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Space for the Financial World – 4th CASSINI Hackathon Belgium

How reaching for the stars helped the financial sector

From 4 till 6 November 2022, the EY wavespace transformed into a “hacking space” for the 4th CASSINI Hackathon. The European Commission and the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) launched the Competitive Space Startups for Innovation Initiative (CASSINI) in 2021 aiming to support space entrepreneurship for a digital and sustainable Europe. Each hackathon took place simultaneously & virtually across 10 different locations. This edition challenged teams to combine SpaceTech with FinTech and deliver a practical solution to prosper the financial world. The purpose is to apply spatial data in a variety of sectors.

Keynote Frank De Winne

For an intense 3 days, teams of developers, entrepreneurs and creatives worked together to develop their best idea and turn it into a viable business pitch. They generated ideas around green investments, financial tools, and global financial intelligence. Frank De Winne, Belgium’s second person in space, and head of the European Astronaut Centre of the European Space Agency in Cologne, stimulated participants with an inspirational talk about the Low Earth Orbit Economy.

Afterward, the teams ideated and developed their ideas with the assistance of financial experts Erik Van Der Straeten and Louis Alen. Spatial expertise was provided by Steven Krekels, Wim Lahaye, and Vital Schreurs. Finally, with the help of Johnny Waterschoot and Jan De Clippeleer, they were able to pitch their solution in front of the jury.

The Local winners

The Belgian teams presented their project in front of the jury, which included FSO partner Yannick Grécourt. They were evaluated on relevance to the topic, innovativeness, and ability to pitch. The winning team received €3500 worth of mentorship to advance their idea. Additionally, they were given the chance to compete against the local winners of the nine other participating European countries.

The two projects with the most potential were:

  • Power Map
  • EPC

Power Map (formerly GGIPPSI) is a tool to find, qualify, quantify, and prioritize green investing opportunities. It identifies unused land which has the potential to be used as solar farms. The former name GGIPPSI is an abbreviation for “Generic Green investment planner for professionals using satellite imagery” which describes the purpose as well as the target audience of the tool.

The goal of EPC is to use space/satellite data and imagery to improve the mathematical models that underpin the sustainability reporting of banks that have legacy assets e.g. mortgages on private and commercial buildings which do not have a detailed EPC certificate yet.

Though both ideas had great potential, the jury elected Power Map as the winner of the 4th CASSINI hackathon. Their idea forms an answer to an increasingly relevant financial problem with an eye for sustainability and therefore they were voted to go to the final round.

The European Contest

Team Power Map had the opportunity to pitch their idea in front of the European expert jury and compete against the 9 other local winners. The competition was fierce and unfortunately, they did not make it on the winning stage.

Slovenia won the 4th CASSINI hackathon and therefore landed the first prize of 100-hour mentoring. Their project BugBite is a risk analysis platform for insurance companies. Based on satellite images insurance companies can empower landowners by providing prediction, early recognition, and alerting of bark beetle outbreaks. Congratulations on this innovative idea!

If you want to get a glimpse of the atmosphere during the hackathon, find the aftermovie here:

Co-creating the future, together

EY wavespace™ is an innovation center, where companies find support and guidance in innovation projects. The center is specially designed to stimulate creativity and cooperation between different parties. In other words, the perfect location for this hackathon. At the Antwerp wavespace, we’re all about open innovation, helping big and small companies to innovate together. If you’re looking to kickstart your company’s innovation trajectory, click here.