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Almonds: a personal assistant for your administrative procedures
After the enormous success of the 2015 edition, the BNP Paribas International Hackathon returned for another round in 2016. Over the weekend of June 17-19, 96 startups from 8 countries hammered out their vision for the future of the customer experience with the help of 350 specialists from BNP Paribas. In December 2016, nine of these startups received an award for the creativity and relevance of their solutions. Among them: “Almonds,” a personal assistant that helps users complete administrative procedures. We met with one of the co-founders, Diego Banovaz.
Why did you create Almonds?
Because we all know what a strain bureaucracy and paperwork can place on the daily lives of individuals and businesses, whether that means filing taxes, paying fines, enrolling in university, requesting scholarships or submitting tuition payments. We believed that there had to be a smarter and simpler way to do all these administrative tasks. After several brainstorming sessions with BNL in Italy, organized through the Hackathon, Almonds was born. It was something of a leap of faith for us, because even though we have a strong background in technology and product design, we did not start out as a FinTech!
So what exactly is Almonds?
It’s an aggregator that combines artificial intelligence and blockchain technology to make it easier to complete paperwork and administrative tasks from a computer, tablet or smartphone. For users, the first step is to add all their cloud accounts: DropBox, Google Drive, etc. Next, our algorithms go to work locating and classifying all of your documents stored in these locations, making them available at any time. For example, imagine that you have to fill out a form declaring your income: you can send a simple request through Almonds and it will automatically find and send you all the documents you need: pay stubs, receipts for tax deductions, etc.
But is this really a new solution?
Yes. Almonds is the first cross-platform personal assistant that directly connects all of a user’s documents to the associated services. Our ultimate goal is to turn Almonds into a chatbot for your administrative life. To do that, we are working to conclude bilateral partnerships with a variety of public and private entities such as tax offices, universities, banks, and insurers. Almonds helps these organizations save time, too.
Can Almonds keep users’ personal data safe and secure?
Yes, data is protected from loss because everything is stored in the cloud. Moreover, access to the service is secure and users need a PIN or fingerprint to complete sensitive operations. Personal data security is one of our priorities. That’s why two of our specialists work on this topic with BNL, so we can offer users the same security standards as banks for all of their documents.
What does your solution offer a bank like BNP Paribas?
Almonds gives users an additional remote banking service channel for their simple and daily operations. Financial establishments stand to benefit by saving time and reducing costs.
To wrap things up, tell us about your experience at the Hackathon…
It was a memorable professional and networking adventure. The Hackathon was an intense weekend and the presentation was a particularly special moment. The subsequent boot camp allowed us to expand our solution and share it with the Group’s different entities. Their feedback was especially valuable to us. In fact, Almonds is nearly ready: we are planning to launch in 2017.
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