• 9-day From Zero To Fintech Hackathon gathered all key stakeholders under the initiative to provide the best Fintech education possible to students and interested people in the field of digital finance
  • The hackathon consisted of a 6-hour workshop session on 7th March a mentor session throughout the week 8-13 March and an awarding ceremony on 14 March.
  • More than 70 participants signed up and attended the event’s activities
  • 6 Teams, supported by Fintech mentors created 3-minute pitching videos
  • A 12-member jury reviewed and evaluated the ideas selecting the 2 most ready to go on market solutions
  • Money Magic and AIsolvers are the winners of the competition and receive the big prizes, provided by IBM, Penkov, Markov and Partners, Iris Solutions and 7Security Group
  • Mentors will continue working with participants on their Fintech solutions.
  • BFA and FEBA are committed to continuing working in bringing together the public and private sector to further develop the Fintech conditions in Bulgaria

What exactly is From Zero To Fintech hackathon?

The hackathon was the next step of the Master’s degree program in Finance and Investments at Sofia University and provided the participants with a series of workshops, conducted by some of the most prominent specialists in the field of marketing, sales, and investments in Fintech solutions in Bulgaria and Europe. A legal expert touched on regulations and investors shed light on financing and access to venture capital. The event was open to anyone interested in the field of digital finance and attracted more than 70 participants. In addition, From Zero To Fintech gave a chance to solve real-life Fintech cases, propose and develop new Fintech solutions, and test their ideas with ‘dummy data’ via Iris PSD 2 HUB. All Fintech ideas created and developed during the Fintech hackathon were evaluated by a highly respected jury consisting of Fintech specialists from Bulgaria, the Middle East and the Silicon Valley. The event was supported by Paysafe, Mastercard, Visa Eleven Program, Credissimo and Nexo. From Zero To Fintech initiative has been widely supported by academic institutions and organizations among which the Technical University – Sofia, Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics at Sofia University, Telerik Academy, SoftUni as well as by a couple of IT communities such as Data Science Society Bulgaria and Coding Girls – Bulgaria.

What happened during the hackathon?

The start of the 9-day hackathon organized by Bulgarian Fintech Association (BFA) and the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at Sofia University, was given on 6 March with an opening ceremony with keynote speeches by the Ministry of Finance of Republic of Bulgaria, the European Commission and Sofia University. The first day of the event was dedicated to the officials and a quick presentation was given by Iris Solutions about PSD-2 regulation and how it changed the digital finance scenery in the EU.

The next day was the Workshops day, wherein 6-hour exclusive webinar 7 Fintech professionals shed light on everything it is needed to be known to have a successful Fintech solution working in our region. Thus, on 7 March the participants were met with representatives from Eleven Ventures, Limacon, Fram Creative Solutions, Penkov, Markov and partners, 356 labs, and IBM champions from Conquex and Cognition Foundry, to talk respectively on investments, regulations, sales, marketing, and technology in Fintech.

Once all participants were provided with the needed knowledge and tools for the development of Fintech business ideas, they had 5 days, from 8th to 12th March, to work on their projects. Gathered in teams according to their interests, the participants had the opportunity to be guided by mentors – specialists in the field of the teams’ projects.

Saturday, 13th March, was the day when each team had to create 3-minute pitching videos by applying all knowledge and skills acquired during the workshops. The pitching videos were later reviewed and evaluated by a competent jury comprised of professionals from the public and private sector of Bulgaria, the Middle East, and the Silicon Valley.

On the last day of the event, 14th March, among with the presentation of the created Fintech solutions we held a virtual Fintech panel discussion on the future of Fintech, joined by some on the most popular Fintech experts in Bulgaria. Namely, the panelists were Nick Todorov, CEO and founder of Limechain, Rossen Yordanov, SVP Consumers at Skrill and Neteller, Kamen Trendafilov, Finance Director at Credissimo, Filip Mutafis Investor at Paysera and Ivan Hadjov Business Development Manager at Mastercard.

What Fintech solutions were created during the hackathon?

The participants in the From Zero to Fintech formed 6 teams in total and presented Fintech solutions raging from digital wallets for youngsters, to AI-backed solutions for corporate financial institutions. However, the winners were only 2 – Money Magic and AI solvers.

Money magic is a p2p property and lending platform while AiSolvers are an AI-powered anomaly detection for corporate financially viability. You can watch winner’s pitching videos and the other Fintech solutions created during the Fintech hackathon in this video.

To continue working on their great ideas and accelerate their go to market, the winners from Magic Money have been awarded the IBM $12,000 prize in cloud computing and the Penkov, Markov, and partners’ 1-year legal compliance prize. The winners in second place – AiSolvers received the IRIS Solutions PSD-2 Hub and PCI-DSS 7Security Group prize. To learn more about the prizes check our website.

What are the next steps?

Based on the Hackathon’s success, the interest in Fintech shown by the Bulgarian audience, BFA and FEBA are committed to continuing working to provide the best education in the field of digital finance. To do it the Fintech and e-banking lecture course, part of the Finance and Investments Master’s degree at Sofia University, will not only be continued in 2021 but also increased by 50% and another course in Blockchain and cryptocurrencies added in the curriculum. In addition, both organizations are determined to organize more Fintech hackathons in the near future and satisfy the ever-growing popularity and traction of digital finance in Bulgaria.