PayU GPO Hackathon – Revolutionizing Fintech

Inside the PayU GPO Hackathon on Generative AI.

In the digital heartbeat of fintech innovation, PayU GPO’s recent internal coding competition Hackathon on Generative AI not only echoed the company’s culture of creativity but also signaled a new era of financial technology. This pivotal event, a veritable symphony of code and concepts, was a testament to the transformative power of Generative AI in the fintech sector. Over two electrifying days, teams across the globe converged virtually to ignite passion and push the boundaries of what’s possible in our industry. Furthermore, The PayU GPO Hackathon received invaluable support from AWS – from Gen AI expert sessions to providing the teams with access to AWS Bedrock, which helped streamline development and foster quick progress. 


Table of contents:


The Spark of Innovation: Goals and Aspirations 

Teams and Talent: Global Collaboration for Local Impact

Thematic Tracks: Pathways to Transformation

The Road Ahead: Sustaining a Culture of Innovation



The Spark of Innovation: Goals and Aspirations

Goal 1: A Renaissance of Passion and Culture 

Innovation doesn’t spark in a vacuum—it thrives in environments where passion and culture collide. The first goal of the Hackathon@GPO was to create a renaissance within the organization—a revival of the drive and enthusiasm that is often the bedrock of groundbreaking ideas. By bringing together minds enthralled by the potential of Generative AI, the Hackathon became a crucible for creativity. This energy rippled through the company, fostering a culture that embraces experimentation and continuous improvement. 


Goal 2: An Enhanced Offering Through Generative AI 


The second goal was to not just integrate but harness the power of Generative AI to revolutionize our product offerings. The aim was to explore the realms of personalized financial tools, fraud detection algorithms, automated customer service enhancements, advanced risk management systems, and predictive market analytics. These tools promise to empower our merchants and stakeholders, providing them with solutions that are as intuitive as they are innovative. 


Allied Innovations: Forging Progress with AWS 


In the vanguard of innovation, aligning with powerful allies can amplify our pursuit of progress. Our collaboration with AWS became the linchpin in accelerating our ambitions for the PayU GPO Hackathon, furnishing our teams with advanced workshops and crucial technological insights. The initiative commenced with a workshop in Israel, tailored to impart the essence of Generative AI through hands-on creation of demo applications, comprehending pivotal concepts from chatbots to prompt engineering—all crafted for visionaries irrespective of their prior data science prowess. 


The workshop was a revelation, enlightening us on the critical infrastructure required to catalyze the inception of our PayU GPO Hackathon ventures. It paved the way for Jarvis, our internally devised framework, engineered to balance the privacy of our organizational data with the might of robust AI models. Jarvis harnesses Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG), a methodology that respects data confidentiality while utilizing AI’s acumen. It’s about smart integration—vectorizing data, contextual retrieval before prompts, and ensuring a continuity of interaction for chat functionalities. 


To bolster development agility and maximize creative exploration, Jarvis was seamlessly integrated with AWS Bedrock. It provisioned our innovators with ready-to-use chat and RAG functionalities, dispensing with the need to construct these systems from the ground up. Thus, teams were empowered to immerse themselves in their projects from the outset, concentrating on devising transformative business solutions. The comprehensive workshops provided by AWS, conducted in both English and Spanish, were not merely cursory overviews. These extensive, in-depth sessions delved into the intricate details of Generative AI, equipping the teams with a robust bedrock of knowledge and practical skills. They ensured a full spectrum of proficiency across all the necessary domains, laying the groundwork for innovation and empowering participants with the confidence and tools to pioneer solutions for the dynamic world of fintech. 

Teams and Talent: Global Collaboration for Local Impact

A Tapestry of Talent 


The hackathon drew a tapestry of talent—280 PayUneers competing across 60 teams, with representation from Israel & Africa, LATAM, and CEE. The diversity was striking: 43% from LATAM, 33% from CEE, and 25% from Israel and Africa, with a majority from engineering disciplines, yet also encompassing product, data, commercial, operations, finance, security, legal, marketing, and internal communication sectors. This eclectic mix ensured a plethora of ideas—139 to be exact—each one challenging the status quo. 


Building Bridges Between Disciplines 

What set this Hackathon apart was the structural design aimed at democratizing innovation. It wasn’t just for the tech-savvy coder but was an inclusive battlefield for anyone with an idea, regardless of their role. The strategy was simple yet profound: encourage a cross-pollination of ideas across departments to ensure a holistic approach to innovation. Teams organically formed, shaped by a shared vision rather than hierarchical structures, to pitch their ideas. The regional semi-finals were a celebration of diversity, setting the stage for the finals where the best from each track went head-to-head, judged by both public voting and leadership teams. The evaluation of these innovative solutions was multi-dimensional, taking into account Innovation (20%), Technical Solution Quality (15%), Impact (15%), AI integration (15%), Feasibility (15%), Presentation and Clarity (10%), and Fundamental Problem Solving (10%). This comprehensive set of criteria ensured that the ideas not only showcased creative ingenuity but also held the potential for real-world application and transformation within the fintech industry. 

