May-June 2021 Investec-OfferZen Programmable Banking Hackathon

Hi Peeps :sunglasses:

I’m excited to launch the May-June 2021 Investec Programmable Banking Hackathon for individuals or teams!

tl;dr - we’re running a hackathon to build cool, simple things with programmable banking and share our ideas and code with each other - try think of what you could build on a Saturday morning or over a few evenings. You should join, alone or with friends. It will be fun - and don’t worry we will help you with ideas!

  1. Register before midnight 28 May 2021 :incoming_envelope:
  2. Join the ideation session at 6.30 pm on 3 June :bulb:
  3. Build a solution before 25 June 2021 :rocket:
  4. See demos and winners announcement on 1 July :tada:

I’m looking forward to seeing what the community comes up with! Please contact me at if you have any questions, happy to help!

What is this hackathon about?

This is a virtual, open and public hackathon. The challenge is to create useful solutions for businesses, using Investec Programmable Banking.

The aim of the event is to promote the development of open-source software and collaboration between the participants for the overall benefit of the community.

You and your team are the credited ‘owners’ of your own ideas, code and content. In the spirit of the hackathon, you are however required to open source your code under the MIT License, see Rules and FAQs for more info.

You can chat to us any time on the Hackathon WhatsApp Group or email us at

Who can participate?


You may participate alone, but we highly recommend working in a team. Don’t have a friend to pair with? Let us know in your application and we will help find someone for you to pair with.

Please note, someone on your team must have access to an Investec Private Bank Account and have Programmable Banking (developer docs here) activated on their account - as you will be required to build a solution that is integrated with it.

When does all this happen?

  • 20 May - Applications to participate open
  • 28 May - Applications to participate close
  • 3 June - Pitch your idea and get feedback at the online Programmable Banking Meetup. Join the Meetup to ideate your idea with others. Participants will be sent a link to submit their final solution.
  • 25 June - Build submissions close.
  • 1 July - Winners announcement and live demos at the online Programmable Banking Meetup.

What to build

Your team should build a solution in the form of an app, integration or system that a business could potentially use to improve its customers’, employees’ or stakeholder’s experience.

It must use Investec Programmable Banking. You may use your personal Investec Private Bank Account and Cards to develop and demonstrate your app.

:bulb: Pro tips:

  • Make sure you understand the Primary Judging Criteria and Bonus Points (below) before coming up with ideas.
  • Focus on the use case - you should be able to explain the problem you are trying to solve, how someone would use your solution and why.
  • Keep it simple. If your solution saves someone 5 minutes a week - that’s a meaningful impact on a real person’s life!
  • Try to find smart workarounds if you’re limited by a platform. Your solution doesn’t need to be rolled out at scale to score well.
  • Ensure it works in production. For example, if you need to demonstrate a payment with a card, use SnapScan and donate R1.00 to a good cause.
  • Steal ideas :smiley:, but credit sources.

If you can’t find a problem to solve, solve one of the following problems:

  • A business wants to prevent invoice fraud.
  • A courier business wants to enable its staff to make purchases on behalf of customers (on-demand buying).
  • A business wants to enable customers who can’t pay at checkout to buy goods on an IOU basis.
  • A travel business wants to create a travel card for their customers that promotes spending at specific airlines, resorts, locations, times etc.
  • An investor wants to give funds to a startup to finance a growth campaign on a specific platform like Facebook Ads.
  • A business is struggling to thank employees for helping one another and wants to issue funds for internal gifting, controllable by the HR team.
  • Developers want to reward teammates for reviewing pull requests in a timely manner.
  • A business that accepts Zapper or SnapScan wants to give a gift card for one of their stores to a customer and accept payment with Zapper or SnapScan.
  • A business wants to ensure employees are spending in environmentally ethical ways but doesn’t know how to track or score the impact of purchases.

If in doubt, ask us for some advice coming up with an idea, we’d be happy to help! Pop us a mail at

If you want to research further, check out the following:

Examples of real business solutions built with Investec Programmable Banking. Please note that you do not need to build something that is as complex as some of these.

Examples of existing tech you can leverage to build a solution:

SnapScan, Zapper, Paystack, Sage, Xero, Wave, Freshbooks, Slack, WhatsApp, Zapier, IFTTT, Microsoft Flow, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Vuforia, Google vision, Microsoft Computer Vision API, OpenCV.

Qualifying to participate by 3 June

To qualify to participate in the hackathon you need to do the following:

  • Complete the application form by midnight, 28 May.
  • Pitch your application idea at the online Programmable Banking Join the ideation session at the Meetup on 3 June, You can use this template to ideate your idea.

Every applicant who pitches at the meetup will become a qualified applicant and get an OfferZen T Shirt!

