Aussie start-up wins Global Open Finance Challenge

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Adelaide sustainability start-up wins first-of-its-kind event seeking innovative ideas to transform banking

Today NAB, CIBC, Itaú Unibanco and NatWest Group have announced the winners of the Global Open Finance Challenge, which invited teams of innovators from around the world to prototype and present ground-breaking ideas to help customers access banking services in new and exciting ways. The Challenge was hosted by the four banks in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

In total, 91 teams from 19 countries competed in the Challenge, with four teams ultimately selected as winners by the four banks’ CEOs and three industry leaders.

Each of the winning teams will now have the opportunity to explore working with one or more of the banks to turn their innovative idea into a proof of concept.

The winning teams

Overall winner of the Global Open Finance Challenge:

  • ValAi, Australia
    ValAi developed Greenhouse, an automated sustainability rating tool and marketplace that provides customers tailored insights for their home, and fills the knowledge gap for homeowners and financial institutions on the impact of a sustainability rating on the value of the asset.

Winners of each Challenge theme:

  • 9th Gear Technologies, USA‘Most innovative customer experience for businesses and corporates’
    9th Gear Technologies developed a blockchain-powered business-to-business foreign exchange platform that allows for real-time FX settlement using tokens which represent pre-funded currency values, expediting the current process for clients.
  • NoFrontiers, Brazil – ‘Most innovative and convenient channel for accessing banking services’
    NoFrontiers developed FinPass, a immigrant onboarding and credit solution, connected to a global network of banks, making it easier for immigrants to access credit and establish themselves in new countries.
  • Banyan, USA – ‘Most innovative solution in support of climate and sustainability’
    Banyan developed a loan and risk management platform which digitises the loan lifecycle for renewable energy projects, to enable financial institutions to fund an increased number of green infrastructure projects.

ValAi Founder, Allys Todd said her team’s vision is to create a zero-carbon, nature-positive global economy, in which finance fuels the energy transition, a healthy planet and green jobs.

“Our novel product – Greenhouse – puts people at the heart of the global transition to net zero and challenges the finance sector to influence and guide the next phase of our community’s transformational change,” Ms Todd said.

“Greenhouse is an automated sustainability rating tool and customer platform that provides personalised insight on your home. We provide data to inform, motivate and inspire households to improve their homes sustainability and support their transition to green finance.”

The four winners were amongst the top teams selected to present their ideas to a judging panel including:

  • Ross McEwan, Group CEO, National Australia Bank
  • Victor Dodig, President and CEO, CIBC
  • Milton Maluhy Filho, CEO, Itaú Unibanco
  • Alison Rose, CEO, NatWest Group
  • Werner Vogels, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Amazon.com, Inc.
  • Rob Heyvaert, Managing Partner, Motive Partners
  • Rick Yang, General Partner and Head of Consumer, New Enterprise Associates

NAB Chief Executive Ross McEwan said the Global Open Finance Challenge had uncovered a network of global talent ready to help the industry better support customers and the broader community.

“A competitive and innovative financial services industry is critical to ensuring great customer outcomes, with opportunities for further innovation and to create new business models. Collaboration between established financial services providers, big tech and fintechs has never been more important, as we respond to rapidly changing customer needs and expectations,” Mr McEwan said.

“We’re excited by the network of talent this challenge has uncovered, particularly within the area of sustainability. At NAB, we are ramping up our search for innovative ideas to further decrease our carbon footprint and help our customers reduce theirs, in support of the net-zero 2050 target. We look forward to working closely with the alliance and the challenge winners. Climate change is everyone’s job and by working together, we can achieve real change.”

Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Amazon.com, Inc. Dr. Werner Vogels said the challenge provided participants with the opportunity to hone their ideas and jumpstart new technology solutions.

“AWS has been a champion of start-ups from day one and we continue to work hard to support a global community of builders who can transform ideas. It was an exciting journey working with the teams in the Global Open Finance Challenge as they built and tested technology solutions to better serve banking customers in the rapidly evolving digital economy,” Dr Vogels said.

“Times of change offer opportunities to experiment and innovate, and the impressive fintechs that took part in the Challenge embraced the resources and expert advice it provided to hone their ideas and jumpstart new technology solutions.”

 

About ValAi

Founded in 2020, ValAi is an Australia-based sustainability start-up focused on green financing. Female founder Allys Todd has a background in environmental psychology and behaviour change including developing intrinsic and extrinsic motivational tools. Ms Todd’s background combined with Tom Reed’s (Co-Founder) and Sean Stach’s (Data Scientist) experience in property valuations, sustainability and technology, led ValAi to develop Greenhouse.

For more information on the Global Open Finance Challenge, please visit: www.globalopenfinancechallenge.com

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