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UnionBank’s 12th U: Hack unlocks tech breakthroughs for real estate industry

In its quest to harness innovation and technology to solve challenges impacting Filipinos, Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) hosted its 12th hackathon, more popularly known as U:HACK, this time focusing on real estate and liveable cities.

This year, UnionBank teamed up with UBX, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Philippines, and the Fintech Philippines Association (FPH) for a hackathon held at Islas Pinas, Double Dragon Meridian Park that brought together bright students, young professionals, entrepreneurs, and digital experts who took on an adrenaline filled two-day coding marathon to create innovative solutions for the real estate industry.

Justo A. Ortiz, chairman of UnionBank and FPH opened the hackathon, encouraging the young teams to make a difference. He highlighted that U:HACK is a platform for showcasing Filipino talent.

“Ordinary Filipinos have the opportunity, through technology, to actually solve problems for big companies, governments, and the world. And the way we solve this is bit by bit, one relevant piece by relevant piece at a time, in the aggregate, to solve the problem in a larger way,” Ortiz said.

About 46 teams comprised of 3-5 members each were given three challenge categories to choose from: properties, cities, and communities. It was an overnight hustle for the young coders who worked non-stop to develop working prototypes of applications that could solve challenges the sector is currently facing.

Delfin Angelo Wenceslao, national chair for ULI, said U:HACK is a wellspring of innovative idea.

“Participants have a fresh perspective, a new way of trying to solve the problems that developers like us are having right now,” he said.

Unique concepts and tech platforms that addressed a number of problems from all corners of the real estate industry were pitched on Day 2 and industry bigwigs sat as judges. Solutions developed included those for living spaces, property management, and streamlining procurement among others.

Amor Maclang, FPH’s executive director, shared the association’s dream of “teching-up not just your homes, not just your offices, but the communities that you’re all in.”

Meanwhile, Catherine Casas, first vice president at UnionBank’s Fintech Business Group said technological solutions are essential at this time because “the real estate industry is so complex and there are different ways to tackle industry problems.”

In the end, the triumphant team was Real Team with their Landlordy app which helps landlords keep track of tenants’ lease status, payments, and other concerns – all in one simple digital space.

Henry Aguda, chairman of the board at UBX and chief technology and operations officer of UnionBank, said the solutions presented by teams addressed technophobic issues persistent in real estate and bring an industry, otherwise perceived as traditional, into the new economic age.

“Remember, they did this in just two days,” he said about the teams.

He commended the coders for topnotch pitches, and hopes the concepts they presented can make real estate customers more excited about technology.


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