Final Round

Final Round


This web page covers everything you need to know for the final round of assessment for the Open Up Challenge (you can download a printable version here). Use it as your ‘single source of truth’ when preparing for assessment. While we don’t expect to make changes to the documentation, except the FAQs section in response to any questions you raise, we will of course let you know (by email) if we do make any updates. The documentation covers:

  1. snapshot overview
  2. prize fund
  3. assessment process
  4. assessment criteria
  5. eligibility / terms & conditions
  6. FAQs

We encourage Challenge Finalists to get in touch with any questions or feedback. Please contact Andrea Richardson and Harry Atkinson.  

1. Snapshot
  • The Challenge will award five or six prizes worth at least £200k each. The total prize pot is worth £1.3m, meaning the Judges do have discretion to make some Awards above £200k. But bottom line, if you win a Prize Award, you’ll win at least £200k.
  • You’ll be assessed across three categories. These three categories apply to all tracks and carry equal weight. The categories are… Impact: what value will your product create for its UK small business users, and how does this compare to the existing solutions available to them?... User Acquisition: what portion of your addressable market is currently using your product, and how much do you expect that to grow by the end of 2019?... Commercial Model: is your product backed by a sustainable commercial model?
  • You’ll be assessed relative to the specific assessment criteria for the track you entered when you were accepted as a Challenge Finalist (BCA Track, Credit Track or New Frontiers Track).
  • The Judges and Interview Panel will be looking for evidence to back up your claims. The more direct evidence you can provide to support your claims regarding impact, user acquisition and commercial model, the better.
  • You’ll need to provide a written Product Note (and complete a Cover Sheet) by Friday 12 October (5pm). This must be at maximum two sides of A4. You can supplement the Product Note with optional presentation slides or a video (maximum five minutes to read/watch) for the Judges to review ahead of pitching day.
  • You’ll do a single interview (in private) with a panel of three industry experts in November.
  • You’ll pitch your product (in private) to the Judges for maximum 25 minutes on Wednesday 14 November (maximum 10 minutes to present, maximum 15 minutes of Q&A). You can choose to show presentation slides and/or a video during the pitch. The presentation slides and/or video can be different to the optional presentation slides or video you may have submitted alongside your Product Note. But remember that you will have a maximum 10 minutes to present to the Judges. If you choose to show a video during your pitch, this will consume time from your allotted 10 minutes.
  • You’ll go through some financial and tech reviews in October. The purpose of these reviews is to identify any significant risks or uncertainties that should be brought to the attention of the Judges.
  • The Judges will have the final say in the Awards. Their decision is final and binding.
2. Prize Fund

The total prize pot of £1.3m will be awarded among five or six teams, with each Prize Award worth at least £200k. So if you win a Prize Award, you’ll win at least £200k. All Prize Awards are equity-free and non-repayable. You'll retain full control of your intellectual property. You will be assessed relative to the track you entered when you were accepted as a Challenge Finalist.

  • BCA Track. Of the three Finalists in this Track, at least one team will receive a Prize Award.
  • Credit Track. Of the four Finalists in this Track, at least one team will receive a Prize Award.
  • New Frontiers Track. Of the five Finalists in this Track, at least one team will receive a Prize Award.
  • Special Note. At least three Prize Awards will be awarded across the BCA and Credit tracks. At least one Prize Award will be awarded to a product or service enabling comparison of overdrafts.
3. Assessment Process

The assessment process will respect your time while getting Judges the information they need to make Prize Awards, based on the assessment criteria. Please read the information below carefully. All deadlines are non-negotiable. Please send all documents that we request to Andrea Richardson.

3.1 Timeline

Below is a summary of the deadlines you need to meet. Make sure you read all the documentation for a full understanding of each item.

