Students Compete In 24-Hour Event To Create Banking’s Next Big Thing

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Where do great ideas come from? Why do certain things take the market by storm? How can we make that happen quickly?

Those are questions PNC Bank is asking and why they have put more than 100 of the best and brightest minds into one room and keep them there for 24 hours.

You never know where the next big thing is going to come from.

Twenty teams participating in the PNC API are banking on the fact that it comes from this 24-hour blitz.

API, or Application Programming Interfaces, is essentially taking two existing apps and marrying them together to make something new and better. One group is working with PNC Bank’s Virtual Wallet and a fitness tracker for a form of monetary motivation.

“Hey, I want to get this new Trek bike. It costs me $750. I put that goal in. It is automatically connected back to my FitBit. Every day FitBit comes back and says, ‘Hey, you met your goal.’ Then, that money moves. I can get emails. I can get chatter on my FitBit. I can get like text messages,” API participant Jen Meyercheck said.

The catch is they these groups of five or six have only 24 hours to go from start to finish. This API features six teams of students from Carnegie Mellon.

“It won’t be polished, something that you could throw on the App Store and have a million people download, but it is going to be something that you can play with, something you can demo, a little rough on the edges, but a prototype will definitely be capable in 24 hours,” CMU grad student Karim Elmaaroufi said.

There have been big evolutions from taking the folding money to then going to credit cards and then now, people do most of their banking on their phone. This group hopes in the next 24 hours the next step is made when it comes to the future of banking.

“It means just looking at it from a completely different lens and a direction and making the next great leap in something and that is what we want to do,” PNC Bank Sr. VP of Enterprise Innovations Laura Ritz said.

All of the participants are volunteers, but they are vying for prize money. Winners could make as much as $4,000 per person for a day’s work in coming up with the next big thing.

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