Startupbootcamp FinTechAthon

Startupbootcamp FinTechAthon

15-Apr-2014 by Startupbootcamp

It’s been a while since I blogged as I haven’t really been involved with startups since graduating. But I’m back in the startup world, in fact I’m properly involved in the techie startup world. I’m working as an event intern for Startupbootcamp FinTech (SBC FinTech), a London based accelerator.

I started about ten days ago and apparently SBC FinTech only started about ten weeks ago. Since I started, SBC FinTech have had three events and FinTechAthon was one of them which ran over the weekend. This blog post will be about the FinTechAthon and my experience . This is my first time being part of a hackathon and some aspects of it isn’t what I expected. I’ve heard about it when I was studying at UCL as they have also organised one too. I remember some of my classmates participated in the event. I was really excited about it but at the same time I was really tired from previous events that happened during the week and was concerned how I was going to cope. Nevertheless, I survived!

Day 1 of FinTechAthon

Preparing the room and badges

The day started with a team meeting where we discussed the roles and tasks and the objectives of the event. The team have been organising this event for about three weeks so I didn’t have much to do for the event apart from logistics like printing and cutting name badges. Thibaut and Mela were in charge of setting the room up and Josephine putting the food and drinks out.

The event started at 6 p.m. but some people arrived earlier than expected. I was in charge of the reception; welcoming, checking in the guests and giving them their name badges. From previous events, we had to flick through pages of names and as it got busy it was a bit of a disastrous. I thought there must be an easier way to do this, a more techie method. I mean everything is more or less technology based now, so I checked on the EventBrite website to see if they have a check-in system. And yes, they have an app for it. It made our lives easier and we looked less clumsy and disorganised. You really do learn new things every day.

Thibaut taking photo of each participants
Here’s Thibaut, the Research and IT manager, taking photos of the guests. These photos were then stuck on to the window with their skills mapped under their photo.

Skill Map
Hackers warming up

The event started with an introduction about the limitations and landscapes of payments and then presentation from payment experts. I would say the excitement didn’t start until Saturday.

Day 2

Saturday was a lot calmer, in fact calmer than I expected. I was in charge of the coffee and other bits and pieces that needed help with. At around 10 a.m. the mentors, innovation and payment experts presented; OpenBank project gave an overview of APIs, Ryan Terribilini from Ripple gave an overview about Bitcoin, Anand Viswanathan from Xignite spoke also about APIs. Anand wanted someone to take photos of him on his phone while he was presenting and I had the honour to do that. I tried to be a professional, taking photos from different angles; back, front, side. We then had a hang out with Ryan from Ripple. We used the flatscreen TV to conduct this. This session made the atmosphere extra techie, I loved it!

Hangout with Ripple

After the talks from the experts, the participant split into groups to brainstorm ideas. They had about two hours to do that. Some participants were shifting teams throughout this session.

3 p.m. was the checkpoint where each team presented their preliminary idea. Some teams used power point slides and a couple presented without slides. Those who had slides, I must say their slides weren’t very good. They had too much text. If you’ve read my previous blog posts, I’ve mentioned how presentation slides should be- minimal text and replace any text with images. Too much text means the audience will be distracted from the text and will end up reading the slides instead of listening to the presenter. Ripple’s presentation slides were good. Clear and simple diagrams and images on each slide.

Day 3- The Last Day of the FinTechAthon

While the FinTechAthon is happening, the London Marathon is happening literally next to us. I could see and hear the crowd cheering for the runners. I went out of the office to get a few close ups. A couple of my colleagues saw Mo Farah! Yes, I work next to Tower of London and London Bridge. It’s really cool right?

London Marathon

Hackers working hard

The day started very calm and quiet as the participants were working and developing their ideas in their team. A few participants stayed over night and didn’t sleep. That is some hardcore hacking! Not much had happened until 4 p.m. which was the presentation of the final results.

There were three teams altogether; Ashcroft, Open MBC and Ripl.UK. Ripl.UK was the first team to present.


Second up was Open MBC, there were six of them. They even built a MVP and it was pretty good. Apparently, one of the hacker in this team stayed up all night in the loft working on this and his effort was definitely worth it because he won the Best Coder Award which you will see if you continue reading.

Open MBC

This was a good and simple MVP. It did the job that it had to and in my opinion they had the best MVP.

Open MBC’s MVP

The last but not the least, Ashcroft. They also prepared a MVP.

Team Ashcroft
Credits for the effort in building a MVP but I couldn’t follow it and in fact didn’t understand it. Nevertheless, well done!
Ashcroft Demo
After the presentation, the participants were asked to vote for the “Best Coder” and “Best Team” using the green and yellow cards that we prepared.
Counting Votes

The Best Coder was Sanyaade Adekoya. He is the man who stayed up all night coding. He literally had no sleep and he didn’t even look tired. Thumbs up to him. For his prize, he could choose either a beer tasting class or 2 for 1 Segway rally and he chose the latter.

The Best Team (Hack Hard Play Hard team) was Open MBC. Congratulations! They received a USB fridge, a mini fridge that you can plug into your computer. They also won “The Best Idea” award, but that wasn’t voted by the participants it was voted by the SBC Finyech Team. Their prize for this award is offering them an opportunity to join SBC FinTech’s accelerator program in August.

Best Team

USB Fridge

There was one last award that was awarded by Xignite, “The best use of Xignite” to Ashcroft. They received Amazon service vouchers. Well done!!

Ashcroft won The Best Use of Xignite

Overall, this has been a great learning experience in many ways and I was exhausted by the end. I’ve met and seen different kinds of people, the organisation and co-ordination of the event and developing a foundation knowledge of the FinTech. Thanks for reading!

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