  • Monday 1 October 2018. You will receive a Tech Review Questionnaire as part of your Tech Review. (NB: the Financial Review Form is already available - see the Financial Review section).
  • Friday 12 October (5pm). Deadline to submit your Product Note and Cover Sheet (both of which are compulsory). Deadline to send your optional presentation slides or video (you don’t have to provide supplementary slides or a video, but if you do, it should be maximum five minutes to read or watch). Deadline to send your completed Tech Review Questionnaire, Financial Review Form and accompanying financial documents as part of your Tech Review and Financial Review (compulsory).
  • 31 October or 2 November. Your 30 min interview session with our three person Interview Panel will take place on one of these days (compulsory).
  • 14 November. All pitches to the Judges will take place on this day. You will have 25 minutes to pitch to the Judges and answer their questions. This breaks down as follows: you have a maximum of 10 minutes for your presentation; the Judges will then have a maximum of 15 minutes to ask you questions.
  • Early December. We will announce the five or six Prize Winners.

3.2 Product Note / Cover Sheet

  • You will need to send a short Product Note (maximum two sides of A4). You will also need to complete a short Cover Sheet.
  • Each team will receive an identical Cover Sheet. The Cover Sheet will do two things. First, it will ask you to affirm whether you have fulfilled, or will fulfill, some key assessment/eligibility criteria. Second, it will ask you to explain whether you are using UK retail banks’ open banking APIs, or using an alternative solution to access data which could otherwise be accessed via the open banking APIs. While we expect all teams to be using the types of data covered by the UK open banking standards, we will not penalise teams who are using alternative solutions to the open banking APIs to actually access that data, provided they can demonstrate that they have reached an informed decision that the alternative solution better serves their business and user needs. See the FAQ ‘Do we have to be using the open banking APIs’; if you have any questions, do contact the Open Up team to discuss.
  • In the Product Note (maximum two sides of A4) you will need to address all three assessment categories - Impact, User Acquisition and Commercial Model. You may wish to use these headings to structure your Note. The purpose of the Product Note is to summarise the progress you have made, and your anticipated future progress, relative to the three assessment categories.
  • Your Product Note / Cover Sheet will be read by the three person Interview Panel, our Tech Review partner and by the Judges.
  • You will need to submit your Product Note and Cover Sheet by Friday 12 October (5pm).

3.3 Optional Presentation Slides or Video

  • You have the option of supplementing your Product Note with presentation slides or a video, for the Judges to review ahead of pitching day.
  • Unlike the Product Note, the presentation slides or video are not compulsory.
  • The Judges will spend a maximum of five minutes reviewing your supplementary presentation slides or video. Please send either slides or a video, but not both. It’s fine if you want to embed a GIF in your slides demonstrating your product in action.
  • Your supplementary slides or video (if you send one) will be seen by the three person Interview Panel, our tech review partner and by the Judges ahead of pitching day.
  • Please note that even if you choose to send supplementary presentation slides or a video alongside your Product Note, you will still be able to show presentation slides and/or a video during your pitch to the Judges. The presentation slides and/or video you show during your pitch can different to the optional presentation slides or video you may have submitted alongside your Product Note. But remember that you will have a maximum 10 minutes to present to the Judges. If you choose to show a video during your pitch, this will consume time from your allotted 10 minutes.
  • You will need to send the optional presentation slides or video (if you choose to submit anything) by Friday 12 October (5pm).

3.4 Financial and Tech Reviews

Our external partners will undertake financial and tech reviews. The purpose of these reviews is to identify any substantial risks or uncertainties that should be brought to the attention of the Judges. The Judges will have the final say in the Awards.

Financial Review

  • The financial health review will consider whether there are financial reasons you may not be able to continue developing and deploying your product in 2019 and beyond. The Financial Review partner will report to the Judges any such risks that they discover. But they will also report whether they have received enough information to reasonably assess the financial risks to your business. Both types of note - “we discovered these risks” or “we did not receive enough information to assess the risks” could affect the Judges’ decision. We therefore encourage you to provide as much of the information below as possible.
  • You’ll need to complete this Financial Review Form and return it by Friday 12 October (5pm).
  • As well as completing the Financial Review Form, you’ll be asked to provide as many of the following financial documents as you’re able: latest financial statements; last 12 months monthly management accounts (profit / loss statements, balance sheet, cash flow); 2019 forecast (including profit / loss statement, balance sheet, cash flow); details of key financial obligations and capital expenditure for the next 12 months; and details of current committed financing facilities and cash at hand.
  • Our financial review partner will not receive access to your original application form, your Product Note / Cover Sheet or your optional presentation deck or video.
  • The financial health review will be undertaken by BDO.

