Customer Stories

How Finastra Ignites Employee Innovation With Hackathons and Devpost for Teams

Find out why Finastra uses Devpost for Teams to power its internal hackathons.


Finastra has more than a decade-long history of hosting hackathons as part of its aim to pioneer a world of open finance. Originally, the company held internal hackathons for its employees before shifting gears to hosting exclusively public-facing hackathons. Now, Finastra has come full circle and uses Devpost for Teams (DFT) to host its private, internal hackathons. Chirine Ben Zaied, Head of Innovation at Finastra, spoke to Devpost about hackathons and using the DFT platform. Here’s a look at how Finastra uses DFT to inspire innovation and solve specific business challenges.

(We also discussed Finastra’s experience using Devpost to power its public global hackathons—read about it here.)

Table of contents

  • Company profile
  • Key considerations and goals
  • Company profile
  • Challenges
  • The solution

Company profile

Finastra believes that finance is open. It serves financial institutions by providing software applications and connecting them to marketplaces, partners, and fintechs through its open platform for innovation,

“[Hosting internal hackathons] came from a strategic focus that we wanted to put on the modernization roadmap of our products,” said Chirine Ben Zaied, Head of Innovation at Finastra. 

With one of its core values centered around innovation, it’s no surprise that Finastra has a long history of hosting hackathons to inspire creative solutions. According to Chirine, hosting internal hackathons is a way to help the organization leverage the internal insight of its teams.

Finastra’s key considerations and goals

  • Bring teams together to solve its modernization challenges
  • Get product-specific project submissions
  • Simplify hackathon planning and management for organizers


When planning its internal hackathon, Finastra had a number of challenges it aimed to address and goals to reach. 

Finastra wanted to inspire its employees to develop new solutions for its financial software as part of its product modernization strategy. It needed a platform that would address the specific needs of four different business units, and enable employees to generate product-specific ideas that could shape the company’s short-term product roadmap.

Finastra’s core values center around innovation, so it was a natural jump back to internal hackathons to achieve this. The team needed a solution that was tailored for internal hackathons and would still deliver results. 

The solution

After Finastra’s long history of working with Devpost on its public hackathons, it started using DFT to power its internal hackathons. Here’s what the team at Finastra highlighted about using DFT (with the full story below):

  • Put 8 projects from its internal hackathon into product development
  • Simplified hackathon management with a centralized platform
  • Fostered an innovative, collaborative work environment
  • Unified the requirements of 4 different business units into a hackathon
  • Saved time on judging with the easy-to-use platform

#1 Generate new projects

Finastra uses Devpost for Teams (DFT) to help facilitate its internal hackathons and give employees a creative outlet. The company uses internal hackathons as part of its innovation strategy and as a way to solve real business challenges. 

While it also hosts public hackathons, Finastra’s internal hackathons allow it to hone in on finding more product-focused solutions as part of its modernization roadmap. 

In terms of measuring hackathon success, Chirine and her team look at the number of participants, the number of projects submitted, and the number of projects that would make it to the next stage of development.

“We had about seven or eight projects make it directly to roadmap,” said Chirine. “That was a really great achievement.”

#2 Ability to solve specific business challenges

One of the main reasons to host internal hackathons is that they help solve specific business problems. Finastra did this by hosting its internal hackathon on DFT. On the platform, it could highlight the unique needs of four different business units in one place, so participants could directly address those challenges.

According to Chirine, this involved looking at the challenges of each unit, the topics they’d like participants to focus on, and ensuring that they align with the organization’s internal modernization journey. 

She also highlighted that internal hackathons give Finastra the opportunity to focus on product-specific projects that team members understand more deeply than external groups do.

With DFT, hackathons are private and are easy to structure in a way that will best help an organization meet its goals.

“We really enjoyed using the tools and saw it as an enabler for what we wanted to achieve in terms of internal innovation,” said Chirine.

#3 Streamlined judging process

Judging is a key part of the overall hackathon process. This is when the judges get to see all the great projects that have been submitted. Naturally, it’s important that this process is streamlined so judges and organizers can easily keep track of projects and assess them.

For Chirine and her team, that’s exactly the experience they had using DFT. In fact, rather than get slowed down by the judging process, Chirine was actually able to take some time off during the judging of Finastra’s last internal hackathon!

“Usually, the judging after the hackathon is over is a very intense period of time,” said Chirine. “But for this internal hackathon, I had some time off during that period and it was OK because it was all automated and taken care of.”

#4 Simplified hackathon management with an all-in-one platform

DFT’s intuitive and user-friendly interface makes it easy for organizers to plan their internal hackathon from start to finish. DFT is an all-in-one platform, meaning all the information and features needed for an internal hackathon are found in the same place. 

For Finastra, DFT’s standout features are the individual hackathon pages with the schedule, the ability to invite people, the resources, and the project gallery all stored in one place.

“It all went very smoothly,” Chirine said of organizing Finastra’s internal hackathon on DFT. “It’s very easy to use as well.”

#5 Potential to leverage AI

Looking ahead, Chirine commented on the possibility of incorporating generative AI into future hackathons.

“Generative AI is already transforming so many industries including the banking and fintech space,” said Chirine. “It also represents a number of risks that are important to tackle in such a regulated sector (data privacy, AI bias, etc.).”

“It is definitely perfect material for hackathons—both to upskill our teams and to engage with our partners, customers, and the wider ecosystem of innovators for collaboration opportunities.”

Chirine suggests that hackathon participants could use generative AI to their advantage, but should be careful not to let it hamper their creativity.

“I see [generative AI] significantly improving the submission quality, helping the hackathon participants go even faster in a 2-day hackathon,” said Chirine. “But, it could possibly impact creativity as well if hackathon participants rely too much on it.”

“I’d encourage the hackathon teams to use all GenAI productivity tools to go faster, so they can spend more time on what really makes a difference—team ideation, learning, and testing their ideas with end users or clients.”

Start leveraging your team’s insider insights and get laser-focused ideas to improve your business. Get a free demo of Devpost for Teams (DFT) to see how.