Mobile university-campus news portal Magazine Reel has been named winner of the Safaricom Appwiz Challenge, receiving KES1.7 million (US$18,780) to continue developing their startup.
The winning app aggregates university and campus news and notices for students to easily access via their mobile device; with the app already counting 5,000 daily users and 250,000 page views each month.
Communication and marketing solution for businesses Guide Rig was named runner up, receiving KES1.2 million (US$13,264).
“While there are many people who still wait to watch the news every evening and read newspapers every morning, studies have shown that there are many tech-savvy youth who would rather access the news content on the go through their smart devices”, said Joseph Ogutu, director for strategy and innovation at Safaricom.
Participants in the challenge were grouped into four categories – mobile for good and community development; smart business, cloud innovation and financial inclusion; youth, entertainment, games and media; and infrastructure and utilities.
Community-based security application Ujirani won the mobile for good and community development category; the infrastructure and utilities category award went to Smart Travel – which provides motorists with road information, and also helps assess the alcohol limit of the driver. Category winners were awarded KES200,000 (US$2,210) each.
All the prize monies are to be distributed to the winners in accordance with milestones in the development of the startup as agreed between the startup and Safaricom.
The Appwiz Challenge is in its second year of operation, and is one the methods with which Safaricom is followings its strategy of supporting and collaborating with tech startups and entrepreneurs in Kenya.
“Through the Safaricom Appwiz Challenge, we continue to support young entrepreneurs interested in establishing Mobile and ICT start-ups in Kenya through mentorship, training and rapid product development to ensure that start-ups develop and provide innovative, quality and relevant solutions to address challenges and needs faced by our consumers,” Ogutu said.
Disrupt Africa reported recently Safaricom announced a partnership with one of last year’s Appwiz Challenge winners, Dynamic Data Systems, for the launch of the M-Ledger app, which allows users to track M-Pesa transactions via their mobile device.
Safaricom also announced the launch of a US$1 million investment fund last week, aimed at supporting mobile ICT startups in Kenya; with chief executive officer Bob Collymore telling Disrupt Africa he believes the most useful tech innovations come from Kenyan entrepreneurs.