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Building the Future of Alkami’s Digital Banking Platform at the TechFin Hackathon

Alkami Hosts First External Hackathon; Celebrates Innovation in Digital Banking

Caitlin Lam, Senior Product Marketing Manager

Alkami

Unleashing Creativity and Innovation: A Recap of the Epic Hackathon at Alkami Co:lab 2024
This year, we hosted our very first customer-facing TechFin Hackathon onsite at Alkami Co:lab 2024 where our clients, partners and system integrators arrived onsite and formed teams to collaboratively build innovative functionality on the Alkami digital banking platform using the Alkami Software Development Kit (SDK). Thirty participants formed 7 teams focused on a variety of projects that solve real-world technology challenges, and incorporate greater visibility, control, and convenience to the end user experience. Keep reading for a full recap of the hackathon.

 

 

Inception of the Hackathon

In Fall 2023, Alkami employees gathered onsite at the Alkami headquarters in Plano, TX for our first internal TechFin Conference and Hackathon, led by Alkami’s Chief Technology Officer, Deep Varma. Over 200 participants came together to develop 26 unique projects in just 24 hours. This proved to be an energizing experience that allowed our employees to step outside their comfort zone to learn new skills, fix and improve existing functionality, and even develop new solutions. It also created fantastic opportunities for participants to develop and hone their personal and professional skills, while building creative solutions with the potential to benefit both our clients and the Alkami digital banking platform as a whole.
 

Opening the Innovation Stage to Our Community

After the overwhelming success of our internal hackathon, Varma had a vision to open up the stage of innovation and collaboration to include Alkami clients, partners, and system integrators. We wanted to give this audience access to our SDK, which would provide them with the technical “keys to the kingdom” to get creative and build new features and functionality directly on the Alkami platform. And what better time and place to host an external hackathon than our client conference – Alkami Co:lab?

Within just a couple months, our hackathon registration was sold out – by developer and product-oriented participants that held a wide range of skills, including front-end web development, full-stack web development, backend web development, mobile app development, data science, product management and more. It was inspiring to see individuals with such a range of talents, skill sets, backgrounds and passions – all interested in making an impact in improving the future of digital banking.
 

Gearing Up to Innovate on the Digital Banking Platform

Leading up to the event, the hackathon participants were the first to try out our brand new SDK installation experience using Alkami’s “Merlin” SDK wizard that officially debuted at Alkami Co:lab. Our user-friendly installation wizard enables developers to install the Alkami SDK in 30 minutes or less, and has everything developers need to start building and integrating capabilities into their digital banking platform.

In addition, participants were equipped with webinars, interactive office hours sessions, documentation, training videos and even “vignettes” as inspirational materials to start brainstorming potential projects that could be created using the Alkami SDK.

 

Get Ready, Get Set, Hackathon!

 

Settling In

On Sunday, participants arrived onsite for a hackathon kickoff where Varma gave a warm welcome, followed by hackathon organizers Ritesh Mishra, senior manager, software engineering, Allen Cheslik, product manager, and Sundar Siva, senior director engineering, provided an overview of what to expect during the hackathon, and set the tone for the event – think outside of the box, get curious, ask questions, and most importantly – have fun. Additionally, our SDK engineering experts, Hillman Chen and Alex Pham, along with our API engineering expert, Bhaskar Surroy, were onsite to share best practices, troubleshoot issues, and assist with the overall event, ensuring a successful and enjoyable experience.

 

Off to the Races

On Monday, as the clock started ticking, teams delved into their projects with unwavering focus. Dozens of project ideas were submitted by the hackathon participants weeks in advance. With so many great ideas to choose from, the hackathon organizers selected several projects that would have the best likelihood to be successfully completed within an accelerated 1-day timeframe at Alkami Co:lab. Here’s a glimpse into the standout projects:

  1. Rewards Redemption: Create a widget that allows users to redeem points/rewards or book flights and  hotels, within the online banking platform.
  2. Donations Widget: Create a widget that allows users to make monetary donations to a non-profit organization, within the online banking platform.
  3. Financial Advisor Chatbot: Create a financial advisor chatbot, to be seamlessly embedded within the online banking platform.
  4. Status Dashboard: Create a status dashboard for financial institution admins to display the current status of third-party connectors from Alkami’s system.
  5. Product Rates Widget: Create a widget that displays product rates, within the online banking platform.
  6. Automatic Savings Pod: Develop a project that encourages users to save money in an automated manner, within the online banking platform.
  7. Video Hub: Create a video hub widget for an embedded platform for end user training videos. Develop a simple place for an end user to get information on how to use online banking.

