Citi dangles $100K carrot at APAC developers

Citi dangles $100K carrot at APAC developers

"We're a big lumpy bank and we really need help" - Citi CEO Stephen Roberts

Citi is giving app developers across the Asia-Pacific region a chance to take their ideas to worldwide markets and win a share of $100,000 with the local launch of its Global Mobile Challenge.

The bank is hoping to attract at least 600 entrants across the region to participate in what it describes as a ‘next-generator accelerator’ to create technologies that will run across its global platform.

The Global Mobile Challenge combines a virtual hackathon with a developer program and worldwide network of financial technology experts to incubate IT solutions from more than 100 markets.

Developers are being asked to create a technology solution that Citi will help put into production. They will also win a share of $100,000 in cash and services from sponsors, including the opportunity to participate in accelerator programs and receive mentoring, office space and investment.

Similar events have been run in Latin America, the United States and Europe over the past 12 months.

Avoka, a technology firm with Australian headquarters in Manly, Sydney recently won the ‘most innovative customer solution' award at a demo day in London, UK for its Avoka Transact app.

Citi Australia CEO, Stephen Roberts, said the company spends "billions of dollars" on technology and is completely dependent on it.

“We are no different to anybody else in our industry. Those Australians that know the four major [banks] in this market, there isn’t a board or a management team that hasn’t spent a lot of time in either Israel or Silicon Valley with a dedicated purpose of trying to work out how to crack a nut which is growing.

“We’re a bank, we’re trying to be more humane but we just can’t do it … so we have created the idea of tapping into the minds of people who are far more adept than we … about having the flexibility and nimbleness to do what we need to do,” said Roberts.

"We're a big, lumpy bank and we really need help - hence the challenge."

Citi is working with Google; financial technology accelerator, Stone & Chalk; venture capital firm, BlueChilli; The Committee for Sydney; the University of Wollongong; and Avoka on the Asia-Pacific program.

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