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Lessons from a Fintech Hackathon

This year’s Jewish holiday season ended in a bang for the Israeli Fintech industry: with a visit of a senior delegation from the Colombian baking giant Davivienda organized by SIT. The owner, president, CEO and VPs of the bank came to Tel Aviv with a dense meeting schedule which included dozens of startups; and an a unique Hackathon.

This Hackathon saw eight participating startups and seven teams, all of whom went through a vetting system. The bank sent 4 of its managers, considered the best internal experts in the challenge posed to participants, that mentored the competition closely for 14 long hours. Teams were competing for prizes that ensured continued collaboration with the bank after the event, and the startups had an opportunity to work at the Hackathon and tweak their products to suite the bank’s needs. The goal of the intense mentoring was to come out of this event with real business potential.

The winning team, Efectibot, led by Daniel Shoshani, Or Demri and Matan Cohen, created a chatbot based money transfer solution backed by Blockchain technology. They won two additional days of meetings with the bank representatives and a flight to Bogota to plan for piloting their solution.

The bank invited selected startups that participated in the Hackathon for additional meetings with its representatives, both here and via video conference. These meetings were guided by SIT and the Hackathon team to ensure the full potential is reached.

The innovative Hackathon model worked well for the bank’s needs. Davivienda is planning to continue conversations with the startups and working with the winning team to further increase accessibility to its services in Colombia and abroad.

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