WumDrop, M4JAM, Vula Mobile among winners at MTN app awards

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Courier-on-demand service WumDrop, microjobbing platform M4Jam and eye test app Vula Mobile were among the winners at the MTN Business App of the Year Awards last night.

The annual awards, which were first held in 2012,  look to recognise excellence in mobile applications from South African companies, with a number of startups commended by the judges this year.

WumDrop, an on-demand courier service, won the Business App of the Year and Best Enterprise App categories for its Uber-style courier service.

“We’re ecstatic to have won at such an early stage in our business. We’ve been available to the public for under a year. We’ve struggled, lost our savings, talked people into investing in us before running out of money, and talked three fantastic developers into joining our business when we had nothing but an idea,” WumDrop co-founder Simon Hartley told Disrupt Africa.

“What we have now is a decent – but by no means finished – version one. It needs polishing, panel beating, and additional features. But we’ve been buoyed by an amazingly enthusiastic and patient group of early adopters who have stuck with us through buggy features and spotty address data. When you’ve given so much of yourself to a business, it isn’t overreach to say that we have genuinely fond feelings towards our customers, and support network. To those people, we give our sincere thanks. Our next step, which is already in motion, is to aggressively upscale development resources, and fast-track quality product development.”

Vula Mobile, meanwhile, won in the Most Innovative App category for its eye health app, which allows health workers to capture basic patient information, take photographs, do a basic eye test and capture a brief medical history before sending it directly to a specialist.

Microjobbing platform M4JAM, which made the news earlier this week for acquiring digital research firm Pondering Panda, was also a winner, topping the Best Wild Card App category for its an app that enables people to complete micro tasks in exchange for cash.

“Both Warren and I are really proud of our team for what they have achieved in a very short time frame. Winning the Wild Card Category at MTN App Awards 2015 is the strawberry on top of the jam this morning. What a week we have had, turning one years old, acquiring Pondering Panda and last night been awarded the prize against such tough competition,” M4JAM co-founder Andre Hugo told Disrupt Africa.

The other category winners were DStv Now, CPUT Mobile and EskomSePush.

“The annual MTN Business App of the Year Awards has grown dramatically in size and stature since the inaugural event in 2012. Today, we are proud to say that it is the premier app development event in South Africa. This is only possible because of the calibre of our entrants and our partners who have come together to grow the event year after year,” MTN said.

“We believe App of the Year helps to drive healthy competition in the industry, celebrate achievement and innovation by local developers, and promote business. Some of our previous winners have gone on to top the international and local app download charts, grow into profitable revenue sources for their developers, and even been acquired by blue-chip companies.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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