Is Open Banking the last chance for innovation in banking?

Garage48 Baltic Open Banking hackathon will take place in the SEB Innovation Center in Tallinn on the 16th to 18th of February 2018  and is meant for corporates and fintech enthusiasts from Estonia, Latvia and beyond. Siim Lepisk, Innovation Manager @ SEB wrote a personal blog post on the topic. Enjoy and join the hackathon!

When I joined SEB bank in summer 2016 as Innovation Manager, many employees were overwhelmed with keywords like KYC, AML and other fintech-specific buzzwords. My new colleagues were kind of testing me with messaging that “What you have done in software development, digital marketing and startups for past 15 years, have nothing to do with the complexity of banking. You can play this innovation game in LAB, but in real life all our resource will be occupied with complying to strict regulations - KYC, AML etc”.

Being honest, the entrepreneurial part of my brain was simply intrigued of their honesty - bankers clearly pointed out the obstacles that I have to overcome! So I decided to accept the challenge, and to prove that together we can all achieve more than we thought we were capable of. SEB-s employee Innovation LAB program was actually the perfect format to attract the talent and train them into intrapreneurs. I’m surprised that I’m surprised, but most of the employees turned out to be very business minded people, much more business minded than average startup founders! I guess that’s why they are bankers - they know how to make money. And for now we’ve done dozens of experiments with 100s of customers together at Innovation LAB - so that our customers could be more successful, and bank might share their successes.

2018 will be the most disruptive year in fintech innovation this decade. Not just because of the turbulence in blockchain and cryptocurrency market, but because of the regulation that actually helps the established financial institutions to partner up with external partners. And these partners can be both startups and mature service providers. They don’t necessarily have to be(come) a fintech company, but just seeking some potential synergies related to custom data exchange with banks.

So, due to very big interest from potential partners in open banking (400 companies across Baltics have already shown their interest!) we decided to create the first Open Banking Hackathon in Baltics. We’re partnering up with the top hackathon organizer in the region - Garage48. But it’s not your average hackathon where techies come together and build prototypes. We seek for teams with their actually working product, who want to quickly test out cooperation models with SEB! So we bring open banking opportunities for Baltic fintechs and SMEs/corporates.

The hackathon will happen at SEB Innovation Centre in Tallinn on 16-18 February. As our venue space is limited, we can “accelerate” 15 teams over the weekend. In first few days after announcing the event, we already have a number of teams signed up to co-create new prototypes and business models.

So the seats are filling up quickly, because many realise it’s an opportunity instead of 3-6 months of negotiation processes with your average bank, we can quickly co-create and expand your existing businesses with SEB-s tech and business people. Are you going to take your chance now? Sign up your team to hackathon now!