Tech Review

  • The tech review will consider whether there are technological factors that could impede your ability to deliver against the three assessment categories of Impact, User Acquisition and Commercial Model.
  • You will be asked to complete a Tech Review Questionnaire, and you may receive some follow-up questions via phone. You will receive the form 1 October.
  • Our tech review partner will receive access to your original application, your Product Note / Cover Sheet, and your optional presentation slides or video (if submitted).
  • The tech review will be undertaken by The Rain Gods

3.5 Interviews

  • You will undertake a single interview with a panel of three industry experts. The interview will last for 30 minutes. The Interview Panel’s role is to send scores and notes to the Judges, highlighting your strengths and flagging areas of weakness or uncertainty where the Judges may want to question you further.
  • The interview will be held at the Nesta offices on either 31 October or 2 November. Each team has been sent the date/time for their slot. You may bring up to three people from your team to join the interview. If your team is based outside London, we'll cover reasonable travel costs (pre-agreed with the Challenge) for team members travelling long distances, or alternatively you may request a video conference option to conduct the interview remotely.
  • The three members of the Interview Panel are: Dave Birch, an author, advisor and commentator on digital financial services; Tara Reeves, a partner at VC firm LocalGlobe; and Tunde Olanrewaju, a senior McKinsey partner and leads Digital McKinsey in the UK.
    In addition to Dave, Tara and Tunde, Chris Gorst, who as you know has been leading the Open Up Challenge, will join the interview sessions. Chris will primarily be observing, but may ask questions to ensure the Judges receive the information they need to make an informed decision. He will not provide scores or recommendations to the Judges.
  • Ahead of the interview, the interviewers will receive a sub-set of the answers in your original application form, your Product Note / Cover Sheet, your supplementary presentation slides or video (if you provide one), and the notes from your Tech Review. You may not display presentation slides or a video during the interview.
  • The interview will not follow a strict format. It is at the discretion of the interviewers to decide what questions to ask in order to best obtain the information and insight they need to brief the Judges. You will be asked questions relevant to three assessment criteria categories (Impact, User Acquisition and Commercial Model). See the assessment criteria for your track.
  • There is one caveat to the above. All teams will be asked the same opening question at the start of the interview, which will be: “Why should your company win an Open Up Challenge prize award?” Please keep your answer to two minutes or less.
  • Your team may send up to three people to the interview. It is entirely at your discretion who from your team to bring. Keep in mind though that, individually or collectively, the colleagues who join should be able to speak to all three assessment criteria categories.
  • Each interviewer will score you in each of the three assessment categories (Impact, User Acquisition and Commercial Model). We will send these scores to the Judges, along with a short note from each interviewer. The short note will highlight your strengths and flag areas of weakness or uncertainty where the Judges may want to question you further.

3.6 Pitch

  • You will have maximum 25 minutes to pitch to the Judges and answer their questions. This breaks down as follows: you have a maximum of 10 minutes for your presentation; the Judges will then have a maximum of 15 minutes to ask you questions.
  • All of the pitches will take place on 14 November at the Digital Catapult centre in London (101 Euston Rd, Kings Cross, NW1 2RA). We will be in touch to arrange your slot. You may bring up to two people to the pitch. If your team is based outside London, we'll cover reasonable travel costs (pre-agreed with the Challenge) for up to two team members travelling long distances. (Please note that there is no video conference option; all pitches must take place in person.)
  • The Judges have broad discretion to choose what questions to ask you. It is also at the Judges’ discretion how many questions to ask you (if any).
  • Your team may send up to two people to the pitch. It is entirely at your discretion who from your team to bring to the pitch. Keep in mind though that, individually or collectively, the colleagues who join should be able to speak to all three assessment criteria categories.
  • The Judges will receive your original application form, your Product Note / Cover Sheet, your supplementary presentation slides or video (if you provide one), and the notes from the Interview Panel, Tech Review and Financial Review, ahead of the pitch.
  • The Judges will assess you holistically against the assessment criteria for your Track. The Judges will have the final say in the Awards and their decision is binding.
  • The Judges, and their biographies, are provided on this page.
  • Please note that one or two representatives from the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) may observe the pitching day. These representatives will in no way participate in or influence the judging process. The Open Up Challenge is backed by the CMA as part of its package of retail banking remedies.
4. Assessment Criteria