Hackathon - who is compiting

Thematic Tracks: Pathways to Transformation

Operational Excellence 

The Operational Excellence track was a clarion call for efficiency and customer-centric innovation. Participants delved into how to leverage AI to streamline processes, cut down on unnecessary overhead, and minimize risk—all while enhancing the customer experience in unprecedented ways. 


Standardize, Simplify, Automate 

In the Standardize, Simplify, Automate track, teams deconstructed existing operations to rebuild them better. The focus was on identifying opportunities where the standardization of processes and automation could significantly increase efficiency and reduce human error. 


Overachieve Commercial Targets

Finally, the Overachieve Commercial Targets track was where ambition met innovation. Teams were tasked with developing solutions that not only met but exceeded commercial expectations, aiming to reduce customer churn, improve satisfaction, and introduce new revenue-generating initiatives. 

Success Stories: Breakthroughs and Implementations 

As the PayU GPO Hackathon concluded, the brilliance of innovation shone through the mosaic of competitive ideas. From the relentless pursuit of operational excellence to the strategic ingenuity in commercial targets, the event heralded a new epoch for fintech solutions. Equally impressive were the second and third place contenders across all tracks, who brought their own blend of creativity and expertise to the table, making the decision-making process a challenging yet rewarding experience. 

Here’s an in-depth overview of the first-place winning ideas from the PayU GPO Hackathon, each demonstrating groundbreaking innovations aimed at transforming the fintech landscape through strategic integration of Generative AI. 


Operational Excellence Champion – PayU Seek and Solve Bot

Leading the vanguard of operational innovation, the PayU Seek and Solve Bot, conceived by a team of five visionary developers, stands as a beacon of proactive ingenuity in the fintech space. This AI-driven powerhouse choreographs a complex dance of algorithms and data to offer real-time, interactive support that significantly enhances the user experience and simplifies the developer integration journey. It heralds a new era of operational efficiency, transforming the way developers and end-users engage with PayU’s ecosystem. 


The bot’s proof of concept envisions an AI companion that not only aids in navigating the complexities of integration with PayU but also serves as a guide through the labyrinth of best practices. It invites users into a dynamic dialogue, providing them with the opportunity to delve deeper through follow-up inquiries and receive tailored advice. This interactive approach ensures that each user’s experience is as informative as it is engaging. 


At its core, the PayU Seek and Solve Bot is engineered with several ambitious objectives: to elevate operational efficiency by dramatically reducing the volume of support calls, thereby freeing up essential resources; to refine the developer experience through precise and clear integration instructions; and to amplify PayU’s visibility and presence in the market. To achieve these goals, the bot leverages an extensive repository of internal data sources—including technical documentation, customer service knowledge bases, insightful blog posts, and detailed report data from PayU. 


This innovative solution embodies the spirit of the Hackathon competition, showcasing how creative thinking and AI technology can converge to solve practical challenges, streamline complex processes, and unlock new opportunities for both PayU and its community of users. 

Hackathon - Winners for Operational Excellence

Pioneering in Standardization and Automation – PayU Connect 

PayU Connect emerges as a pioneering force in the realm of standardization and automation, setting a new benchmark as a singular, comprehensive interface that unifies PayU’s extensive offerings. This platform, celebrated for its standalone ingenuity, offers a user-centric design that epitomizes the zenith of fintech interaction. With PayU Connect, navigating the myriad of PayU features becomes not just intuitive but an immersive journey that captivates and informs users at every turn. 


Imagine a platform meticulously crafted to aggregate all PayU services, meticulously organized by category for unparalleled ease of access. Users are invited to explore this curated landscape, where each feature is not only listed but accompanied by detailed summaries that illuminate their utility and application. This careful arrangement transforms the exploration of PayU’s functionalities into a discovery of possibilities, where each feature is a story waiting to be told. 


At the heart of PayU Connect is the revolutionary capability to craft customized pitches in moments, with just a few clicks. This tool empowers users to handpick the most relevant features for a specific merchant, weaving together a narrative that resonates with their unique needs and opportunities. It’s this ability to personalize and contextualize PayU’s offerings that elevates PayU Connect beyond a mere platform—it becomes a dynamic instrument for strategic upselling. 


By harnessing the latest and most refined features, PayU Connect not only simplifies the upsell process but enriches it, ensuring that every interaction with merchants is as meaningful and productive as possible. This winning idea from the Hackathon competition embodies a leap forward in how financial technology can enhance user experience, streamline processes, and unlock new avenues for growth and collaboration. 

