Finnovista’s hackathon in Barcelona will focus on new ideas in financial services

Spanish start-up support organisation Finnovista is hosting a ‘hackathon’ in Barcelona next month which it says will bring together programmers, designers and business people to develop new software for retail banking, capital markets, payments and big data.

The event is part of an initiative called Next Bank Europe, which itself is the European leg of a wider project that covers business innovation and startups in North America, Central and South America and Europe. It is an expansion from the organisation’s efforts last year, which were mainly focused on Spain and Latin America. The focus is on technology and financial services challenges, as well as new ways of thinking about the customer.

“This is about innovation, entrepreneurs and disruptive new ideas,” said Fermin Bueno, partner at Finnovista, the body that organises Next Bank Europe. “The future is in this mixture of startups and banks, because the best ideas often come from the outside. Disruptive technology often allows business models that few had realised were possible.”

The hackathon will take place at the Next Bank Europe conference between 17-19 September. Participants will have access to the Open bank Project API, as well as other APIs. At the end of the hackathon on the 17 September, participants will demo their hacks to a panel of financial technology entrepreneurs and innovators who will select one as the winner. The winner will then be invited to present at the main conference the next day.

“Banks know that by opening up their APIs they are gaining access to innovation and to new revenue opportunities via a rich and broad range of value-added products and apps,” said Simon Redfern, chief executive at the Open Bank Project. “We’re excited to see the sorts of inventive and original solutions that the workshop will produce in the context of an international audience like Next Bank Europe.”

The Next Bank project grew out of the Innotribe Startup Disrupt event held in Madrid last year. That event was a partnership between Finnovista, Nasdaq and Swift’s Innotribe innovation wing. Swift already had its own similar startup challenge, but it was decided that more needed to be done for the Spanish and Latin American community. The event has since grown and gone global.

Finnovista is also running events in Mexico, where the final of the North American start up competition will be held in October, and in Bogota where the Latin American start up challenge final will be held. The events are supported by BBVA and will aim to present 20 of the most promising start ups from the 850 total entrants. Lazero Campos, former chief executive at Swift, is on the advisory board. The finalists are expected to be named early next month.