Open ID pitch wins Swift's innovation competition

Open ID pitch wins Swift's innovation competition

A business model pitch called e-ME won the competition part of the Innotribe side conference run for the first time at Swift's annual conference. The concept was workshopped as part of an assignment to develop ideas in cloud computing that delegates took part in over the course of the four-day event.

At the start of the conference in Hong Kong this week, group leaders pitched to the assembled audience to join one of three workshops to develop new ideas about how cloud computing, crowd sourcing and mash-ups can be applied to solve problems and generate new business in the financial services industry.

40 people from 19 different organisations took part in workshops on Thursday morning presenting their concept and business model to a Buyers' Panel that comprised.

  • Lazaro Campos, CEO, Swift
  • Ignace Combes, Deputy CEO Euroclear and Swift board member
  • Paul Simpson MD and global head of treasury and trade solutions, Citi
  • Javier Santamaria, AGM, Banco Santander
  • Gottfried Leibbrandt, head of markets, Swift
  • Guy Kawasaki, founding partner, Garage Technology Ventures.

Wrapping up the Innotribe side-conference, a panel of venture capitalists debated the state of VC investment in start-ups generally, and also provided advice to Swift on developing more entrepreneural capabilities internally.

Guy Kawasaki, founding partner, Garage Technology Ventures, said Swift should "find two clever people at a university somewhere who love finance and developing and are thinking how they can kill Swift. Bring them in and have them kill you internally. If you can do this, it will lead to a lot of innovation."

Then after the short pitches and Q&A sessions for the three groups' concepts were concluded, the audience was invited to vote for their favourite on the way out.

The Cloud computing pitch was announced as the winner at the closing plenary session. It proposed a product called e-ME, which is billed as a virtual secure lockbox that people could use to store centralised digital assets, including contact and financial data, certificates, wills or legal documents. With this single secure source of personal data, users could give retailers, banks or public sector organisations access to particular elements once only. Then if for example an address or credit card changed, the user would not have to notify all the different organisations they deal with.

David McFarlane, Chaps company manager, was a member of this group and pitched the benefits to banks: "Using this unique eMe proxy service, banks won't have to waste effort on repairs."

While the exact role of Swift and banks in potentially running this system was not made clear, it was suggested that a business model could be developed whereby companies would have to make micropayments to access a person's 'lockbox'.

When questioned by the buyer's panel, the group claimed that it did also have possible applications for bank account portability and in the corporate banking sector, without elaborating further.

Kawasaki was impressed with the pitch, and said it sounded to him something like "Mint on steroids meets Open ID". He was also clearly impressed with the presentation skills of group leader Peter Hinssen, managing director of A-Cross Technology. "You're just full of sh*t enough to be really attractive to a VC," he said.

The non-winning mash up pitch proposed a capability whereby financial data - from banks and from Swift could be fed in real-time to a portal and mixed with a company's internal and external data sources, and presented using a standardised yet flexible ETL mechanism for manipulating the data. This was to be supplemented with a community marketplace for sharing or selling particular datasets and mashup templates. The use case given for this was for real-time cash positions, illustrated with a mock-up developed on's web application platform.

The other pitch was for a Crowd-sourced trust scoring system called T-Score, which goes further than a traditional credit score to draw on a wider set of data that can be aggregated on the Swift network and referenced by organisations. It was proposed that this could even do things like rate the moral hazard of people's behaviour on social networking sites and incorporate this into a trust score.

The Innotribe community that Swift has been fostering online and at its Sibos conference for the first time this year, is an extension of the Swift2015 initiative that the co-operative began earlier this year with internal staff workshops brainstorming ideas about the organisation's future.

With a product and service development focus, the aim of the initiative is to elicit ideas for new things that Swift could do to play a more useful role at the heart of the global financial services industry. It also hopes to encourage other industry participants to innovate using Swift's infrastructure.

Head of the Swift2015 programme, Amanda Westwood, talks more about the programme in this Finextra video.

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