By @SimonCocking. Interview with Deborah Lawless, CIO, UB Services

Ulster Bank Hackathon challenges participants to create ground-breaking apps and services to “open” banking

When is it on?

The Ulster Bank Hackathon takes place from Friday the 17th to Sunday the 19th of February in Dogpatch Labs, Chq

How many years has it been going?

Since 2015 for Ulster Bank, and 2016 for RBS. This will be the 4th UB hackathon, and our second year at Dogpatch Labs

What was the inspiration to start it?

There are a number of benefits to the bank for running these events, from opportunity and talent spotting to community engagement and public relations, however I believe the real inspiration lies in the upcoming regulatory changes through PSD2. We know that it will mandate Open API’s and we see this as an opportunity for Ulster Bank. Through the hackathons we can engage with potential partners in a post PSD2 landscape and start to understand what this will mean for our operating and business models in the future.

What exciting things can people look forward to for the 2017 version?

In early events we focused our challenges around banking API’s and typical banking scenarios, but this year we want to put more emphasis on creativity. We aren’t asking for much, just something completely unique that no one else is doing! To this end we have recruited a lot of support and assistance from the Bluebank API team, Microsoft, HP, Nile, and ViewsDX (UXTemple) to make a much wider set of API’s available. We’re challenging the teams to combine banking and non-banking API’s to see results they can come up with, and to us, that’s very exciting.

What opportunities are on offer for attending?

First and foremost, the satisfaction of a job well done!
For those purely interested in competing we will have plenty of prizes on offer for successful entries against our main challenges, and spot prizes through out the weekend, but the event also offers an unrivalled opportunity to hold an audience with some of the most influential decision makers in Ulster Bank and RBS. Over the course of the weekend we will host Gerry Mallon, UB CEO and Patrick Eltridge, RBS CIO among many others.

What tips would you give to people attending to get the most out of it?

What you build and how you pitch it are equally important, you need to make sure your team mixes all skills to succeed. We’ve also brought in a lot of support and assistance this year to help people make the most of the chance, including pitch coaches from Entrepreneurial Spark, take advantage of whats on offer.

How can people book tickets / when does it usually sell out?

The Hackathon is Sold out.

Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked?

This is the biggest Ulster Bank/RBS hackathon to date and has attracted some great interest from a wide range of technology companies.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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