Hackathon - Winners for Standardize, Simplify and Automate

Commercial Target Overachievers – Boost Your Credit Sales 

On the commercial battlefield, the triumphant strategy to elevate credit sales emerged as a vibrant demonstration of AI’s revolutionary impact on sales methodologies. The inventive collaboration of machine learning and acute market analysis by the victorious team has given rise to a refined instrument. This tool doesn’t merely attune to the market’s fluctuations—it tailors interactions with merchants, paving the way for a boost in sales performance and a substantial enhancement in gross margin. 


Harnessing the robust capabilities of ML and AI, this winning solution focuses on revitalizing the sales dynamics within the SMB portfolio. It meticulously sifts through extensive transaction data, segmenting it by merchant profile, scrutinizing e-shop content, and integrating insights from prevailing market trends and seasonal offerings. This comprehensive analysis births finely tuned, ready-to-implement monthly prompts specifically designed for each merchant, transforming data into actionable intelligence. 


The ambition driving this innovative tool is multifaceted: to amplify sales figures for merchants, to encourage the adoption and growth of credit payment methods amongst active accounts, and to significantly uplift the gross margin. This strategy not only aims to foster a more lucrative sales environment but also to engender a more profound, data-driven understanding of the marketplace. 


This victory in the Hackathon contest showcases a forward-thinking approach where AI and ML are not just tools but partners in crafting strategies that resonate deeply with merchant needs and market opportunities. By bringing to life a solution that dynamically adapts to the evolving sales landscape, this initiative marks a significant leap towards redefining the efficacy and intelligence of sales strategies in the fintech domain. 

Hackathon - Winners for Overachieve Commercial Targets

From Concepts to Reality 

Beyond the intellectual fervor of PayU GPO’s Hackathon, the true victory lies in the translation of these concepts into tangible realities. With AWS’s unyielding support, these ideas have escaped the confines of the drawing board, setting a brisk pace towards impactful implementations that promise to reshape the fintech landscape.


Yet, the journey from ideation to execution was sweetened by more than just the prospect of innovation. The thrill of seeing one’s creation take form is profound, and with prizes that stir the soul—such as the iPhone 15 for the champions, the PlayStation 5 for the runners-up, and the Sony WH-1000XM headphones for the worthy third—PayU GPO Hackathon did more than just incentivize creativity; it celebrated it. These prizes, though delightful, pale in comparison to the broader business implications of these projects—foretelling an era where fintech solutions are not just imagined but lived and experienced. 

Hackathon - Winners picture

The Road Ahead: Sustaining a Culture of Innovation

In the upcoming quarter, we’re transforming our Hackathon@GPO concepts into reality, crafting tangible products that redefine efficiency and elevate customer experiences. 


As we embark on the next chapter post-Hackathon@GPO, we’re not just iterating on concepts; we’re sculpting them into revolutionary products that promise to recalibrate what efficiency and customer service mean in the fintech realm. This transformation is headlined by the pioneering AI-driven knowledge bot, which stands ready to arm our users with immediate access to essential insights—fueling effective sales strategies, seamless product integration, and precisely curated recommendations to exceed our customers’ aspirations. 


Our sights are set on introducing an AI-enhanced platform too, specifically designed to bolster our commercial team’s ability to pinpoint and capitalize on merchant-centric opportunities, thereby nurturing successful and enduring partnerships. 


The Hackathon’s legacy is profound, stretching well beyond the initial burst of competitive spirit—it has reinvigorated our commitment to innovation, which now courses reinvigorated through the veins of PayU GPO’s culture. The triumphs of the event have cemented a solid groundwork, envisioning a future where the seeds of today’s ideas bloom into the operational norms of tomorrow, propelling constant evolution and redefining the benchmarks of our industry. 


As we navigate forward, PayU GPO stands resolute in its mission to blend these solutions seamlessly into our ecosystem and to champion a culture where innovation doesn’t just spark intermittently but flourishes continuously. It’s about cultivating the fertile ground of this Hackathon’s legacy, ensuring that each seedling of creativity is tenderly fostered. Moreover, it’s about embracing a vision expansive enough to include every PayUneer, empowering every individual to weave their thread into the grand tapestry of our collective innovation story. 


The Hackathon@GPO has been a microcosm of the transformative potential of Generative AI in fintech. It has rekindled the passion within our teams, created new connections, and spawned solutions that stand to redefine our industry. The success stories of the event are a testament to the synergy of human ingenuity and AI’s capabilities. This event wasn’t just about the winning ideas; it was about setting a precedent for what we as a company can achieve. 


As we look back on this event with pride, we also look forward with anticipation to the innovations that will stem from this experience. We invite our global community to continue engaging with us on this exciting journey, as we explore new horizons and redefine what’s possible in the world of fintech. 


We are just at the beginning of the AI revolution in fintech, and PayU GPO is leading the charge with dedication, vision, and an unyielding passion for excellence.