The Railsbank Hackathon last year was such a success, that the UK-based open-banking and RegTech platform is about to do it again. We asked company co-founder and CEO Nigel Verdon why they invite over 100 coders, industry executives and FinTech entrepreneurs to gather for two-days of challenges and problem solving using the Railsbank Open Banking API.
The event goes under the hashtag #OpenBankHack18 and the theme this year is ‘anti-fraud.’ It will demonstrate how API technology can help identify rogue elements, and takes place in London on 23 to 25 November, 2018.
Nigel explained the background.
“We started our Hackathon last year and we were slightly apprehensive about organising such an event, because you never know what the reaction will be until people turn up on the day.
“The thing is, we have a reputation for putting ourselves out there, and the response to the Hackathon idea was superb. Our challenge resonated with many groups inside and outside of the industry and to coin a cliche, we all had a great time. Which is why we have made it an annual event, one which has already etched itself into the FinTech calendar.”
But given the resources it takes to organise such events, what does Railsbank gain from its Hackathon?
“We gain a huge amount from the event and remember, our mission is to empower innovators to create a better financial world. This is the lynch-pin of that ambition. It’s a chance to have some of the best minds in the business work with our open banking API, the five lines of code on which this business was built. It brings together some of the industry’s best brains and thinkers. It’s our chance to get together and brainstorm FinTech. We don’t really need any more reason than that”
Do you attract sponsors to the event?
“We do and this year we’re very pleased to have on board two great FinTech sector heavyweights, Austrian-based RegTech firm, kompany, and Aprexo, a financial technology firm which specialises in investment management software.
It’s great to have these two on board and their senior technical executives, kompany co-founder and CTO Peter Bainbridge-Clayton and Aprexo CTO Andy Thomas, will join our own Adam McGreggor, Chief Platform Officer to form part of the judging panel.”
kompany provides real-time access to audit-proof commercial register data, including company filings covering more than 100 million companies in 150+ jurisdictions for customer onboarding (KYC), anti-money laundering (AML), enhanced due diligence (EDD) and ongoing compliance processes.
Aprexo produces specialist software for the fund management business. Aprexo’s hub is an Investment Book of Record (IBOR) with a modular API-driven design, supporting integration with proprietary software and with applications sold by other vendors.
Also judging the Hackathon will be Nigel and Railsbank co-founder and COO Clive Mitchell, and Joanna Jenkins, the firm’s Head of Compliance, and a global commentator on financial fraud.
The #OpenBankHack18 takes place at the University of Greenwich, London, and the participants form teams and collaborate with mentors (senior FinTech sector entrepreneurs and executives) to create solutions to challenges based around tackling financial crime; taking compliance manuals from the world of paper into the world of digital; and, building a challenger bank within 48 hours.
Last word to Nigel.
“We have positioned ourselves as a pioneer when it comes tackling fraud via API innovation. The #OpenBankHack18 proves how seriously we take this issue and it’s great to see what comes out from such a sustained look at the subject. We’re looking forward to another great event.”
Register at https://www.railsbank.com/open