We Succeed Together and Team Thrive have been announced as the winners of the Sustainable Finance Live 2023 hackathon, which took place 2 - 13 October 2023 alongside the conference, in partnership with NayaOne.
The judges split groups into two categories, 'emerging' and 'established,' to separate smaller groups from those larger corporations.
We Succeed Together won in the emerging category for their idea on impact-orientated financial instruments. The team consisted of Ikechukwu Okoli, co-founder, Capsule Technology and Arun Krishnankutty, managing consultant, Wipro. The judges mentioned that they liked their logical architecture and open KPI approach.
Team Thrive, a team made up of members of NatWest, won in the established category having pitched their 'Thrive Hub,” a platform aimed at changing the way impact investments take place for SMEs. The team consisted of Zeyno Yurddas, climate and ESG solutions, project manager, NatWest; Kristina Gosheva, climate & ESG solutions, delivery lead, NatWest; Rohan Dikshit, capital markets technology platform lead, NatWest; Asad Ateeque, capital markets technology platform, lead engineer - transformation, NatWest; Manish Bhutani, capital markets technology platform, delivery lead - private financing, NatWest; Jonathan Boden, climate & ESG solutions, project manager, NatWest; and Jon Mcinerney, climate & ESG solutions, project Manager, NatWest. Judges identified this as the most “ready to go” solution.
Runner up in the emerging category was SEEM, who presented their idea to mandate standardised net zero transition plans across the economy through management consultancy, enabling the deployment of universal ESG measurements and innovation at scale. The team consisted of Seema Sutradhar, co-founder and co-CEO of SEEM. The judges liked this presentation's focus on the move from pure profit focus to sustainable profit.
Runner up in the emerging category was First Derivative’s team who were presenting on the capabilities of integrating geospatial and related data with financial data for physical properties. This team consisted of Sanjyot Mestry, practice team lead, First Derivatives; Taylor Cavendish, consultant, First Derivatives; Johnny Mattimore, managing director, global head of risk & sustainable finance, First Derivative; Thangaprakash Rajendran, data engineer, FD Technologies; Shravani Navghare, data scientist, First Derivative; Nomanur Rashid, senior business analyst, First Derivatives; and Joao Pedro Afonso Cerqueira, head of data – cloud data engineering and data architectures, First Derivatives. The judges liked the drive to automate non-financial data integration with financial data.
- Andy Bennet, space Lead, Innovate UK KTN
- Dr Sadia Ahmed, Ventures CCE Studio Lead, Deloitte
- Chirine BenZaied-Bourgerie, head of innovation, Finastra
- Mitesh Soni, client executive, AWS
- Darshna Shah, director of innovation, Elastacloud
- Yiannis Bartzilas, director of ESG, Muzinich & Co
- Nicole Anderson, VC, 1835i
- Richard Conway, CEO, Elastacloud
- Sarah Sinclair, co-founder, Change Gap
- David Gristwood, consultant, Elastacloud
- Richard Peers, founder, ResponsibleRisk
- Amrit Satpathy, ecosystem manager, NayaOne
During the event, we spoke to members of Team Thrive about their hackathon experience. Gosheva and Yurddas noted that this was their first hackathon, coming from the ESG side of the business, this was newer to them. However, while Dikshit has participated in many hackathons before, he said that “this is quite a different hackathon from what we do normally, which is coding based. This is business idea, business model, how do you bring something to market.”
Discussing the focus for this year’s hackathon, which was sustainable cities and the nexus of forces across nature, climate, energy, and themes across data, AI, risk and financial instruments, Yurddas said that at the bank, they “see a lot of the problems that are faced firsthand by both tech teams and the business teams. So, the fact that one of the themes of this hackathon was impact-based financial instruments, I actually had quite a lot of ideas floating around my head already, so it just seemed like a good avenue to explore those further.”
Gosheva stated that she hadn’t come into the experience with any expectations with this being her first hackathon, but said, “I have seen it as a very positive experience. I have really valued the time we had to come up with different sets of ideas and discuss them. To challenge ourselves and challenge each other as well.”
Yurddas added: “For me, this was a great learning experience because it’s a very different way to solve or look at a problem.”
She continued: “I really enjoy the lack of parameters with this hackathon in particular, you can come up with anything and pursue it. For example, for an idea that we’re not doing, we ended up going down an hour-long track figuring out lots of details. You learn a lot from that. You learn to fail fast.”
Dikshit also commented on the extra time the experience gave them to think through their ideas: “The third idea is the one we’re going ahead with. With the mentors, you could soundboard those ideas. From an innovation perspective, the wide parameters definitely help, we came up with very different stuff.” He added: “For me, this has been a very enjoyable hackathon experience because it has forced me to go out of my normal area of expertise.”
Gosheva concluded: “We work on ESG in our daily jobs, but then the fact that we managed to create a cross-team collaboration, which has helped. It brings in different perspectives and then helps you think outside of your own box.”