high quality open banking projects. This shows that the continuous investment and support in the market, offered by such events and their partners, pays off over time. We wish to continue our contribution to the financial industry ecosystem by being a driver of such projects and initiatives.” - Cosmin Cosma, CEO of Finqware, the initiator of this event.
The Open Banking Hackathon CEE Edition 2021 grand finale and awards gala can be seen online on Facebook and on the website www.openbankinghackathon.com.