A behind-the-scenes look at the SIBS challenge – Part 1
Our team traveled to Portugal to participate in the SIBS PAYFORWARD event. It was a beautiful week in Lisbon, the cool, crisp air coming off the ocean seemed to revive and refresh my jet-lagged body. I enjoyed strolling through the streets and seeing the many antique flea-market-style tents that had everything from old currency, toys, pipes, plates, and other household items that you normally do not see in the United States. The food was delicious, the steaks and seafood were plentiful, and the prices were very reasonable. The people of Lisbon were great too, as we found plenty of help when needing directions or translation.
Another Golden Gate Bridge?
We were really surprised to see another Golden Gate Bridge over the river, as we didn’t realize there was another bridge like this outside of San Francisco. We also noticed a similar statue to The Redeemer statue in Brazil. There were numerous boats, cruise ships, and ferries up and down the Tagus River and out into the Atlantic.
Checking out Portugal
One of the first places we visited was the Torre de Belem or Tower of Bethlehem, a beautiful old castle that sat right on the shore of the Tagus River. This is one of the more famous monuments of Lisbon and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This tower was constructed during the early 16th century, so it was fascinating to see such history still standing.
When you think of all the history of these places and you think of all the amazing innovation that has happened since these buildings were constructed, it makes you really understand how far our world has come. And in the financial realm, in particular, few organizations understand advancement and innovation better than SIBS.
SIBS (Sociedade Interbancária de Serviços S.A.) is a network of 27 banks in Portugal and is the largest interbank network of ATMs. Multibanco is the brand that is known throughout Portugal and their ATMs are everywhere you go.
SIBS does not just have the most ATMs, but they offer the most services as well, with features like bill pay, mobile banking, and even highway- and bridge-toll paying. This is why, when Crowdz was introduced to SIBS’ Pay Forward Innovation program, we were excited to apply. Numerous startups applied to this program and so it was even more exciting to learn that Crowdz had been selected to participate.
SIBS has a three-part program that kicks off with an initial introduction from the startups, with the startups given three minutes to explain their solution to SIBS. SIBS then chooses the different departments that will be working with the startups to create a demo at the end of the week on how the startup can work with SIBS. The exciting part of this stage was that there were more SIBS employees that wanted to work with Crowdz than with any of the other startups.
The following day we boarded a bus that took us out to a mostly industrial section of Lisbon. Here we were able to tour the SIBS operations center, where we saw their customer service center and ATM servicing and met one-on-one with each department that wanted to work with us. All in all, we were very impressed with all of the services that SIBS provides.
So how did Crowdz do overall in this program? Check out the next article in this three-part series to see what happened!