A group of four, Daniel Konwisorz, Daniel Piętocha, Ali Ariff and me, participated in a really fun, energizing event in Berlin: the Figo Bankathon. This was essentially a team-oriented FinTech hackathon that was all about creating and sharing new ideas and kick-starting innovation in producing FinTech services and technology.
Sleepless 36 hours
It was a big challenge to draft a concept, design and code a product within less than 36 hours – but it was also great fun. Over 20 teams participated. There were a lot of innovative products produces – for example Amazon's Alexa, Blockchain as well as AI. We had a great time learning from each other and seeing the talent within the Fintech and Insurtech spaces.
This was the fifth Bankathon. There were about 400 people involved, including sponsors and developers. The sponsors this year included VISA, verimi, Mabu, FastBill and Franke&Bornberg, who also served as API providers to the teams. They opened up their IT systems to us and let us integrate their services in our fast-build products. The event was held in the headquarters of FinLeap, an international FinTech company-builder.
LISA – a LIfe SAfeguard
We did start without a single line of code. Over the course of our 36 (rather sleepless) hours, our team designed and built Lisa, a life safeguard application whose services are triggered by events in a person's life and visit of locations (such as buying plane tickets or driving to the airport). The application sends a push notification asking if you want protection for your flights in the moment this topic is relevant to you. Due to an integration of Google-Services Lisa already knows which flights you bought, for how much, and if they are insured. She will then offer you various flight protection packages from known providers that are tailored to your income level and other lifestyle factors that she accesses from your bank information (provided by figo). If you choose one you like, you could pay with VISA and your flight lists will update telling you that you are protected! Our aim was to provide insurance products not when an insurer wants but in the situation when the customer needs it.
Even though we did not win, since the competition was extremely strong and delivered also impressive use cases, we had a great time designing this service together and listening to the pitches of the other Bankathon teams.
Fintech ecosystem in Germany and central Europe
I was very impressed because this event illustrated how healthy and pervasive the FinTech ecosystem is here in Germany and Central Europe and how many talented people are applying themselves and thriving in this industry. It was a great event for networking as well, and getting connected with the up-and-coming talent and other noteworthy FinTech companies.
However, I was little bit disappointed to see so few traditional companies present, a pattern which we also saw at the recent EXEC InsurTech Conference the other week. It might be interesting to note that the building we were working from (currently FinLeap's headquarters) used to be the headquarter of the Berliner Bank which had a quite sad ending. Managers and c-suites may think of this irony – a fintech event at the headquarter of a fintech company in the building of a bank that went out of business.
Others were also interested in the interview with Daniel Schreiber, CEO of Lemonade: "It's not enough to change the design" or Work-with-me.
Thanks for the approval for the picture by Daniel Piętocha.
Thanks for the approval and the video by Louisa Giersch.