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25.07.2016

Irish start-up SBDA wins 50,000 Euros with its "Smartbanking"
app at the 2016 Appathon, UniCredit’s fintech competition

  • The award for the largest pan-European Hackathon Competition for fintech specialists, featuring the best financial apps from all across Europe designed by SMEs and start-ups, took place in Milan on 20 July
  • SBDA triumphs over 192 fintechs from 70 cities and 26 nations
  • Four start-ups from Austria participated
  • The aim of UniCredit’s open-bank project, of which the Appathon is but one part, is to foster close cooperation between fintechs and independent developers on a win-win basis

Following the great success of the UniCredit Appathon last year, which took place simultaneously in three cities, Vienna, Milan and Munich, the 2016 Appathon was expanded to the whole of Europe.

At the final of the annual Appathon which was held on Wednesday in Milan, the top prize, the chance to work with UniCredit’s international services subsidiary, UBIS (UniCredit Business Integrated Solutions) to the value of 50,000 Euros, went to team SBDA from Dublin in Ireland. Their "Smartbanking" app customises offerings to clients based on their daily shopping habits, bills, travelling, etc.
Second prize, two tickets to Finovate London 2017, went to another Irish team, Sedicii from Waterford. They presented a solution that protects sensitive data during online transactions.
Third prize, a virtual reality headset, went to All Industries, an Italian team from Rome. All Industries developed a digital financial assistant, "TalkForce". This ChatBot assistant enables users to draw on artificial intelligence to handle all their financial transactions, from checking account balances to the online payment of bills using common messenger services, without a separate app.

More than 190 teams took part in this fintech Hackathon from all across Europe, which apart from the final presentations in Milan was held exclusively online for the first time. The 2016 Appathon was organised by UniCredit together with UBIS.
The majority of the participants came from Italy (32 teams), followed by the United Kingdom (22 teams), France (9 teams) and Ireland (7 teams).
Paolo Fiorentino, Deputy General Manager of UniCredit, emphasised the importance of the close cooperation between banks and fintech specialists: "Responsiveness and flexibility in execution are key to promoting long-term growth and resilience. That is why UniCredit is upgrading its digital ecosystem via partnerships, investments and an open API infrastructure that allows for crowdsourcing and the integration of new systems." What is more, the company is seeking to promote a culture of innovation both within and beyond the bank, explained Fiorentino.

The 2016 Appathon was a great success from an Austrian perspective too, despite the four participating Austrian teams not making it into the final.
"Even though Austria was unable to rub shoulders with the winners this time, Bank Austria benefits from UniCredit Group’s pan-European initiative to develop innovative and pioneering banking services", said Robert Zadrazil, CEO of Bank Austria, enthusing about the dedication of UniCredit. "But as part of our banking strategy as a partner of the Austrian start-up scene we also want to play a role in supporting and developing Austrian innovations", explained Zadrazil, talking about the cooperation between Bank Austria and the Austrian fintech world. "This is why we are still in close contact with the fintech professionals from last year’s Appathon in the form of regular workshops. Furthermore, we welcome their innovative ideas and integrate some of them into our digital innovations, such as MobileWallet or BankCardMobile with the More-Money-Fast function."

Austria’s representative on the international Appathon jury, Gerald Wunderer, Head of Multichannel Management at Bank Austria, was inspired by the innovative solutions that were presented in Milan: "The Appathon attracted interesting submissions from 70 cities in 26 countries. Just like last year I was very impressed by the high quality and creativity of the teams."

Ten of the international teams were selected to present their projects in person to the jury at UniCredit Tower Hall in Milan.

The teams were able to submit their projects in the following categories:

Digital payment systems (in compliance with EU Payment Services Directive PSD2)

Sixty-eight teams chose this category, of which four made it into the final (two teams from Ireland, one team from Italy and one team from Latvia).

Digital wallet

Sixty-seven teams chose this category, of which four made it into the final (three teams from Italy and one team from the UK).

Preparation of complex information in real time using big-data analysis

Fifty-six teams chose this category, of which two made it into the final (one team from Italy and one team from Russia).

After the presentations, the apps of the teams in the final were evaluated by a jury comprising high-ranking executives from UniCredit and UBIS, based on six criteria: technology, comprehensiveness, innovation, feasibility, topic and API relevance.

The winners were announced following a secret vote.

 Pictures

Enquiries: UniCredit Bank Austria Media Relations
Volker Moser, Tel.: +43 (0) 5 05 05-52854;
E-mail: volker.moser@unicreditgroup.at