It was a beautiful sunny morning in Paris on the 2nd of December. Down a little street just off Iena, Garage Lübek was filling up with BNPP’s International Hackathon contestants! The event was truly internationally focused, welcoming winners all across the world- from San Francisco to Istanbul. The event saw 18 startups competing for a €25,000 cash prize and a contract to create their prototype with BNP Paribas.
The contest allowed each startup to pitch 3 minutes in the “boxing battling ring”. If overtime, a bell would interrupt their speech and indicate their time is up! After the pitch presentations from all startups, the judges were given 25 minutes to decide on the 9 winners. As Jason McDonald led the decision process, Stringcan had a sneak-peak into the judges’ room and trust us…the competition was very very tough. Here is a recap of the event and the winners. Enjoy!
The competition opened its floor to Melanie Smith from KaChing, who came all the way from San Francisco for this special day. Her startup is a mobile application designed to foster investing habits and financial interest in teenagers. Very niche idea that opened everyone’s mind to the relationship young people entertain with finance
The first group of startups included Atsora, Birlikte.Al, Ixor, Cadre de Vie and Together. We saw a mix of very interesting ideas up on stage, from tools simplifying investment into real estate to looking at how to leverage social credibility to the banks.
All startups managed to stay perfectly in the 3-minute time frame, and impressed the judges with their ideas.
As the batch of 6 finished, a quick recap from Jason McDonald and Paul Barett was given. As they were about to introduce the second third batch of competitors, the event was suddenly interrupted by a surprise orchestra that took over the stage and got everyone up on their feet dancing to the tune – The Eye of the Tiger. Who says banks can’t have fun? How nice to see the BNP Paribas Executive committee boogying on stage with all the startups
Following the dance session, the next 6 startups – Autenti, Hi Emma, Birdee, All Industries, Indata and Hesapkurdu - were welcomed on stage. We discovered the power of AI – Hi Emma introduced a tool for talking to your bank account, to “Jet Motgage” – Hesapkurdu transformed the mortgage experience by saving time for customers and bank branches.
With each pitch, we understood the judges would have a hard time choosing between these very talented startups!
The Hackathon was interrupted again by musical madness! This time we were singing along to “we love rock ‘n’ roll” interpreted the Hackathon way ... we love Hackathon! There was no time to snooze in the competition - everyone was wide awake for the final batch of pitches.
The final very diverse group of 6 startups saw a battle between Carsift, Fintracer, Excense, Symetrics, Almonds andSpacequant. Their ideas spurred across different topics with Carsift introducing us to an online tool helping customers choose the right car for their needs, creating the car buying experience simpler and quicker! Or Almonds, an intelligent E-Vault organizing all the documents of customers, calling themselves the “next generation business assistant"
It was then time for the judging! With only 25 minutes on the timer, the pressure was on! The decision was very difficult, and we saw several startups cut out of the competition by just one or two votes. It was a very tough call but as the clock was ticking the winners had to be chosen...
The results were in but the fun didn’t stop there. While the judges were choosing the winners, our competitors took the HAKA from hackathon and rehearsed a brilliant and powerful chant for the judges as they returned to their seats. Watch the video below and be overwhelmed by the power of the HAKA...
After much dancing, singing and chanting, the event had to come to an end. The 9 winners chosen to work with BNP Paribas were:
Once the medals and prizes were given out, we enjoyed a splendid reception with food, wine and networking! Follow the hashtag #internationalhackathon on twitter for all the tweets from the day!!
Finally, we would like to remind everyone about the application OpenUp BNP Paribas. Even if you didn’t make it to the International Hackathon, you can still get the chance to work with BNP Paribas by signing up to OpenUp. The application allows the bank to post projects that are up for grabs by startups which have the best solution to that project. Follow the link and be a part of this revolutionary collaboration tool.