Libraryour peopleVeriff's First Hackathon - Two More Exciting Entries

Veriff's First Hackathon - Two More Exciting Entries

We speak to two more teams from Veriff's first hackathon - one who started creating a brand new product called Face Match, and the other who made a game you can play while you wait to be verified!

Mikk's team, working hard on creating The Waiting Game
Patrick Johnson
February 12, 2021
Our People

We've already covered Veriff's first hackathon in two blogs - an interview with Kalev Rundu, who spearheaded the hackathon, and another interview with the winning team, Canary Releases. This time, we speak to two other teams, whose ideas are already being implemented and celebrated within Veriff.

We interviewed Ibrahim Al-Taie, whose team started work on our soon-to-be-released product Face Match, and Mikk Kelder, whose team created a game to be played while waiting to be verified. Let's get into the details with them.

EDIT (2024): And guess what - biometric authentication is a thing now!

Can you explain the idea behind your hackathon projects?

Ibrahim: Essentially, it's authenticating an identity by looking at a person’s face! The typical workflow is to verify a user's identity the first time with their document - what we call identity verification - then in the future, utilize those person’s images to re-authenticate their identity. We can use the original verification session images and data as a base/reference for us to go back to and compare with new data points and inputs. So for the new flow, the end user will only take a selfie, and Veriff matches it with the existing data the our clients provide about the user’s identity.'

A preview of how Face Match might work.

A preview image of how 'Face Match' would work

Mikk: The idea came when I was ordering food from Wolt (a food delivery app), and to keep their customers happy and not bored while waiting they've added a game to the order status screen. I didn’t even notice how fast the 10-15 minutes went by. Since we also have clients waiting to get verified sometimes, then I thought why not bring them the same joy.

Was your idea a long time in the works, or brand new?

I: The idea came to mind around the hackathon itself, so totally brand new.

M: It was brand new, when Kalev started the whole hackathon process I literally had no clue what I should do, but I knew that I wanted to do something cool.

Did you plan ahead to deliver it in the hackathon?

I: Not really, I simply prepared a 2 page slide deck to go with my pitch. The rest came after, from configurations to the final product.

M: No, only the pitch, everything else came organically. We got our team together 2 minutes before the announcement of the teams, so this started to create a little stress already!

Who pitched it, and how was it preparing that pitch?

I: I pitched the idea myself at the start of the hackathon, and thankfully I had an amazing team (Ana Turkina and Kristjan Kuppart) who were interested in taking part, from idea to product!

Ana, Ibrahim & Kristjan, who worked together to start creating Face Match

Ana, Ibrahim & Kristjan, who worked together to start creating Face Match

It was thrilling, as it was my first hackathon experience! However, I was excited and determined to get this product going. As I see (and thankfully the judges saw as well) a huge potential in this product providing value to our company, customers, and end users overall!

M: I did the pitch, and Anett Tomson helped a lot, she gave me some really amazing ideas how to make the pitch more memorable. Our pitch was definitely one that people remembered.

How did you approach the intense timeframe - did you have a structure, or you just dived in and started development?

I: It was tough. I’m a Solutions Engineer here in Veriff, and I already had calls scheduled with clients and deadlines to deliver upon. This all meant that I needed to wear multiple hats at the same time. From a different perspective though, I had an amazing team and we were able to work on different aspects at the same time together.

One thing we were very lucky with, is how amazing our product and engineering teams are! In reality, we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel, just re-purpose it’s existing components differently!

So we wrote zero code to deliver our product, we simply took existing components from our product, and repackaged/repurposed them in a different way, and worked on our overall market needs.

M: The first day we all sat down and started brainstorming what we wanted to actually do. How was the game going to look, how the mechanics should work, etc. After the meeting, Kristel Roosimaa (one of our excellent designers) started to design the icons and other elements of the game, and Artjom started work on the game itself. Anett and I were the hype guys in our gang.

In practical terms, what’s the major benefit?

I: There's a need in the market to re-authenticate a user's identity after their initial verification. This is in cases where our client already knows the user's identity, but wants to make sure it’s them again. Some use-cases include: a user is withdrawing a large amount of money from their account, adding a new bank account to receive money to, making new and potentially suspicious log-ins, claiming their account has been taken over, etc.

To solve this with another full verification introduces not only a high cost, but also a larger further effect on potential SLAs, and end-user friction. With our product, the end user only needs to take a selfie! We can then check if their face is a match with the existing information or not. It's a lot simpler!

M: Besides the game itself, which is awesome, the biggest benefit was working together with a team that wasn’t connected by the day-to-day stuff that we do here in Veriff. It was a great demonstration of what people who don't necessarily interact daily, or even weekly, can achieve when they have a shared goal.

Screenshots of the waiting game built by Mikk's team

Screenshots of the waiting game built by Mikk's team

Finally - there’ll likely be another hackathon sooner rather than later, got any ideas already?

I: We’ve got some ideas. Just stay tuned for the next hackathon pitch!

M: A magician never reveals his tricks, but next time we're in it to win it!

Interested in a career with Veriff? Find out more here.