Impressed investors with tax app in BI's first fintech course

6 March 2020

Five finance students from BI’s first fintech class convinced industry practioneers and investors with their business plan to fund the development of an app called TaxAble, designed to ease and simplify the process of calculating tax returns for people and companies.

Asja Bosnic and Erika Delgado Antonsen

Photo: Finance students Asja Bosnic and Erika Delgado Antonsen

To come up with a business idea, to pitch to a panel of executives with the ability to make decisions about providing funding, and offer jobs is part of the assessement in the new course, which gives students valuable insights in the fast moving fintech industry.

“We got direct feedback from the fintech business, which was something that was really interesting with this course. Seven different investors held guest lectures during the course and later constituted a panel of jugdes the class pitched their ideas to” says Erika D. Antonsen, one of the students behind the tax app idea.

Class mate and co-founder, Asja Bosnic says the course was an eye-opener to the all the different aspects of fintech she hadn’t heard about before.

“I got a broader understanding of how financial technology affects many aspect of the financial industry in terms of efficiency potential, but also risks posed by digitalization. These are considerations we used when we developed our business idea,” says Bosnic.

Refining skills

Assistant Professor Daniel Kim at the Department of finance and responsible for the course says he wanted to create a program where students could refine their presentation skills and form industry connection while learning about topics that could be valuable for a future career in finance.

The aim is to give students the necessary insight to be able to map the fintech ecosystem and to understand the regulatory challenges posed by fintech.

“When I initially designed the course, I imagined myself as being one of those course students and thought about what I would want to get out of this fintech course. Both practioneers and students really enjoyed interacting and I certainly enjoyed it as well. I cannot wait to offer an improved version of the same course in Fall 2020!“ says Kim.

Richard Priestley, the head of the department of finance says it is a great illustration of how a course can be academic and practical at the same time.

“This course illustrates that BI’s students are both academic and relevant and are exposed to the latest challenges in the business world through the lens of an academic course. It also shoes that BI has an impact on the business world, through both attracting business people into our programmes and through our students and assistant professors directly impacting business,” says Priestley.

Future prospects

Their TaxAble app received positive feedback from the judges, who left their business cards with the group. At this point however, there are no plans among the students to develop the app further as they are all focusing on finishing their master’s degrees.

After graduating, Erika wants to work for a financial corporation to learn more about the industry before potentially pursuing a start-up business. Asja is pursuing a Phd in finance at BI after graduation, and aims for a future in academia.

About fintech

Financial technology (Fintech) refers to the digitalization and technological innovations in the financial industry, which has transformed and continues to disrupt and transform financial markets, institutions and services, as well as offer alternative payment systems with digital currencies. 

The aim of the fintech course is three-fold: (i) to cover the origins and current state and trends of Fintech in all aspects of the financial industry, (i) envision the potentials of technology in improving financial services and the efficiency of financial markets, and (iii) understand the potential threats and risks posed by digitalization.

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