Ahead of its high-profile catwalk at CeBIT 2014, the CODE_n startup competition staged an exclusive preview at Ernst & Young's (EY) ritzy London headquarters.
Highlighting the contest's UK finalists and drawing attention its big data theme, the event featured a series of addresses from key CODE_n players, including EY partner Robert Toguri.
With a background in the data industry and first-hand experience of working with early-stage ventures, Toguri highlighted the wealth of opportunities presented by big data analytics, especially for the financial services industry.
"I'm going to be controversial from the get-go – I'm not sure there's been a big data impact in the financial services industry," he said.
"The industry was very good at transaction processing, and then 2008 happened. In 2008, cracks began to appear in terms of how much control did we really have over the data. By 2010, the regulators said 'We don't think you really understand your internal data, never mind external data' and began this roadmap that is putting a lot of pressure on the industry."
GFT CEO and CODE_n founder Ulrich Dietz agreed: "After the hype, there's a big frustration. We selected big data this year because we think it's an interesting chance for moving in a different way than we did in the past. We are doing this in the middle of the City because we think this is an interesting chance for the financial industry."
But despite some sectors failing to unlock the value of big data so far, Toguri stressed that there was still a huge opportunity, pointing to the boom in unstructured data as global mobile uptake nears seven billion and social media engagement reaches dizzy new heights.
"What has this done for big data? Coupled with declining storage costs, the result is that better analytics tools now create additional value, with the likely result that mainstream adoption of big data analytics would boost the retail and manufacturing industries by some $325 billion (£194.8bn)," he noted.
Toguri concluded: "All of us realise that technology has changed. Are there opportunities? Absolutely."
Rounding out the event, two of CODE_n's UK finalists introduced their startups to the audience. Location analytics platform Viewsy is hedging its bets on wooing the retail sector, while employee mental health app SOMA Analytics outlined the ambitious task of "stopping bankers from jumping out windows."