‘Fintech’ companies currently ought to buckle down and do what they do best – write code

Novathon #withPBZ is getting closer. This 24 hour-long brainstorming, coding and design event will attract designers, developers, students and others interested in creating a banking app, and the winning team will go home with as much as €10,000. Besides the mentors, the teams will be motivated by the financial expert Chris Skinner, to whom we had the opportunity to talk about the state of the financial technology industry.

Despite the somewhat challenging time for fintech start-ups, Chris emphasizes how important it is to be persistent and not to give up on your idea, but the idea itself has to have more than just the cool factor.

This autumn in Zagreb, Novathon #withPBZ will attract teams creating apps for the banking industry, with the teams potentially winning a €10,000 prize for the first place. 24 hours of coding and building the app can be a great start for a developer’s career, but also for every other member of the team, limited to 5 members per team, coming from the entire region.

In order to unleash energy and ambition of the participants of Novathon #withPBZ, a team of mentors will work with the teams, as well as motivational speakers like Matteo Rizzi, Nenad Bakić, Maurice Lisi and Chris Skinner. It was precisely with Chris that we discussed financial technology, hackathons and novathons, but also his views about the future of this dynamic sector.

The fintech sector is now mostly interested in AI

Speaking of the Novathon, Chris said that this was an important event because it shows how the banking sector understands the importance of digital technologies. Also, this kind of event is a great opportunity to break the status quo, regularly present in more traditional, closed systems. We have to agree that every competition of this sort is really a good shot at finding a revolutionary solution because you never know what gifted individuals could come up with, even if only in 24 hours.

However, regarding the current state of the fintech sector, the most exciting part of it has to do with the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning, this being a testament to how interesting these technologies are in almost any sphere of society. However, not everything is so promising, Chris says, talking about the present challenges of fintech:

Financing is decreasing in mature markets such as Europe and the US, accompanied by the uncertainty on the direction of the market due to Brexit and Donald Trump’s decisions. Until these clouds clear up and we get a sharper view of the future, fintech companies will have to buckle down and do what they do best, and that is writing code. Being focused is the most important thing.

But not to give false hope to anyone expecting success just because they have an interesting fintech idea, he states:

Every fintech start-up expecting financing just because it is cool will crash within the next 18 months.

You can’t keep good ideas to yourself

However, the current state of affairs in this sector doesn’t in the least affect the development of new companies that have the ability to actually change something, or competitions such as Novathon #withPBZ. Chris certainly supports the development of new fintech start-ups and says that everybody with a good idea should try their hand at it.

If you have a good idea, start right away. Do not let something stand in your way, but make your wish a reality. If your idea includes something regulated at this moment, find a banker colleague to advise you and mentor you. Never underestimate the complexity of banks, their resistance to change and regulations and hurdles that exist for a very good reason. Just try to solve them as soon as possible with your banking buddy – that can be me!

It’s pretty clear that Chris is going to make a lot of friends needing his impressive financial knowledge in order to systematise their start-ups or modify their apps, but if you only want to know more about open banking, you can hear about it in his talk.

Everybody is talking about open banking, but nobody defines it well. I think I know how to do it and that’s the reason why I’ll focus on it in my talk.

Machine learning is one of the main trends in the fintech sector.

Tech companies to soon acquire banks?

According to Chris, we will soon see the acquisition of one of the global banks by a tech company so as to reach their clients. Interesting, but only one of the trends that await. That’s precisely why he advises the participants of Novathon #withPBZ to turn to today’s hot stuff:

Artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics are currently hot, as well as open banking and open API. I would personally go for things that can be built with all the bank’s data available through the API.

Going back to hackathons, we asked Chris about his opinion on the difference between fintech hackathons and every other hackathon, to which he simply stated:

Fintech hackathons get more money

First, you need to understand people

Finally, seeing that the participating teams for Novathon #withPBZ can consist of up to five people, we wanted to know what the ideal composition of a team would be for this type of competition:

Ideally, you would have a good balance of gender, race and ethnic diversity, with wide-ranging age and experience. That way you get a holistic perspective, and since 99% of a good idea comes from the anthropological perspective combined with digital development, it’s very important to understand us as human beings.

