Young talent, ideas and passion were the stars of the CRIF Open Banking Hackathon

On November 22-23, in the beautiful setting of Palazzo di Varignana (Bologna), the CRIF Hackathon on Open Banking Innovation was held, involving 50 students from the University of Bologna Department of Computer Science and Engineering (DISI). The CRIF hackathon, with the support of DISI, saw 10 teams of 5 talented undergraduates and graduates compete against each other in the field of computer science, who for 24 hours tried their hand at creating and developing an innovative business idea on the subject of open banking.

The morning started with an introduction from Massimo Gentilini, IT Solutions Area Director at CRIF, who explained to the participants the context for the development of innovative ideas based on changes introduced by the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) with regard to digital payment services. Specifically, the students were able to choose between four business cases: a front-end application to monitor the household budget and interact with personal current accounts; a machine learning model for the predictive analysis of household spending; conversational interfaces to monitor the household budget; and finally the free case which, in line with the potential of PSD2, involved the development of an application starting from current account information. This was followed by a talk by Stefano Sandrini, Solution Architect at Amazon Web Services (AWS), who explained the characteristics of the technologies used to develop the business ideas. In fact, AWS was a technology partner of the event, providing participants with access to its computing expertise.

Twenty experts from CRIF Global Technologies, the CRIF IT division, were there to support the young people in this IT marathon. The reciprocal exchange between the CRIF mentors and students was really inspiring, and the energy created during the event was and will be a source of stimulation for the challenges that CRIF’s IT professionals encounter every day in their work.

The jury, made up of representatives from CRIF and the University of Bologna, was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the 10 projects, leading to two special mentions for the best business idea for the team comprising Vladut Emanuel Cioanca Radu, Jacopo Ingraito, Lorenzo Piazza, Alan Dalmonte and Eugenio Cavina; and for the best teamwork for the team made up of Igor Ershov, Mattia Babbini, Gabriel Preite, Alessandro Libralesso and Elena Lippolis. The “Ciram” team, which chose the free case, submitted the winning project, creating an app that can, for example, help flatmates or friends to divide bills and which, by connecting to the group’s current accounts, reduces transaction charges. The jury welcomed the idea of improving an application already available on the market and enhancing it thanks to the opportunities offered by open banking. Alessandro Pomponio, Federico Stella, Kevin Selvaggi, Alessandro Franca and Mattia Ferrari, members of the winning team and enrolled in the master’s degree in Computer Engineering at the University of Bologna, were awarded the prize of € 5,000 offered by CRIF.

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“The enthusiasm and passion generated and demonstrated by the young people during the entire Hackathon was beyond words, proving that initiatives like these are the right ones and contribute greatly to the path taken by our division through its ‘GT Journey’ program. This program is aimed at strengthening and promoting our technical and specialist skills and at creating ever increasing value for our clients around the world. The CRIF Global Technologies program leverages 4 different areas of growth and development: People & Culture, Agility, Technology, and GT Branding. Today, CRIF Group operates across 4 continents, with a direct presence in more than 30 countries, and innovation is part of the company’s DNA. We are always in search of talented young people who want to work in multi-cultural contexts with state-of-the-art technology”, explained Davide Raitano, CRIF Corporate Chief Information Officer.

“DISI has always been committed to seizing the opportunity to work with companies, with the aim of the cross-fertilization of research with concrete application cases, or cases which, as happened here, give students the chance to tackle the challenges that they’ll encounter in the world of work at the end of their studies”, added Maurizio Gabbrielli, Deputy Director of the University of Bologna Department of Computer Science and Engineering (DISI).

The event was also strictly plastic-free thanks to the partner 24Bottles® – a Bologna-based startup whose mission is to reduce the impact of plastic on the planet – which gave participants free stainless steel bottles and cups. The hydration of the students was also possible thanks to the atmospheric water generator from the company Rossetto, which further contributed to eliminating the use of plastic.

Finally, during the long night of coding, students broke the tension with logic competitions, and every participant of the winning team was given an Amazon voucher.