Bankathon CEE: Interview with Mario Brkić from BeeOne (Erste Bank)

Mario Brkić from BeeOne (Erste Group)

Mario Brkić from BeeOne (Erste Group)

Erste Bank was the first Sponsor we could convince with the Bankathon concept. The idea behind this special event has been emphasised by Mario Brkić, product owner who focuses on R&D and partnerships at BeeOne, a subsidiary of Erste Group.

When asked about his FinTech enthusiasm, Mario stated: „And the best thing is that, apart from other industries, when you’re really successful in FinTech you can actually change people’s lives for the better“.

Short personal profile

Name: Mario Brkić
Position: Product Owner, focused on R&D and partnerships
I’m excited about FinTech because …  I think that it’s fascinating how important our finances are to our lives, and still how limited the tools which we have had to manage them have been for such a long time. Luckily things are changing. FinTech is just such an exciting space at the moment. There’s so much going on, from UX improvements to complete changes of business models. And the best thing is that, apart from other industries, when you’re really successful in FinTech you can actually change people’s lives for the better. That’s just an amazing thing.

Have you ever taken part in a Hackathon? What are you most looking forward to?

We’ve done a few now through the past 4 years … From self-organised ones to partnerships, in multiple countries. I just love feeling the energy and following the competitors thought process as they try to develop something special. Even though it’s part of our day-to-day, it’s still refreshing to sometimes get out of your zone see other people approaching problems in a different light.

What was your primary motivation for taking part as a Bankathon supporter? What insights are you hoping for?

It’s always a lottery with hackathons. You can’t go into them expecting to always have a home run deal comes out of it, but there’s tremendous value in the whole interaction; from just getting to know some new faces to understanding new approaches to common problems and, if you’re lucky and all pieces of the puzzle fall in place, maybe sparking up a new cooperation. It’s just a great type of event, primarily for participants and then in the background for us as supporters from the outside.

Twice in Frankfurt, once in Hamburg, and now the Bankathon is in Vienna. What do you think of Vienna as a city for FinTech?

There’s definitely some energy here and it’s growing. From young new players to more established startups. There’s less hype, but more sitting in the shadows and just getting good work done.

Do you create your own team or API?

Yes. This year no team, but we’re happy to be offering an API for the participants to use and hopefully to help them create something interesting with the data.

Are you planning to award a prize? What is it? What will you be looking for when selecting the winner?

We’ve planned a special prize. Let’s leave it as a surprise 🙂 But I think it will put a smile on the winners‘ faces.

Can you give us a look behind the scenes? What can your customers expect from the digital drawer in the foreseeable future?

There’s a lot going on, not just in the finance area but in technology in general. I recently heard a great quote that I really liked saying that finance is like oxygen. You don’t usually think about it (and you shouldn’t have to), but when you have trouble breathing you notice it quite quickly. I think it’s a good analogy. I think there will be a great step towards intelligence, automation, and generally giving people assistant and guidance in the background. At the end, people don’t want to spend hours and days thinking about their finances. Ideally, they should be in control when they need to, and for the rest, it should just work based on the goals you set.


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