As the hackathon progressed, teams found themselves immersed in a whirlwind of coding, testing and refining. Sleep became a luxury as participants fueled themselves with caffeine and sheer determination, pushing through fatigue to bring their visions to life. Mentors and industry experts roamed the venue, offering guidance and feedback to fuel the teams’ progress.

The hackathon participants showed impressive focus throughout the day, and even more admirable camaraderie and sportsmanship within their teams, and even other teams. While each team was working on a different project, it was clear that everyone had a desire to learn something new, and get hands-on experience with the Alkami SDK.

 

The Final Stretch

As the clock ticked down to the final moments, anticipation grew in the air. Teams put the finishing touches on their projects, rehearsing pitches and ironing out any last-minute glitches. Nerves were palpable as each team prepared to showcase their innovations the next morning to a panel of esteemed judges.

 

 

Demo Day

Tuesday morning, the hackathon teams took to the stage, presenting their projects with passion and conviction. The judging panel consisted of five technology leaders, Kathy Bushway, chief marketing officer at Premier Bank, Sandy Steward, chief technology officer at Civic Federal Credit Union, Jerry Adona, senior solution consultant at Alkami, Eakta Pandey, vice president,  engineering at Alkami and Allen Cheslik, product manager at Alkami.

The judges asked thought-provoking questions about each presentation, evaluating not only the technical prowess but also the potential real-world impact of the innovations. Criteria such as creativity, client-value, and presentability weighed heavily in the decision-making process.

After much deliberation, the moment of truth arrived as the judges selected the winner of the hackathon. Although everyone in attendance was eager to find out the results, they had to wait until the next morning.

 

 

 

Awards Ceremony

Wednesday, April 10 marked the last half day of the conference, including the highly anticipated Alkami Hackathon Awards ceremony, where Deep Varma announced the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winning teams.

While every team demonstrated remarkable ingenuity, the Video Hub team emerged victorious, claiming the grand prize TechFin Hackathon trophy, and earning accolades from both judges and peers alike. To celebrate their victories, each winner from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams selected their prize from a diverse range of options.

 

Here are the results of the TechFin Hackathon at Alkami Co:lab 2024:

  1. Video Hub – Connor Murphy from CUTEK and David Benning from HiFin Technology.
  2. Product Rates – Kai Hudson from Keesler Federal Credit Union, Dineji Olaniyan from TTCU Federal Credit Union, and Justin Pearce, Krystal Ekern and Kimberly Duberstein from Connexus Credit Union.
  3. Financial Advisor Chatbot – Troy Snowden from First Fidelity Bank, Micah Armantrout from SWIVEL, and Christian Steckler from Glia Technologies.

 

Other incredible projects that were developed during this hackathon:

 

 

 

Feedback from our participants


“Having other developers there to collaborate with who are familiar with the platform and share experience and tips was incredibly valuable. Also, it was great to be at the conference and have something that was specifically for the developers. Doing something that I’m passionate about with others who are also passionate about it truly set this event apart from other conferences I have attended.”


“Meeting other developers, and discussing our ideas was my favorite part of the event. I really enjoyed seeing the excitement from my colleagues, and the connections they were making as well.”


“I came out of the event with four new SDK developer friends. We plan to keep in touch and continue to collaborate in the future. I truly hope that Alkami puts this event on each year.”

 

We Continue to Build the Future of Banking – Together

The TechFin Hackathon at Alkami Co:lab 2024 was a testament to the power of collaboration, creativity, and innovation. In the span of a few intense days, participants showcased the boundless potential of technology to address pressing challenges and drive positive change, with the right tools, resources, advisors and mentors onsite. As the event drew to a close, the spirit of camaraderie lingered, leaving behind a legacy of inspiration and possibility. And while the hackathon may have ended, the innovation doesn’t stop here – the Alkami team is working towards bringing select hackathon projects to production – stay tuned for future updates!

 

 

We look forward to continuing the technology conversation with our clients and prospects throughout 2024 and beyond! Want to be a part of the co:laboration? Save the date for Alkami Co:lab 2025. We’re headed to Nashville, y’all! 

 

Want to learn more about the Technology sessions we hosted at Alkami Co:lab?
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Alkami Technology Digital Banking Solutions
Alkami Technology, Inc. is a leading cloud-based digital banking solutions provider for financial institutions in the United States that enables clients to grow confidently, adapt quickly and build thriving digital communities.
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