UniCredit tempts startups with cash and collaboration package

UniCredit tempts startups with cash and collaboration package

Italy's UniCredit is inviting teams of developers to demo innovative applications for PSD2, real-time insight and digital wallets and compete for a EUR50,000 grand prize.

Participants in the programme are challenged to focus on current technology trends including biometrics, mobile wallets/payments, artificial intelligence, social media banking in conjunction with new and emerging business models.

The Italian banking group is looking for applications suitable for immediate development and integration with UniCredit Business Integrated Solutions.

The bank is working with the Open Banking Project to run an 'Appathon' that will test the applications in a sandbox environment using anonymised bank data emulating real-life situations.

Ten teams will then be selected to demo their applications in Milan on July 20 for UniCredit’s senior management who will determine the winners of the competition.

Paolo Cederle, CEO of UniCredit Business Integrated Solutions, says: “We want the Appathon to help us foster innovation and translate thoughts into new products and services that benefit our customers; by opening the API to participants, they can create functioning app prototypes that shorten the production process."

Speaking at EBAday in Milan last week, Grabriele Marksteiner, UniCredit's global head of product development for clearing and FX, spoke frankly about the "burden" of the bank's legacy architecture and the need to work in close collaboration with fintech startups to push out better services to clients.

To this end, the bank has set up a specialist team of relationship managers to work closely with emerging startups, screening them for potential investment and partnership opportunities and on-selling the bank's platforms to provide access to clearing and settlement systems. In March, the bank set up a EUR200 million fintech fund with a focus on Series-C level investment in promising new companies.

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