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NEWS - 8. February 2018 17:55

The hackathon of Garage48 and SEB seeks revolution in digital data exchange

The open banking hackathon, organised by SEB and Garage48, will bring together fintech companies and enthusiasts from Estonia as well as Latvia. The aim of the three-day programming marathon is to test the financial services of the next generation.

Several technology companies who already provide functioning services have registered for the hackathon. According to Ragnar Toomla, Head of Digital Strategy of the Baltic division of SEB, the bank can help them scale their service, thereby also offering future added value for the clients of SEB.

‘Even though we think that Estonian society is very developed in the digital area, it is mainly due to the availability of the services of the public sector. Looking at the digitalisation of companies, however, we can see that according to the DESI (Digital Economy and Society Index), we are in 20th place among 28 European countries. The situation regarding the digital data exchange of companies is especially dire – we are placed 23rd between Bulgaria and Romania,’ Toomla said, adding that a lot of work needs to be done to make orders, invoices, payments, and transaction information move between systems automatically and without delays.

According to Toomla, the aim of the hackathon is to create a new synergy between the so-called traditional banking and newcomers in order to make innovative solutions available to their clients.

For example, BudgetMatador, a company developing financial management software, wishes to develop integration between their platform and SEB to let the users of BudgetMatador view their payments and profits in real time. ‘Opening application programming interfaces (APIs) of banks would allow BudgetMatador to increase customer convenience, as companies could monitor and direct their cash flows from the same place,’ said Jaan Urb, co-founder of BudgetMatador.

The Open Banking Hackathon also features Paytailor, a company with Estonian roots providing an application-based payment solution. Paytailor allows users to pay with their mobile wallet in various points of sale, e-shops, and self-service locations. ‘In cooperation with SEB, we wish to develop a new direct payment solution at the hackathon to simplify the lives of thousands of people using the mobile wallet. In essence, this means that the client will add their bank account as one method of payment in the digital wallet of Paytailor, which they could then use without needing a physical bank card,’ said Mariliis Mia Topp, co-founder of Paytailor.

Investly, a company from Estonia which is deemed one of the best companies applying open banking technology in the UK, will also join the hackathon. ‘We are one of the first companies in the UK who were given access to the open banking API. This has enabled us to cooperate with leading international banking groups. The opportunity to test cooperation with SEB as part of the hackathon is invaluable,’ said Siim Maivel, CEO of Investly. According to him, the main focus will shift from ready-made products to giving clients more control in managing their finances in the future.

Due to exceptional interest in the hackathon, a need arose to create two parallel programmes – one for teams and ideas created at the event and another for teams from companies that already have their products. ‘The traditional teams of the hackathon require special mentoring to develop their ideas into possible products within 48 hours, but teams with existing products can test their products in cooperation with SEB over this weekend,’ Toomla explained the structure of the hackathon.

The SEB Open Banking Hackathon is organised in cooperation with the team of Garage48 and will take place on 16–18 February at the SEB Innovation Centre. Registration for the hackathon is open until 13 February.

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