Last month we organised our first hackathon and it was awesome! Software developers and designers converged one cold weekend in November to pitch finance-related ideas for making life easier for people and businesses. At the end of 48 hours, four teams, of people who had either previously not met or worked together, presented prototypes and designs which impressed our select panel of judges consisting of industry professionals.
Friday night kicked off with attendees eating their fill of Illegal Jack’s tasty burritos whilst listening to a series of short talks by our speakers and sponsors.
This was followed by ideas being pitched and teams beginning to assemble. By the end of the night four teams had formed and submitted their teams names and product ideas.
Teams arrived at the venue 9am on Saturday morning to continue on the work they’d begun the night before. Mentors from miiCard, Deloitte, Freeagent and Workpro were made available to teams at various times throughout the day.
Hungry hacking and early learning:
Teams ate a delicious rice and chilli lunch from Illegal Jacks – dished out by the man himself! With tummies full of food made with love, the teams got back to work taking a break later in the evening for a pizza dinner.
Presentations began around 4pm on Sunday afternoon.
Up first we had Team Sneaky Little Bee who created a Chrome extension to help consumers divert money into their savings account during each purchase on sites such as Amazon and ebay. The extension would allow the consumer to set the amount they’d like to save as a percentage of each sales transaction. Users would be able to see amended prices of products on their browser (without requiring the merchant to change their prices). There would be a one-off set up effort at the start but that’s all.
- Rob (Standard Life) thought it was a fantastic idea as consumers wouldn’t have to think too hard about saving; he called it ‘friction free saving’.
- Kent (Deloitte) thought that companies like Amazon would love the ‘Save while you spend’ message.
- James (miiCard) said the team had taken a the charity giving concept, a concept which works, and applied it to savings.
Next up was Team Karigoru:
These guys also worked on an idea for helping people save money with their app called Savey. It works by requiring customers and businesses to register with Savey; when a customer makes a purchase with a registered business that is offering discounts on their products, the customer pays the full amount for the product but the amount of the discount is then sent directly to the customer’s savings account.
- Rob (Standard Life) could see Standard Life use cases already e.g. the potential to create a marketplace with their 37000 businesses and 4million customers, and ability to negotiate discounts with the businesses.
Team Null were the third team to present
This team were aiming to take us to a future of paperless banking and paperless receipts. Their product CashFlo uses NFC to send receipt info into mobile phones; the information would be stored locally. Where contactless can’t be used i.e when transaction values are >£30 then users would just scan a QR code.
- James (miicard) thought it was a brilliant idea.
- Kent (Deloitte) liked the clean, green aspect of their solution and could see wider applications e.g. making it easier to submit expenses at work.
Team Willow Vixen were the final team to present.
Their product called Glance allows users to get an overview of their personal finances and a visualisation on greater breakdowns of their financial situation. Users connect their accounts to the app and can set goals for themselves e.g. for saving. Users would have to login to the app with their Facebook login information and this would make it possible to make inferences (over time and as the user base grows) about the income brackets of a user’s wider social network.
- Judges could see wider applications e.g shared savings goals with groups of friends wanting to go on holiday together.
Awards and prizes
Whilst the event was open for talented individuals to come together and explore any idea or build any product related to financial services, there were prizes available for those teams who met certain criteria. There were two award categories:
Best insights app category was sponsored and judged by Kent Mackenzie (Deloitte Digital) and James Varga (miiCard).
This was awarded to Willow Vixen for their product ‘Glance’ – because of their use of data, tying their product up with a user’s social network, and the product’s potential to disrupt the credit industry and the established players such as Experian etc.
Most developed concept and prototype category was sponsored by Standard Life but judged independently by Jess Williamson, Director at Techstars, and Sandy McKinnon, Partner at Pentech Ventures.
This was awarded to team Sneaky Little Bee for taking a simple idea, and developing it to the point where if they kept working on it, they could probably launch it commercially within a week.
After a fun weekend of hard work, the evening ended with pizza, drinks, and playing with prizes.
This hackathon was organised by The Infinite Kind, sponsored by miiCard, Deloitte and Standard Life and supported by Startedin, Workpro and Freeagent, Techcube and Amazon Web Services. A massive heartfelt thanks for all who were involved and supported the event. We’re looking forward to the next one in February 2016!