A WOMAN uses an automated teller machine outside a Bank Hapoalim branch in Tel Aviv three years ago..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Bank HaPoalim teamed up with the Technion Institute of Technology’s entrepreneurship competition BizTEC last week to host their first joint hackathon for financial technology.
HaPoalim has been making inroads into the fintech startup sphere in recent years, hosting competitions with the likes of Citi to help innovative new financial technology startups.
Yoav Intrator, Bank HaPoalim’s CTO, said that fintech is potentially a long-term competitor to banks, but in the meantime is offering only piecemeal solutions. That gives bank an opportunity to get ahead of the disruption by integrating and adopting their technologies.
“Each company is great by itself, but they're completely unintegrated. I cannot imagine having 500 fintech solution on your phone when each looks different, acts different, and doesn't work with the other ones, so I think that banks have a great opportunity to be integrated,” he said.
Nadav Lestny, a student studying industrial engineering at the Technion who also works with BizTEC, said that the competition offered students a great opportunity to develop an idea in 48 hours.
“They want people that can establish a mini start-up in this field,” he said.
The winning team, which is eligible for $25,000 investment from HaPoalim, established a behind-the-scenes process to help online retail businesses choose payment clearing services. The differing companies that clear online payments can charge different amounts, so the solution could save retailers money on every transaction.
For Intrator, the competition was as much about getting young programmers to create user experiences as it was about backend technology.
“For me, rationalizing why my daughters are always on their phones, eating with them, sleeping with them, using them when friends are in front of them, is impossible,” he joked. “So we have to actually have the generation that is using the technology build it for themselves.”