Since the organizers of Novathon #withPBZ understand us humans, they decided to increase the number of free spots for teams from the entire region and so everyone not yet applied is invited to do so because it could just be them that turn the banking industry around – and potentially to collaborate with our interesting guest!

As a reminder, Novathon #withPBZ will take place on 23 and 24 September in Lauba in Zagreb, and you can apply on the event pages until 8 September. Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Popular

Startups

John Biggs at TechCrunch Balkans in Sofia: There is a Way Out of This Media Black Hole!

The first TechCrunch Balkans meetup in Sofia begun with a loud whistle from Dilyan Dimitrov, founder of the Bulgarian accelerator Eleven, the host of this event. It was startup time! That is right, TechCrunch Balkans, organized by Netocratic, is being held throughout this week – we will have lectures, panels and the most important thing – pitches in front of John Biggs!

Startups

Combine Technical And Marketing Knowledge Within Your Startup Team

You've probably heard about Bellabeat, FlyKly, or Layer? Well, three years ago they didn't exist! Now they are at the top of their industries, but how did they do it? Was it enough only to have the right idea or did they also need to have knowledge to conduct business in today’s competitive environment? Specifically, what kind of knowledge do startups need to succeed and not repeat the many mistakes of the 90% of startups that fail?

Startups

Slovenian ‘Booze’ Startup Flaviar Raises 400.000 $ from Speedinvest!

Slovene-British startup Flaviar announced today that it raised a seed round of 400k $ from American fund Speedinvest. This one year old company ships monthly tasting packs of 5 sample spirits (whisky, rum, gin, vodka, etc.) to their members, each month with a different theme.

What you missed

Enterprise

6 Important Areas Often Overlooked by Product Leaders

Attending Product Management Festival 2017 (PMF 2017) in Zurich, Switzerland, and meeting amazing product professionals inspired me to go deeper into six important areas that are often neglected or entirely overlooked by product leaders.

Enterprise

The Latest Mind Innovations in Product Management

Announcing the 2-day conference showcasing top notch topics in product management.

Startups

US Outbrain acquires Slovenian Zemanta

At their 10th anniversary, the Slovenian high-tech company Zemanta d.o.o. announced that it was entirely acquired by Outbrain from the US, the world’s largest premium content discovery platform. The sum that Outbrain paid for Zemanta’s technology, products and team remains a business secret, and Zemanta’s co-founders Andraž Tori and Boštjan Špetič will join Outbrain. After becoming part of Outbrain Zemanta’s platform will continue to operate as a standalone product.

Mobile

Scaling Agile with Peter Brussard, Rosetta Stone

At the beginning of June, at Shift Developer Conference in Split, Croatia, Peter Brussard, Senior Vice President of Product at Rosetta Stone, Inc. shared professional insights about successful implications of lean agile development and elements at a global enterprise scale.

Startups

Frame Raises $16 Million in Series A – Microsoft Ventures Among Investors

Frame, a US-Serbian company, has secured $16 million of funding. Among the investors is also Microsoft Ventures – the investment branch of one of the biggest technology companies nowadays. With its teams in San Francisco, Belgrade and Niš, Frame is going to use the money for employment of software engineers as well as sales and marketing expansion – particularly in Europe and Asia, as revealed for Netokracija exclusively.

Tech

The Portrait Of Christian Heilmann At Shift Developer Conference 2017

Shift Developer Conference is just around the corner, to be kicked off on June 1st in Split, Croatia, at the amazing and picturesque surrounding of the Croatian National Theatre (HNK). This proclaimed event traditionally attracts more than 1000 visitors from around the world, and one of the keynote speakers is the legendary Christian Heilmann.