Johannesburg startups win cash prizes after #Hack.Jozi Challenge

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Three startups have walked away with a total of ZAR1.7 million (US$136,000) in prize money after coming out on top of the #Hack.Jozi Challenge, which looked to identify solutions to community problems in Johannesburg.

Disrupt Africa reported at the end of last month 10 finalists showcased their products at the #Hack.Jozi Challenge demo day. The challenge was organised by the City of Johannesburg and the Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) at Witwatersrand (Wits) University.

Over 40 teams had participated in a one-month accelerator presented by Seed Academy, which involved digital solutions for issues in areas such as healthcare, security, education and marketing. ZAR5 million (US$400,000) worth of support and cash were available to winners.

Desmond Mongwe of MoWallet, which enables brands to connect with customers and improves the distribution of vouchers in an FMCG environment, was awarded the ZAR1 million (US$80,000) top prize.

Two runners-ups were awarded ZAR350,000 (US$28,000) each. Niel Pieters was rewarded for Lazy Lizzard, innovative educational software that allows parents to track their child’s progress, while Percy Lawrence also walked away with prize money for MoveThisStuff, a logistics application providing cost effective removal and transportation options.

“We have witnessed great enhancements to ideas from the start of the business training through to final delivery of a minimum viable product,” said Zolani Matebese, head of broadband at the City of Johannesburg.

“The #Hack.Jozi Challenge offered extensive support to finalists. Entrepreneurs need access to seed funding as well as access to industry contacts. We have helped to resolve these challenges.”

The winning ideas have been awarded membership of the Digital Innovation Zone in Braamfontein, which provides access to various resources such as mentors, advisors, investors, technical support and strategic partners.

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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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