When reviewing the assesment criteria, keep in mind that:

  • We use ‘product’ as a shorthand for whatever it is that you are developing and bringing to market. But we welcome all types of offerings - products, services, platforms, marketplaces, infrastructure etc - provided they create value for UK small businesses.
  • We use ‘small businesses’ as shorthand for UK Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) with an annual turnover of less than £6.5m (this is per the Competition & Market Authority’s Retail Banking Market Investigation Order - see 10.7 on page 21). Your product must benefit UK small businesses which meet this definition. Your product may, of course, also benefit UK businesses with a turnover greater than £6.5m, or non-UK businesses, but keep in mind that the Judges will only look at how your product performs with those sub £6.5m UK small businesses.
  • The Judges and Interview Panel will be looking for evidence to back up your claims, and wherever possible evidence obtained from small business users interacting with your product. This does not mean we expect you to have conclusive ‘proof’ of product/market fit, but the more direct evidence you can provide to support your claims regarding impact, user acquisition and commercial model, the better.
  • You will also undergo financial and tech reviews. These reviews are not part of the assessment criteria. Their purpose is to identify any substantial risks or uncertainties that should be brought to the attention of the Judges. The Judges will have the final say in the Awards.

The links below will direct you to the assessment criteria for each track.

  • BCA. You can find all the assessment criteria for the BCA Track in this board.
  • Credit. You can find all the assessment criteria for the BCA Track in this board.
  • New Frontiers. You can find all the assessment criteria for the BCA Track in this board.
5. Eligibility / Terms & Conditions

5.1 Eligibility

You were accepted onto the Open Up Challenge on the basis that you adhered to the Challenge eligibility criteria. All of these criteria remain identical, with one exception. We have amended the following criterion, reflecting in particular participant feedback on the readiness of the open banking APIs for deployment in a production environment:

Previous Version: “Your product or service does not have to be live in the market at the time of your application. However, a version of your product or service should be live in the market by the time you are assessed for a Prize Award in November 2018. The Judges will be looking for good evidence of product/market fit by the time you are assessed in November.”

Revised Version: “Your product or service does not have to be live in the market at the time of your application. However, you should at a minimum be testing a live version of your product or service with real-world users by the time you are assessed for a Prize Award in November 2018. The Judges will be looking for good evidence that your product will achieve product/market fit by the end of 2019.”

See the FAQ ‘Do we need to show evidence of market traction in 2018?’.

5.2 Terms & Conditions

You agreed to a set of Terms & Conditions when you applied to join the Open Up Challenge as a Finalist. These Terms & Conditions remain in place.

6.0 FAQs

6.1 Assessment


Are we being assessed based on where we are now, historical performance or anticipated future performance?

The Judges are interested in the impact that your product will have on UK small businesses. The three categories against which you will be assessed all inform their judgement:

  • Impact: what value will your product create for its UK small business users, and how does this compare to the existing solutions available to them?
  • User Acquisition: what portion of your addressable market is currently using your product, and how much do you expect that to grow by the end of 2019?
  • Commercial Model: is your product backed by a sustainable commercial model?

The Judges will likely use information about where you are now, and your trajectory to date, as evidence of anticipated future performance. Consult the assessment criteria for your specific track.

What's the significance of my ‘track’?

