When we think of fintech innovation, we often think of our own home base in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area. Or maybe New York and Boston. But there is plenty of innovation going on around the rest of the country, as evidenced by a recent hackathon we sponsored with Oracle in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Carolina Fintech Hub’s ‘Digital’ TopHack Hackathon was designed to let competitors in the Carolinas region create business ideas on the new Oracle Open Platform using APIs from Envestnet® | Yodlee®, Ipsoft, Mobisign, and other Fintech partners available on the Oracle open banking platform. The APIs were used for identity verification and to access bank and credit card account and transaction data. The participants were exposed to the fully loaded Oracle Open Banking platform which included components like chatbots, mobile cloud, open source application support, database, java, bare metal cloud services, blockchain , an API cloud stack with fully documented APIs to Fintechs partners like Yodlee.
The goal was to create a particular app or service that could benefit financial institutions and/or their customers. The hackathon lasted for 28 hours, and was designed for both student coders and graduate students across North Carolina. It was held from November 3 – 5 at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte campus, and ended with an awards ceremony on Sunday afternoon.
This was a time-boxed, team-oriented event that allowed teams to participate in either the Digital track, where they had to code and create a digital solution to one of the common fintech business needs, or the Entrepreneur track, which was open to non-coders. This allowed non-technical participants to present their ideas and business models that could solve an identified business need. The event included rapid training on the Yodlee APIs and Oracle Open Banking platform to the participating student teams. The depth talent pool was evident right from the get-go. With a jump start training by the Oracle and Yodlee team the teams were ready to start using the Oracle open banking cloud platform with Yodlee APIs to start coding immediately. Additionally, these teams were provided training on the newly released Oracle Blockchain Cloud service platform available on Oracle open banking by Oracle and Aurablocks an Oracle silver partner.
All Fintech and Banking APIs were available to competitors through the Oracle Open Banking platform which would allow the teams to:
- Access account and transaction data for banks, credit cards, loans and investment data.
- Confirm bank account ownership and check balances.
- Initiate payments, have real-time, safe access to cards data and operations.
- Create personalized marketing campaigns across multiple channels including email, display search, web, video, mobile.
The combination of fully integrated Yodlee APIs and a powerful full modern application development cloud platform available through Oracle Open Banking platform provided the students with all the ingredients needed to rapidly assemble all the innovation they need to create their unique fintech applications within 28hrs to build phenomenal Fintech applications.
Participants’ creations and business plans were judged based on how innovative or competitive their approach was; whether they clearly identified and explained the customers’ needs; how well they implemented the API technology into the design; and the quality of their business case and revenue model.
Awards were presented on Sunday afternoon, where the top team received $1,000 per person in prizes, and 2nd place received $500 per person. They also chose a third place team in the hackathon as the Crowd Favorite. Lastly, one team was awarded Best Use of the Envestnet | Yodlee API and will receive 6 months’ access to our APIs in their own production environment. The winning team, Bynarie Resolvers, created an app that returned control of the collection and sale of an individual’s personal data back to its users. They wanted to provide a way for users to sell the data they want to share, while aggregating and anonymizing that data for other uses. They would then use machine learning and data science to create insights from the aggregated data, which they can then provide to other companies. The winning team said “Facilitating this new level of trust between the users and ourselves would not have been possible without Blockchain technology provided through the Oracle Open Banking Platform, or without the security built into the Envestnet | Yodlee Financial Data Platform.”
The Deep End won the second-place prize of $500 per person and was awarded 6-months API access for Best Use of Envestnet | Yodlee API. They created a peer-to-peer lending platform that would allow users to crowdsource loans to friends, family, and external applicants. The team used all APIs available for the hackathon starting with the Oracle Blockchain API for smart contracts, storing back-end data, and audit tracking. The Envestnet | Yodlee Aggregation API was used to create a “trust rating” for the loan applicants based on their spending/bill repayment history. In addition, they implemented an intelligent chatbot interface with tailored responses based on the sentiment analysis of the language used by the customer. We are excited to work with their team to help further their idea with 6-months access to our API.
The third place team Port8080 launched a product called Elimifraud. When consumers travel, Elimifraud would track the GPS on their mobile phone to verify if the location of a purchase was accurate. For example, if your phone showed as being in Chicago, but a transaction was made in Maryland, it would deny the purchase.
To learn more about Envestnet | Yodlee APIs and how to integrate financial data from over 16,000 sources into your app, please visit our developer portal for more information.