Medical startup TechnoVera takes #Hack.Jozi crown

Medical startup TechnoVera on Thursday took top honours at the 2016 #Hack.Jozi competition, walking away with R1-million in funding.

The startup beat out some 400 entrants to take the prize, with its idea for smart lockers that reduce the average waiting time for patients collecting chronic medication at primary healthcare collection facilities.

Headed up by Neo Hutiri, TechnoVera aims to reduce the waiting time for chronic medications at public healthcare facilities down to three minutes — the process can currently take anywhere from three to five hours.

This isn’t the first competition TechnoVera has done well in either. Earlier this year, it claimed a top 10 spot the Singularity University Global Impact Competition (GIC).

The two runners up on the night Tuta Me, an on-demand tutor service finder app, was named first runner up and eSubmit, an online platform to submit building plans for approval, each received R350 000 in support to develop their ideas and establish sustainable businesses.

The three winning startups, along with the rest of the top 10, have been through a rigorous process of selection and have also benefited from a bootcamp, mentorship, and guided development along the way.

“The #HackJozi Challenge is aimed at driving our smart city agenda while catalysing innovation and development,” says Ruby Mathang, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development in the City of Joburg. “This year’s winners show how involving citizens in identifying technology solutions to everyday problems is a powerful way improve the efficiency of services, meet residents’ needs and help improve quality of life in Joburg.”

Ravi Naidoo, Executive Director for Economic Development for the City of Johannesburg, says that participation in the 2016 challenge increased by well over one third compared to the first round of the initiative held last year. “We received over 400 strong applications, compared to 140 last year, and eliminating contestants down to the top ten and then the top three as the challenge progressed was far tougher that we anticipated.

“The winning ideas of the 2016 #Hack.Jozi Challenge are scalable and driven by highly motivated and capable young people who were born into the ICT age. Further development of their ideas will see them make a huge difference in helping people in Johannesburg while creating more jobs and economic opportunities as they grow.”

“We are also pleased to see that the City of Cape Town and the Department of Water and Sanitation have taken a cue from the City of Johannesburg, to embrace the digital era in their environments and encourage technology innovation competitions as a way to address relevant problems and promote entrepreneurship.”

Prof Barry Dwolatzky director of the JCSE at Wits University says that the winners of the challenge do not receive their prizes as a cash hand-out. “They will be closely guided and supported by experienced mentors. The prize money helps build profitable and sustainable businesses that scale, create jobs and produce more pockets of positive economic activity across our city. In addition all top ten finalists will be hosted in the incubator that forms part of the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Braamfontein.”

Dwolatzky says the top ten contestants “pitched their hearts out” and the final choice of the 2016 top three winners was painstaking, and the best ideas were finally selected.



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