Innovative banking app inaugural winner of new tech competition

Søren Rode Andreasen, chief digital officer at Danske Bank; LoyalBe’s founder, Cormac Quinn and Kathleen Garrett, grant manager at Techstart NI
Gareth McKeown

A TECHNOLOGY company developing an innovative digital loyalty app has been named the winner of the inaugural Open Banking Challenge, a new competition run by Techstart NI and Danske Bank.

The Open Banking Challenge gave tech entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland the chance to pitch for £60,000 of funding, with applicants tasked to make the most of the new era of banking technology by creating exciting new apps, products or services that will benefit consumers or businesses.

The competition winner, loyalBe, aims to replace paper loyalty cards with a single mobile app. Rather than having to scan QR codes or involve the retailer in the process, consumers will simply link their bank account once and pay via their usual method to earn rewards.

Danske Bank and Techstart NI will now work in partnership with loyalBe to develop the app and commence testing with customers.

LoyalBe's founder, Cormac Quinn, left his job at Kainos to launch the company earlier this year and said it is an "honour" to be chosen as the winner.

"This partnership with Danske Bank will be very valuable for loyalBe and I look forward to working with them closely to bring our product to market.”

Søren Rode Andreasen, chief digital officer at Danske Bank, added: “The judges were hugely impressed by loyalBe's technology and vision for its application. We received a number of innovative, high calibre entries to the competition and we congratulate Cormac and his team on their success – they are worthy winners.”

Open Banking has launched in the UK and Hal Wilson from Techstart NI expects to see more innovative fin-tech companies emerging in Northern Ireland as entrepreneurs start to see the potential it offers.

“Open Banking creates opportunities for the entrepreneurial community to work more closely than ever with banks and building societies to develop novel products and services that will deliver benefits to both banks and their customers."

"The applications to the first Open Banking Challenge demonstrated the potential for this sector in Northern Ireland and as customers continue to demand more from their banks, there will be further scope for creative technicians, designers and engineers to develop and deliver new products," he added.

The prize package also included 12 months' office space, mentoring, and access to international banking networks.

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