You were accepted onto the Challenge to compete in one (and only one) of three tracks: the BCA Track, the Credit Track and the New Frontiers Track. Keep in mind that you will be assessed solely in relation to the assessment criteria for your track. The purpose of each track is as follows:

  • the BCA Track is for teams whose products/services will promote competition in the market for business current accounts, by helping small businesses find and compare business current accounts that best meet their individual needs and circumstances;
  • the Credit Track is for teams whose products/services will promote competition in the market for small business loans less than £25k, by helping small businesses find and compare loans that meet their individual needs and circumstances;
  • the New Frontiers Track is for teams whose products/services will create value for small businesses and more generally promote competition in the markets for business current accounts, unsecured credit and financial automation and financial intelligence tools.

If we are competing in the BCA or Credit track, can our comparison solution be part of a wider product or service?

Yes.

For example, your product or service might be: a feature integrated into a broader mobile or web application that solves other problems for small businesses; dedicated comparison website or product marketplace; or the back-end of a comparison engine that other developers can plug into their small business facing application.

Whatever your approach, you'll need to persuade the Judges that your product best meets the assessment criteria for your track.

If we are competing in the BCA or Credit track, do we have to build the 'engine' powering our comparison service ourselves, or can we use a white-label or open source solution?

You are welcome to use a white-label or open source 'engine' to power your comparison service. Whatever your approach, you'll need to persuade the Judges that your product best satisfies the assessment criteria for your track.

If we are competing in the BCA or Credit track, do we need to interact with small businesses directly, or can we focus on building an 'engine' that will power other parties' comparison services?

You are welcome to focus on developing an 'engine' to power other comparison services. Teams in this position who intend to open source their engine may be looked on favourably. Whatever your approach, you'll need to persuade the Judges that your product best satisfies the assessment criteria for your track.

If we are competing in the New Frontiers Track, do we still need to be providing some sort of comparison solution?

No. We are looking for a mix of applicants in this track whose products/services will deliver radical value for small businesses and more generally promote competition in the markets for business current accounts, unsecured credit, financial automation tools or financial intelligence tools. Whatever your approach, you'll need to persuade the Judges that your product best satisfies the assessment criteria for your track.

If we are competing in the New Frontiers Track, do we still need to be interacting with small businesses directly?

You are welcome to focus on developing back-end solutions that power other applications which do interact with small businesses directly. Whatever your approach, you'll need to persuade the Judges that your product best satisfies the assessment criteria for your track.

What’s the significance of ‘comparison of business overdrafts’?

At least one Prize Award (in any Track) will be awarded to a product or service enabling comparison of overdrafts.

Do we need to show evidence of market traction in 2018?

We have amended the following eligibility criterion. When you applied to join the Open Up Challenge as a Finalist, the criterion was worded as follows:

Previous Version: “Your product or service does not have to be live in the market at the time of your application. However, a version of your product or service should be live in the market by the time you are assessed for a Prize Award in November 2018. The Judges will be looking for good evidence of product/market fit by the time you are assessed in November.”

We have amended this criterion to read:

Revised Version: “Your product or service does not have to be live in the market at the time of your application. However, you should at a minimum be testing a live version of your product or service with real-world users by the time you are assessed for a Prize Award in November 2018. The Judges will be looking for good evidence that your product will achieve product/market fit by the end of 2019.”

You should also consult the assessment criteria for your track, including this criterion (applicable to all three tracks):

“The Judges will be looking for good evidence of product/market fit. The strongest evidence will be provided by adoption by small businesses of your live product in the market, and all else equal the greater the adoption of the product by small businesses, the better.”

The criterion states "all else equal" because, for example, the Judging Panel may choose to trade off market traction today vs. potential long term impact. We expect this to be particularly relevant in the New Frontiers category. In that case the Panel will be looking for convincing evidence of potential long term impact.

Do we have to be using the open banking APIs?

In your Cover Sheet (which accompanies your Product Note), we will want you to explain whether you are using the open banking APIs, or using an alternative solution to access data which could otherwise be accessed via the open banking APIs. While we expect all teams to be utilising data that is covered by the open banking standards, we will not penalise teams who are using alternative solutions to the open banking APIs to actually access that data, provided they can demonstrate that they have reached an informed decision that the alternative solution better serves their business needs.

The big vision here is that the market for financial technology for small businesses will evolve rapidly on both the demand and supply side. On the supply side, innovators such as yourselves will bring to market radically better products and services for small businesses. On the demand side, small businesses will feel confident sharing their financial data in order to make those radically better solutions possible. (And yes, we know this is a chicken-and-egg-problem). Open banking APIs are designed to facilitate this market evolution - by enabling the secure and efficient sharing of financial data - and the Open Up Challenge is an opportunity to demonstrate what the APIs can help achieve in practice.

All that said, we have always run the Open Up Challenge on the principle that you, the founders, product managers, designers, engineers and so on, are best placed to discover the solutions that work best for your users and your business, including the methods used for sharing financial data. That remains the case. We therefore will not penalise you for using alternative data access methods. But the Judges will expect to see in your Cover Sheet (which accompanies your Product Note) that you have taken a close look at the open banking APIs and that you have reached an informed decision about your choice of method for accessing users’ financial data. It goes without saying that whatever method you choose must adhere to the various laws and regulations. If the Judges don’t feel you have articulated in the Cover Sheet the reasoning behind your choice, you may be asked questions on this topic during your Pitch. If you still can’t articulate the reasoning behind your choice, this may affect the Judges’ decision.

Do we have to show that we used the anonymised data provided by the Open Up Challenge as part of our product development?

No. We hope that the anonymised data you received from the CMA5 banks was helpful, but you will not be asked to show what you did with this data (if anything), and Finalists who didn’t incorporate the data into their product development will not be looked upon any less favourably because of this decision. Of course, you will be expected to show you use real-world financial data in your product to create value for UK small businesses

Are we being assessed on specific plans for what we would do with the Prize Award money?

We don’t expect Finalists to set out their plans for what they would do with any Prize Award money. However, do expect the interviewers and Judges to probe your business plans beyond 2018. The Judges have broad discretion to ask whichever questions they believe will best enable them to assess you in relation to the assessment criteria.

Why did you choose these assessment criteria?

In structuring the Challenge, and defining the assessment criteria, we’ve kept a few objectives and principles in mind:

  • We’ll fulfil the terms of the Competition & Market Authority’s Retail Banking Market Investigation Order, which provides the foundation for the Open Up Challenge. See Part 10 (page 48) of the Order for more on what is expected of the Challenge.
  • We’ll promote competition and innovation in the markets for business current accounts, unsecured credit and financial automation and financial intelligence tools.
  • We’ll provide the Judging Panel with flexibility to exercise their expert judgement in a way that promotes the Challenge’s objectives.
  • We’ll support a broad range of teams and provide meaningful Prize Awards.

What’s the difference between the Financial Review and Tech Review, the Interview Panel, and the Judging Panel?

The purpose of the Financial Review and the Tech Review is to identify any substantial risks or uncertainties that should be brought to the attention of the Judges. You will not be scored as part of these reviews. Think of them more as checking for major reasons not to award a team a Prize Award, rather than positive reasons to do so. See Financial Review and Tech Review for further details.

You’ll undertake an interview with a three person Interview Panel. This will involve half an hour of questioning. The interviewers will send scores and notes to the Judges, highlighting your strengths and flagging areas of weakness or uncertainty where the Judges may want to question you further. See Interview Panel for further details.

Finally, you’ll pitch to the Judges. You’ll have ten minutes to present, with up to 15 minutes to answer the Judges’ questions. It is at the Judges discretion how many questions, if any, they ask you within this time limit. The Judges’ decision is final and binding. See Judging Panel for further details.

Is the pitch to the Judges the only thing that really matters?

No. The Judges will take into consideration your Product Note, your (optional) supplementary deck/video (if you choose to provide one), the scores and notes they receive from the Interview Panel, any notes they receive from the Financial Review and Tech Review partners, and of course your pitch presentation and your answers during the Q&A following your presentation. The Judges will deliberate and, using all of this information, assess you holistically against the assessment criteria for your chosen track. It’s important, therefore, that you present a strong case at each step of the assessment process. Don’t just leave it all for the pitch.

What should my pitch to the Judges look like?

