The Railsbank Open Banking API Hackathon (#OpenBankHack17) which recently took place in London, was declared a resounding success as 75 participants divided into 13 teams spent 48 hours creating innovative banking services on the Railsbank Open Banking API.
The hackers praised the event, with Lucas Farah saying: “I have taken part in over 20 hackathons all over the world and this is one of the best.”
Celine said: "It's 2017 and it’s about time that gender equality is more widely recognised around the field of IT and technology. It's great that Railsbank are encouraging more women into IT. I've loved taking part."
Ralf Lagzda said: “The Railsbank API is an awesome product.”
The eventual winner, after a five-minute pitch, was the Excellent Banking team, consisting of Jamie McCrindle and his cat, which won the top cash prize of £750 for Best Overall Solution. The idea was based on building an Excel front end for Railsbank with multi-level authentication.
On winning the award, James McCrindle said: “I really enjoyed #OpenBankHack17. A huge thank you to RailsBank for organising it. It’s also thanks to their great API that I was able to build something compelling enough to win. I’m excited about working with them to turn it into a real product.”
The other winners were:
Best Practical/Commercial use of Railsbank API - Matrix
Best Female Hacker - Joint winners Ruta Karklina, Messenger Bank, and Fifi Kara-Newton, Coverdraft
Best Student Hacker - Alexas of Messenger Bank.
Receiving an honorary mention were:
Team Oracle - within Best Overall Solution category;
iTick and Bankise - within Best Technical Solution category;
joint mentions Dilek Sekin-Ukan, School of Code, and Audrey Arnault, Openbankise - within Best Female Hacker category;
Yin from Caimans - within Best Student Hacker category.
Hackers came from Brazil, Italy, France, Latvia, India and from across the UK, plus teams from the University of Hertfordshire and University of Coventry.
Banking entrepreneurs Nigel Verdon and Clive Mitchell, co-founders of FinTech platform Railsbank, were hosts.
Judges were Railsbank CTO Adam McGreggor, supported by Erica Young, Director, Anthemis Group; Richard Hall, Founder and CEO, CloudOrigin; Megan Caywood, Chief Platform Officer, Starling Bank; Gregoire Michael, Program Manager, Tech City UK; Alexa Fernandez, FinTech Partnerships, BBVA; Gen Ashley, from Women Who Code and a former NASA engineer; and, Gabrielle Inzirillo from Ventures BNP.
The Hackathon challenges were based around building a challenger bank in a weekend and taking compliance from the world of paper into the world of digital.
Nigel Verdon, Railsbank CEO, said: “We asked our hackers to be creative and push the boundaries of what can be built using Open Banking APIs, building the next generation of innovative banking and compliance services. And wow, did these teams deliver on that. We were amazed and delighted at the solutions and ideas that were pitched on the final day. It’s great to see the amount of talent out there and we thank all those who took part in what was a superb weekend.”
Hacker Lucas Farah, aged 20 from, Brazil said: "I have taken part in over 20 hackathons all over the world and this is one of the best. The event was really well organised and 48 hours gives you enough time to create a really polished product." Lucas and his friends Heverton Rodrigies and Vinicius Souuza are travelling Europe to learn English and take part in hacks.
The School of Code based in Birmingham, whose mission is to get more and different types of people into technology, sent a dynamic team of five students. Hacker 19-year-old Celine said the hackathon was an “…absolutely amazing and a great learning experience."
She was one of five women coders who took part. She added: "It's 2017 and it’s about time that gender equality is more widely recognised around the field of IT and technology. It's great that Railsbank are encouraging more women into IT. I've loved taking part."
Gen Ashley, from Women Who Code and a former NASA engineer, judged the category for the best female hacker, with Alexa Fernandez from BBVA. Gen said: “The industry take up of women coders fluctuates between 6-16%. My mission is to try and encourage more women into the industry. I am thrilled to have been asked to judge the best female hacker."
Hacker Ralf Lagzda, 22, a University Student from Latvia said: “The Railsbank API is an awesome product.” His team of three created, 'Messenger Bank' over 48 hours, connecting the Railsbank API to Facebook Messenger and Amazon Alexa.
Skills Matter was the media partner to the event and lead sponsor. Other sponsors included ComplyAdvantage, Vacuum Labs, Startup Boot Camp FinTech, Fintech Connect Live, Starling Bank and IO Recruitment.
The Hackathon took place at Rainmaking Loft, Startupbootcamp FinTech, International House, 1 St. Katharine’s Way, London, E1W 1UN.
Some more pictures below: