21 October 2015 – Fourth year Electronic Commerce student Choo Yan Sheng and his teammates won first place at the Super Heroes vs Master Hackers hackathon in New York City, USA, early this month. Yan Sheng, who is in the NUS Overseas College (NOC) New York programme, teamed up with fellow NOC students from Business School, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Yale-NUS, as well as a Business School alumnus.

Super Heroes vs Master Hackers was a 36-hour fintech hackathon hosted by Rise New York, Barclay’s Accelerator and Innovation Hub. Contestants were challenged to solve some of the real business challenges faced by financial services businesses and develop ideas for the future of banking.

Yan Sheng’s team, By-Work, competed in the ‘Land of Lost Identity’ category in which contestants were required to create ‘the digital identity of the future’ for people who cannot access financial services because they lack conventional forms of personal identification. “We developed an alternate financial credit identity profile system which calculates the alternate credit score based on a person’s employment records from various sources, such as their LinkedIn profile and employment data from their company system, and creates a financial credit profile for international expats coming to United States to work for the first time. This enables them to have a faster access to financial products and services without a Social Security Number or FICO credit score (a measure score of credit risk) when they first arrive in the U.S,” Yan Sheng explained.

“The experience was fascinating. My team and I were so excited about the win and some of us were quite shocked that we managed to win despite the tough competition in this category. I think the most memorable moment was when we presented our demo prototype; we managed to impress the judges and audience through a sense of humor and surprise which excited them throughout our 2-minute of the presentation. I think we made a clear illustration of values and benefits in our demo presentation which addressed the challenges of financial credit identity correctly,” he added.

Yan Sheng and his team won a cash prize of US$2500.00 for topping their category, and some nerf guns for having the best team name.