Find out why Finastra trusts Devpost to power its global hackathons.
Finastra believes that finance is open. To help bring this vision to life, it has been running internal and public hackathons—both in-person and virtually—for over a decade. With Finastra’s impressive history of running hackathons, we spoke to Chirine Ben Zaied, Head of Innovation at Finastra, to learn more about the company’s experience using Devpost for its public hackathons.
(We also covered Finastra’s experience using Devpost for Teams to power its private, internal hackathons—read about it here.)
Finastra aims to pioneer a world of open finance. It serves financial institutions by providing software applications and connecting them to marketplaces, partners, and fintechs through its open platform for innovation, FusionFabric.cloud. As a company, it values collaboration as a tool to fuel innovation.
Hackathons open the door to collaboration with communities from all over the world and people with varied levels of experience. According to Chirine, collaborating with the whole ecosystem through public hackathons helps Finastra illustrate that finance is open.
“[Hosting public hackathons] is a way for us to crowdsource innovation to identify fresh ideas from the outside,” said Chirine Ben Zaied, Head of Innovation at Finastra.
Hosting public hackathons helps Finastra identify new ideas and collaborate with a broader community of developers and innovators. It’s also how Finastra created a fintech movement igniting a world of financial sustainability, inclusion, and empowerment.
“Hackathons are also a way for us to give back to communities and engage with the ecosystem, which is definitely part of the Finastra culture,” said Chirine.
Hackathons have been woven into Finastra’s fabric for over a decade as a way to inspire innovation and reinforce its company vision. However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way Finastra organized its events—requiring the need for virtual events.
Before the pandemic, Finastra held a number of successful in-person public hackathons with Devpost. When moving to virtual hackathons, the company had to be sure its events would be well-attended and spark the same collaborative spirit as its in-person events.
Finastra needed a platform that could host virtual hackathons with the same high quality as its in-person events. The platform provider also had to be able to reach people from all over the world and with a wide range of experiences.
That also meant the platform had to be easy to use so organizers could quickly set up the hackathon page and clearly communicate submission requirements.
Finastra has been using Devpost to host its virtual hackathons since 2019. It has hosted four major hackathons with many co-sponsors, judges, and thousands of participants. Here’s what Finastra highlighted about its experience using Devpost for its public hackathons (with the full story below):
Finastra uses Devpost to reach a wide audience and inspire creativity long after hackathons have ended. For Finastra, one of the highlights of using Devpost has been the ability to showcase projects from previous hackathons in the public project gallery.
“The project gallery is the thing I love most about Devpost. It’s the thing we continue using months and months after the hackathon is over—we share them in board meetings and in meetings with clients,” said Chirine.
The project gallery houses all of the submitted projects from a hackathon so they’re easy to find and browse through. It’s a great tool to use for showcasing the creative ideas that the hackathon sparked and demonstrating the ROI of the event.
“What really made the difference with Devpost was that it was easy to use and that it was public,” said Chirine. “We can see the project galleries and it’s a great way to advertise the innovative projects that have gone through the hackathon.”
Finastra has a long history of hosting hackathons. For years it hosted mainly in-person events with Devpost. In 2019, Finastra transitioned to hosting virtual-only hackathons and it needed a platform that would get the same interest as its in-person hackathons.
The Devpost team helped Finastra set up its virtual hackathons including Hack To The Future 2020, which garnered a lot of attention.
“We had amazing numbers, with more than 4000 participants in our first virtual-only hackathon,” said Chirine. “It was successful in terms of getting the brand awareness, the innovations—having great ideas from both internal participants and external—partnering with our clients, partners, fintechs, et cetera.”
After the massive turnout of its first-ever virtual hackathon, the team at Finastra continued hosting virtual events. According to Chirine, this helped her team tap into the “magic” of hackathons.
“We had amazing stories,” said Chirine. “With hackathons, what happens [during the event] and the quality of projects is all out of your control after you launch. We always saw magic happen.
“We have stories of students joining from remote areas in Morocco, learning a lot, and winning the hackathon. You really see the impact of the hackathon in their lives and their journeys.”
Hackathons also help Finastra gain insights from working with a wide audience.
“It’s very refreshing from an innovative perspective,” said Chirine. “From what we’d like to do, what projects we’d like to invest in, the partners we work with, and the clients. On the brand side, you have all the participants sharing their stories because they’re so excited to have participated and then they won—it’s all unexpected and that’s the hackathon magic.”
For Finastra, it’s important to have the ability to quantify the impact of hackathons. On Devpost, organizers get measurable results from their hackathons like the number of participants and submitted projects. Organizers can also see the conversion rate of people who registered versus the number of projects that get submitted.
Chirine also highlighted some less easily quantifiable results that her team tracks.
“Another thing that is more difficult to measure is the quality of the project,” said Chirine. “From an innovation standpoint, we try to see that in terms of how many projects go to the next stage.
“Then you have everything like brand reach, the reach of the content we produce, and all of these magic stories that we see.”
Finastra’s public hackathons allow it to engage with external audiences, crowdsource innovation, and address market trends.
“The decision [to start hosting public hackathons] aligned with Finastra’s vision that finance is open,” said Chirine. “It was a way for us to crowdsource innovation, identify fresh ideas from outside [the organization], and collaborate with clients and partners.”
Finastra has hosted four major public hackathons on Devpost, which allowed it to hone in on specific market trends and contribute to its mid to long-term product modernization roadmap.
“With public hackathons, we would be looking into trends in the market, like the tokenization of financial assets, sustainable finance, and other things that would speak to the public or that would speak to students,” said Chirine.
For Finastra, hackathons open the door to new partnerships. Along with reaching vast participant audiences, hackathons provide a way to engage with new partners and build new relationships.
“For example, if we identify a strategic topic—let’s say sustainable finance—and we look at who are the players there,” said Chirine. “A great way to engage them is to say, ‘We’re building the next big hackathon for sustainable finance. Do you want to partner with us to work on it?’”
On Devpost, hackathon organizers can easily showcase the event sponsors and judges on the overview page.
“It’s a fun experience on both sides,” said Chirine. “It’s really a great way to build unique relationships with partners, clients, and prospects.”
Start building meaningful connections with developer communities around the world with hackathons. Get a free Devpost demo to see how you can grow your developer community, crowdsource ideas, and improve brand awareness through hackathons.