Over the past three weeks, nine teams were hard at work building tech-led solutions to help simplify life after COVID.
It culminated in them presenting to a judging panel consisting of Sbusiso Kumalo, operations manager at Capitec Bank, Dave Glass CEO of Electrum, and Nicola Nel, founder of Atmosphere Communications.
On Monday 20 July 2020, after deliberating all weekend, the panel announced the winner of the R100,000 grand prize: Guardian Health.
The winning idea
Tsitsi Marote and Tino Manhema of team Guardian Health focused on facilitating virtual interactions between the public and health professionals.
They came up with a digital filing system for patient profiles that allows patients to access their own data and set up virtual consultations to limit the risk associated with going into overcrowded hospitals and medical facilities during a pandemic.
“Winning the hackathon is an honour,” said Marote. “It has given us the much-needed validation that our solution is scalable. We enjoyed interacting with the other teams of talented people who had inspiring stories and great advice to share. We didn’t expect to win as we were up against eight other teams who all had great solutions.”
Marote said the webinars were a definite highlight. “We could draw inspiration from projects and businesses some of the mentors have built, which also guided us in terms of executing our ideas.”
What’s next for Guardian Health? “We’ve opened up some of our platforms to be tested and get feedback from users,” said Marote. “We’re actively looking for health professionals and members of the public to participate in this. It will be an iterative process where we fix and develop new features as we go. This will help us to ensure that our systems are stable and ready for our official launch.”
Find Guardian Health’s platforms here:
A future of innovation
The Life 2.0 Hackathon had no shortage of incredible innovations thanks to the amazing teams.
Marc Nicolson, Zahur Ameeroedien, Sibongiseni Tembe and Padraig Riley from team ThingKing saw a need for contactless keypads in high-traffic/high-touch areas, such lifts and building entrances, even vending machines, where the risk of spreading viruses and bacteria is high.
During the hackathon, they went straight from concept to proof of concept and the first working prototypes.
“The team at Capitec put a lot of thought and effort into the hackathon. Physical distancing regulations make it hard to get much done, especially for a hardware-based business like ours, but we managed well. Overall, we had an excellent experience,” said Nicolson.
What’s next for ThingKing? “We’d like to take our idea into production as soon as possible. We believe it is not only well considered, but also has huge potential in the market.”
While Thando Hlongwane and Roger Bukuru from team Lipa Payments wanted to address one of the biggest challenges in low-income communities: a lack of infrastructure to support digital payments at spaza, butchery and bottle stores.
Their solution was an open-source software solution for banks and fintechs that allows merchants to accept card payments without a hardware-based point-of-sale device.
What makes Lipa unique is that it uses Bluetooth for merchants whose mobile phones do not have near-field capabilities.
Hlongwane said the final pitch was the highlight of the hackathon for them. “Seeing everyone’s progress over the three weeks was quite impressive and we’re proud of all the teams,” he said. “We also received a lot of guidance and advice from Francois Dempers, Capitec’s Manager for Innovation and Digital Strategy. Given that our solution is built for banks and fintechs, his insights and thoughts were invaluable.”
What’s next for Lipa? “We’ve already had interest from a few developers who want to join our open-source project. We’re hoping to launch in September 2020. So watch this space!”
“We devised this hackathon to bring brilliant minds together to solve shared challenges and help South Africans to live better in a post-pandemic world,” said Dempers. “We were blown away by the results. It was extremely tough to select a winner and we congratulate the Guardian Health team. The elegance and simplicity of their design absolutely align with Capitec’s continuous drive to innovate through smart solutions that add real, lasting value.”
Read more about the other solutions presented at the Life 2.0 Hackathon.
This article was published in partnership with Capitec.