The race continues as new FinTech initiatives keep popping up where innovation is encouraged not only via funding rewards for the best ideas but also by creating environments that help foster the unique approaches to mixing current (and new) technologies in order to come up with new recipes for financial technology-driven solutions.
The latest announcement comes from Emirates NBD, a leading bank in the Middle East that has been around for more than 50 years, which has partnered with the Berlin-based Open Bank Project. Through the synergy, a series of events will take place globally, with a focus on rewarding startups with funds in return for great startup ideas in financial services. More specifically, the program will focus across customer acquisition, SMEs, Islamic finance and other areas such as the Intenet of Things (IoT), cryptocurrency related technology (blockchain), and in areas that intertwine with finance such as artificial intelligence, biometrics, APIs, mobile wallets and payments, and social media banking.
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In addition to nearly 50,000 euros in prizes, selected teams may be chosen to continue their startup ideas with the Emirates NBD, that currently employs nearly 10,000 people, as the company aims to harvest results from the effort. In addition, Emirates NBD has already been active in producing new solutions using current customer trends including a mobile-based fitness account, its DirectRemit product which is a 60-second remittance service, banking via Twitter, Emirates NBD mePay which is a peer-to-peer money transfer service, and lastly its ‘Shake n Save’ offering.
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The Open Bank Project is described as an open source API and app store for banks. It provides financial institutions with a way to quickly enhance their offerings by accessing its ecosystem of 3rd party applications and services, hence the “open” aspect of its open-source model.
The company’s solution sits between banks and developers and creates an easier translation between the needs of both sides through its interface. It has nearly 20 apps already listed on its website that are banking related and financial services focused, including retail payments.
As part of the deal with Emirates NBD there will be x amount of prize funding up for grabs, awarded to recipients at the end of each program. The Berlin program is already underway this month, to be followed by events in Singapore, New York, Dubai, Paris and London over the next 30 days.
According to coverage by Zawya where the company’s press release was released, Emirates NBD Group COO Abdulla Qassem said: “Emirates NBD has always taken bold steps to remain the most innovative bank in the Middle East.”
“The bank has invested smartly in technology innovation to transform the customer experience and opening up to external innovations is part of our constant search for new technologies that will drive the future of banking. We are committed to making banking accessible and convenient to match our customers’ lifestyles and needs,” he added.