From August 22nd to 24th we were at the Collabothon in Berlin. Already in its third year, the goal of this hackathon is to create cross-industry solutions with interdisciplinary teams. We joined lots of students and employees from different companies for this exciting venture. 19 teams worked on innovative fintech projects. In just 48 hours they developed prototypes from scratch, pitched, and gave a demo of their solution.

Collabothon exterior

This was no ordinary hackathon (it was even different to the two previous Collabothons). Largely this was due to the various companies and industries involved, as well as the emphasis on collaboration between the different parties to create innovative new solutions. Collabothon is a hackathon from several major European banks: comdirect bank AG, Commerzbank, and mBank. Each company brought along a team to collaborate with the participants. Salesforce, Accenture, Main Incubator, and Hermes were also hosts of this unique event. As at previous Collabothons, we were a technology partner, equipped with a strong team to support hackers with their endeavours. Around 140 participants came together to take on the challenges proposed by banking, logistics, and e-commerce companies.

On Wednesday August 22nd we were welcomed to the 2018 Collabothon, located at the fantastic Alte Börse Marzahn, a former brewery just east of Berlin, we had the chance to familiarise ourselves with the challenges proposed by the companies, or to join teams who already had brought an idea, before splitting into teams to work on our ideas. We had complete freedom whether to accept a challenge or devise something completely different. There were a few rules, such as: fresh code, no surnames, and no ties.
Hacking started on Thursday morning, which was only interrupted by food or feedback – two critical ingredients for success. Coaches gave actionable suggestions to improve our ideas. We also started rehearsing our pitches Some participants hacked through the night… Throughout the hackathon, the teams were very dedicated to making their projects succeed, yet there was still enough flexibility for fascinating exchanges and collaborations. We very much enjoyed discussing our cloud platform and different technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things. Some teams also based their solutions on our IBM Cloud platform.

Our team, “Credit Blue” was formed of Britta Daffner, Lars Dittert, Andreas Frölich, Steffen Dick, and Lotte Bierdel. They worked on a mortgage banking solution to replace the long, complicated process of unending online forms and plethora of decisions (How long should the credit period be? Is the property affordable for me?). Since the topic of the Collabothon was Fusion of Industries, we devised a solution which combines several internet portals. For example, if you found a suitable listing on a property portal, you would also find a: “Log in with Xing”, this would match your profile and job description with glassdoor and a rough estimate of your monthly or annual income. The bank matches the information of the property listing with the interested buyer. Not only is the buyer supported at every stage of the process, they are in complete charge of the information they share.

“The Collabothon was a very exciting experience, which I would recommend to anyone: we laughed a lot, we had very interesting discussions with other participants, we got to know other projects and ways of thinking, and last but not least – we created and implemented a solution which we are really proud of in less than 30 hours.” – Lotte Bierdel

On Friday, hacking stopped at 2pm, when all teams had to submit their results. Afterwards, everyone met outside, and we shared our thoughts and ideas. One team worked on a Virtual Reality game to gamify stock and equity trading. The whole event was a catalyst for knowledge sharing and innovation. The jury comprised top managers from the event’s host companies. Prizes ranged from 5,000€ to 15,000€, there was also a prize for the most diverse team. After a marathon of presentations, the winners were announced. The event had an open end, allowing celebration and networking to carry on after our final dinner together.

Check out the Collabothon 2018 video:

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