PayAza introduced the maiden edition of its Fintech Hackathon, a 2-day event that started on 21 Dec. and concluded on 22 Dec. 2022. The hackathon-themed ” Rethinking Payments: Driving Financial Innovations Towards Customers’ Satisfaction” featured participants of varied professional backgrounds competing in teams to seek a payment solution that will ease customers’ experience.
Participants were grouped into five teams on Day 1 and were tasked with building an innovation that solves a business case for the grand prize of $2,000. Each group was assigned a mentor to help them through the challenge and received guidelines and some PayAza APIs to facilitate their ideas.
Team members bonded immediately and set to work on presenting a feasible, scalable, and profitable innovation before a panel of judges the next day.
Toyeeb, a software engineer, expressed his delight at interacting with his team members and other participants. As a self-taught techie, he believed meeting similar minds was invaluable to his career development.
On Day 2, participants continued to work on their innovations before presenting to a panel of judges, which included Tomilola Majekodunmi, CEO Bankly; Niyi Kolade, CEO; Seerbit, Bukola Bankole, Partner TNC; Kayode Fadunhsi. CEO Prosperis Holdings; Williams Fatayo, CEO Truq; and Adetola Nola, Founder and CEO, Veritas.
There is room for improvement in Nigeria’s Fintech ecosystem
Judges implored participants to seek solutions in the fintech space, especially in the payments sector. There could be more improvements in the payments sector as vendors and customers still face issues that affect businesses, while the payment process could also be made more convenient. Normal bank payments may take up to five steps before they are executed, while they could be done in two steps or less. Also, issues of delayed and declined transfers persist.
Williams Fatayo, CEO of Truq explained to participants to seek partnerships to strengthen the viability of their products. He explained that it would be more productive to partner with similar startups to ensure that customers are well satisfied and would also foster business development. “If you do it alone, you will suffer before you learn to partner with people who have figured out everything. Do not try to reinvent the wheel. Focus on the core of what you can do and figure out gateways and APIs to power what you can do on your end.
Tomilola Majekodunmi also urged participants to eliminate risks at the technical and security levels. “When you come out with new products, criminals also carry out their ‘hackathons’ to hit your system. As you are coming together now, they are also looking for vulnerabilities in your or any other new system.”
Other judges and attendees agreed that customers still faced issues with payment systems. As Nigeria and Africa work towards increasing the number of unbanked persons as we seek a cashless society, we must improve the security measures and ease of use of payment systems. At the same time, bring digital payment to more people.
Niyi Kolade urged participants to be undeterred by the number of payment solutions already in business.
“I believe that if anyone is scared to start or feel threatened by the number of big companies in fintech, they should remember there are still problems to solve. As regulation improves, we bring more people into the e-banking space, so we need to focus on securities.”
Niyi Kolade, SeerBit CEO
“Customer experience and transfer failures are still persistent, and we are at the point where we need to get back to fixing those issues. The next big thing is to be focused on helping that market women understand digital payment,” he said.
The five teams presented the innovations they came up with on day one, impressing judges and spectators alike. One team proposed a system to make NFC payments more effortless, and another presented an idea to enable voice and facial recognition as security measures.
Another team proposed a platform that fosters trust between vendors and customers by simplifying payments and holding funds in escrow until a customer is satisfied with the vendor’s goods and services.
The judges asked questions and provided advice to help the participants’ innovations. Participants were also informed that all ideas were innovative and outstanding and everybody was a winner. The partnerships and experience acquired are worth more than any monetary prize.
At the end of the results; Team Ballers; who proposed a payment platform that could allow digital payment without internet service, claimed first prize to win the grand prize of $2000. In a chat with Technext, Ishaya Solomon, Osato Frederick, Ibukunoluwa Fetubo, and other team members explained that the hackathon was intense. Still, they are pleased it was worth it.
“It was really intense. We just met yesterday and were already brainstorming on a plan before we got the guidelines for the hackathon. We factored this into our plans and worked till really late, some of us had not slept all night, but it was worth it.
They expect the bond formed at the PayAza Fintech Hackathon to wax stronger; the first plan is to ball, but we are going to have a meeting to move things forward because it does not end here,
The first and second runners-up received $1200 and $600, respectively, while there were other cash prizes for individuals who also impressed the judges and mentors during the hackathon.