We’re open minded – you’re best placed to decide how to tell your story. Make sure you cover all three assessment categories - Impact, User Acquisition and Commercial Model - during your presentation, but it’s up to you how much time you spend on each. Be explicit about what differentiates you in the market. Leave the Judges with a clear understanding of where you’ll be by the end of 2019. And if you have a grand vision, which will take a number of years to achieve, don’t be afraid to point to that vision, provided you have thoroughly backed it up with nearer term substance.

If we send supplementary presentation slides or a video ahead of pitch day, can we also display slides and/or a video during the pitch itself?

Yes.

  • You have the option of supplementing your Product Note with presentation slides or a video, for the Judges to review ahead of pitching day.
  • The Judges will spend a maximum of five minutes reviewing your supplementary presentation slides or video. Please send either slides or a video, but not both. It’s fine if you want to embed a GIF in your slides demonstrating your product in action.
  • Even if you choose to send supplementary presentation slides or a video alongside your Product Note, you will still be able to show presentation slides or a video during your pitch to the Judges (or both).
  • The presentation slides and/or video you show during your pitch can different to the optional presentation slides or video you may have submitted alongside your Product Note.
  • Remember that you will have a maximum 10 minutes to present to the Judges on pitch day. If you choose to show a video during your pitch, this will consume time from your allotted 10 minutes.

Can you review our Product Note and/or pitch and give us feedback?

We’re happy to clarify the assessment guidance at any time, but we can’t give direct feedback on Product Notes / Cover Sheets and pitches.

Who will see the information we submit as part of our application?

Each of the Judges will see all of your application information, including your Product Note / Cover Sheet, your supplementary presentation slides or video (remember, these are optional) and a sub-set of the answers in your original application form. They will also receive scores and notes from the Interview Panel, and any notes they receive from the Financial Review and Tech Review partners. And, of course, you will pitch in front of them. You can see the names and biographies of all Judges on this page.

Each of the three members of the Interview Panel will receive your Product Note / Cover Sheet, your (optional) supplementary deck/video (if you choose to provide one) and a sub-set of the answers in your original application form. They will also receive any notes from the Tech Review partner. The three members of the Interview Panel are: Dave Birch, an author, advisor and commentator on digital financial services; Tara Reeves, a partner at VC firm LocalGlobe; and Tunde Olanrewaju, a senior McKinsey partner and leads Digital McKinsey in the UK.

The Financial Review partner will see all the documentation you submit as part of the Financial Review. For a full list of this documentation, see the Financial Review section. The financial health review will be undertaken by BDO.

The Tech Review partner will see your answers to the Tech Review Form, your Product Note / Cover Sheet, your (optional) supplementary deck-video (if you choose to provide one) and a sub-set of the answers in your original application form. They may also call you to ask some follow-up questions. The tech review will be undertaken by The Rain Gods.

Where should I send all of the documents that you request?

Please send everything to Andrea Richardson by the stated deadlines.

How will you handle our data?

Our use of your data is set out in our Terms & Conditions. Please also check our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Will you sign an NDA? How do we know you won't steal our idea?

Nesta will not sign an NDA and we will not steal your idea. All Judges and external partners have contracts in place with Nesta which include confidentiality provisions.

I've spoken with the Open Up Challenge team about my entry. Will you pass on information to the Judges?

The Judges will deliberate with full independence. Don't assume that anything you've told us will make it to the Judges.

6.2 Prizes


How much money can we win?

The total prize pot of £1.3m will be awarded among five or six teams, with each Prize Award worth at least £200k. So if you win a Prize Award, you’ll win at least £200k.

  • In the BCA Track, the Judges will award at least one Prize Award.
  • In the Credit Track, the Judges will award at least one Prize Award.
  • In the New Frontiers Track, the Judges will award at least one Prize Award.

If we win a Prize Award, will we receive the money all at once?

If you're selected by our Judging Panel as a Prize Winner, you'll receive payment of your Prize Award in full, subject to you entering into an agreement with Nesta setting out the terms and conditions of the Prize Award. No payments will be made to businesses subject to insolvency procedures.

When will the Prize Winners be announced?

