A technology company developing an innovative digital loyalty app has been named the winner of the 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. Proposals had 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. Using Open Banking technology, the app offers a completely personalised and frictionless way for consumers to earn rewards. 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. He said: “It’s 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, said: “We launched the Open Banking Challenge because we wanted to hear about the innovative new digital products and services that are being developed locally which have the power to change how consumers and small businesses move, manage and make more of their money.

“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. Hal Wilson at Techstart NI added: “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.”

The prize package also included 12 months’ office space, mentoring, and access to international banking networks. More information about loyalBe can be found at https://loyalbe.io


• For more information about Open Banking visit https://www.openbanking.org.uk/home/what-is-open-banking/
• Techstart NI was established by Invest NI as part of its Access to Finance strategy and is part funded by ERDF under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020.
• Techstart NI provides support for early stage technology businesses and university spin-outs through its £17m equity fund, two £1.5m university funds and a £3.6m proof of concept grant fund.