Submitting your final solution by 25 June

We will provide qualified applicants with instructions on how to submit final solutions.

Each submission must include:

  • An app/system solution that is used with Investec Programmable Card and/or the Investec Open API.
  • Open source code repo and documentation/ guide for setting up your solution under the MIT License.
  • Two-minute video live demo of your solution showing how a user would use it and showcasing how it helps them.

Winners and Live Demos on 1 July

Winners will be announced at the Programmable Banking Meetup at 6:30 pm on 1 July.

NB! To qualify as a winner each team is required to perform a live demo of how their solution works and answer questions from the audience 10 minutes or less, at the Programmable Banking Meetup at 6:30 pm on 1 July. We will let winners know by 30 June that they have won so they can prepare for the demo.

If no one from a winning team attends the meetup and demos their solution, that team will forfeit and the runner up will be awarded their winnings - please carefully read “Forfeit of winning teams” in the Rules section.

Winner Prizes

  • 1st Prize: R30 000
  • 2nd Prize: R15 000
  • 3rd Prize: R10 000
  • 4th Prize: R5 000
  • 5th Prize: R3 000

Please see “Winners and Live Demos on 1 July” above, “Prizes for winning teams” and “Forfeit of winning teams” under Rules below for more info.

Participant Prizes

Everyone who is part of a team that submits a working solution will receive an OfferZen Swag prize!

Primary Judging Criteria

Each criterion will be awarded up to 5 points by each judge.

  1. Quality of the idea: simplicity, creativity and originality of the idea.
  2. Potential strategic impact: potential for improving user’s lives.
  3. Implementation of the idea: ease of use, documentation and source code.

Bonus Points

Each judge may issue up to 2 bonus points for each of the following criteria. These points are issued at the discretion of the judge.

  1. Building on top of a Programmable Banking community project.
  2. Making your submission fun.
  3. Getting a real business/user to test or use your solution.
  4. Leveraging/integrating with existing technologies in a smart way.
  5. Creating a landing page and waiting list for your solution.


  1. IP Ownership - your submission is subject to the Investec Programmable Banking Terms and Conditions. It is a requirement of the hackathon to open source your submission under the MIT License.
  2. Things we didn’t think of - SPOILER ALERT! we are humans. The OfferZen Community Management Team will try to be as fair and inclusive as possible. We nevertheless reserve the right to have the final say at our own discretion in unforeseen circumstances. Please email us regarding any issues you think we have missed:
  3. Prizes for winning teams - the full prize amount will be deposited into the selected bank account supplied by the winning team’s Team Lead. Teams are responsible for dividing prizes amongst themselves.
  4. Forfeit of winning teams - if a winning team does not present their solution at the Winners and Demos Meetup on 1 July 2021, winnings (both position and prize) will be forfeited and given to a runner up. Exceptions may be made under extenuating circumstances and at the discretion of the OfferZen Community Management team.
  5. Disqualification - you may be disqualified and forfeit any prizes you may be eligible to receive if OfferZen or Investec reasonably believes that you have not complied with, or attempted to undermine the legitimate operation of the Programmable Banking Hackathon.
  6. Judges scoring - judges will issue points and bonus points for submissions completely at their discretion and are not required to provide explanations for their scoring.


  • How many people can be on my team? Can I enter alone?
    • You may enter alone and there is no limit to team size.
  • Can I apply more than once?
    • You may apply as many times as you want - but each application needs to be accompanied by a unique submission. We reserve the right to reject any application and will probably ask you to rather focus on one submission and make it really good.
  • Can I be part of multiple teams?
    • You may be part of many teams.
  • I don’t have programmable banking, can I participate?
    • You may participate but will need to get access to an account either by opening one, getting permission to access one from an account holder, or working in a team with someone who does have access. You can find out more about opening an account and getting access to programmable banking here: Programmable banking for software developers.
    • An Investec Private Bank account holder will need to get Programmable Banking activated on their account by asking their Investec Private Banker.
  • What happens after the hackathon?
    • Teams will be asked to present technical demos of their solutions at future Programmable Banking Community Meetups.
    • Teams may be asked to present demos to Investec stakeholders or Investec Business clients that are interested in their solution.
    • OfferZen may reach out to you about publishing your solution pitch and demo on the OfferZen Blog to expose it to the companies and developers that use OfferZen.
  • Can you put me in touch with businesses that have problems they want solved?
  • Can you help me get started or answer my questions?
  • Who owns the legal rights to my idea or solution/ can anyone ‘steal’ my idea?

Firstly: awesome!

Secondly, there’s some good inspiration here: Will these 10 ideas help tackle life after COVID-19?