We expect to announce the Prize Winners early December.

Do you take any equity?

No.

Do you take any intellectual property?

No.

Can you reclaim the Prize Award under any circumstances?

Only if we have to. Our aim is to provide you with as much flexibility as possible about how you use your Finalist Grant and Prize Award money, whilst still ensuring it is used for purposes consistent with the aims of the Challenge. See the Terms & Conditions for the Challenge, including Clause 2.5: “...Prize Awards will be paid out with the following minimum conditions: Prize Awards should be used by the winning applicant selected by the Panel for purposes consistent with the aims of the Challenge. Winners will be required to enter into a formal agreement with Nesta to ensure the Prize Award is used for its intended purpose. We reserve the right for Nesta to recover prize monies in certain circumstances to be set out in such agreement.”

6.3 Eligibility


Has anything changed in the eligibility criteria we agreed to when we applied to the Challenge?

You were accepted onto the Open Up Challenge on the basis that you adhered to the Challenge eligibility criteria. All of these criteria remain identical, with one exception. For more explanation regarding the amended criterion, see Eligibility / T&Cs above, and the FAQ ‘Do we need to show evidence of market traction in 2018?’.

What is the impact on eligibility and assessment if a funding bank (Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, Santander, AIB Group (UK) p.l.c, Bank of Ireland UK and Danske Bank) has invested in our company?

The CMA's investigation into the UK retail banking market found adverse effects on competition including in relation to Business Current Accounts and SME lending. The Open Up Challenge forms part of the CMA Order designed to remedy these adverse effects on competition and resulting customer detriment.

Eligibility

  • The eligibility criteria state "Employees of funding banks and / or employees of funding bank subsidiaries may not apply to or participate in the Challenge".
  • Following from this, if a funding bank has or acquires a majority or controlling interest in your company, you are ineligible for the Open Up Challenge.
  • If a funding bank has or acquires a minority investment in your company, this will not render you per se ineligible for the Open Up Challenge. You must declare this relationship as a potential conflict of interest.

Assessment

  • In each track, Judges will favour products that "are (and are likely to remain) independent of banks subject to the CMA Order". If you have (or are intending to take on) investment from a funding bank, we recommend you explain in your application how this is consistent with your current and continuing independence from that bank. Therefore, Judges are less likely to select companies intending to be sold to a funding bank.

What is the impact on eligibility and assessment if we have an exclusive distribution deal with a funding bank (Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, Santander, AIB Group (UK) p.l.c, Bank of Ireland UK and Danske Bank)?

The CMA's investigation into the UK retail banking market found adverse effects on competition including in relation to Business Current Accounts and SME lending. The Open Up Challenge forms part of the CMA Order designed to remedy these adverse effects on competition and resulting customer detriment.

Eligibility

  • BCA track: You will still be eligible for the Open Up Challenge if you have an exclusive distribution deal with a funding bank but are able to meet the BCA Comparison track eligibility criteria: "...your product or service must at a minimum enable comparison of Business Current Accounts, including those of the eight banks subject to relevant parts of the CMA Order (Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, Santander, AIB Group (UK) p.l.c, Bank of Ireland UK and Danske Bank)".
  • Credit track - You will still be eligible for the Open Up Challenge if you have an exclusive distribution deal with a funding bank but are able to meet the Credit track eligibility criteria: "...your product or service must at a minimum enable comparison of unsecured loans up to £25,000 in value, including those of the eight banks subject to relevant parts of the CMA Order (Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, Santander, AIB Group (UK) p.l.c, Bank of Ireland UK and Danske Bank)".
  • New Frontiers track - you will still be eligible for the Open Up Challenge if you have an exclusive distribution deal with a funding bank, but are able to meet the New Frontiers track eligibility criteria: "Products and services that promote competition in the wider small business banking market consistent with the aims of the CMA Order".
  • In all cases if you are in this situation we recommend you explain in your application how this is consistent with your current and continuing independence from the bank with which you have an exclusive distribution deal.
7. Change Log

For a record of all changes made to this assessment documentation, see section 7. ('Change Log') in the printable PDF.

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