TinyLoop wins H2O Hackathon, bags R20 000 grand prize

Thomas Bartleman from TinyLoop, the winner of the Startupbootcamp Cape Town water-saving Hackathon
Thomas Bartleman from TinyLoop, the winner of the Startupbootcamp Cape Town water-saving Hackathon

TinyLoop has been announced as the winner of the H20 Hackathon which was held last weekend (9 and 10 February) by accelerator Startupbootcamp Cape Town (SBC) and financial services provider RCS Group.

The winning project, submitted by the TinyEco team led by Thomas Bartleman (pictured above), walked away with a R20 000 grand prize and a corporate deal with Thundafund.

“TinyLoop is a closed-loop shower system that recycles (less than) 10 litres of water for a continuous, guilt-free shower experience,”said Bartleman in a press release yesterday.

“It allows you the opportunity to enjoy showering while staying well below the current Level 6B water restrictions allocation of 50 litres per person. TinyLoop is also the first proactive step towards combating the ‘new normal’ of water scarcity and a growing population in the Western Cape and South Africa,” he added.

TinyLoop’s closed-loop shower system recycles under 10 litres of water for use in showers

He said the hackathon had offered the team an opportunity to collaborate with and learn from individuals with different backgrounds and experiment with new ideas regarding the product.

“The mentorship from Startupbootcamp, their corporate partners, and the sponsors was just as valuable,” he added.

The team intends to use the prize money to improve its product capabilities, including a better filtration system.

The hackathon hosted executives from Old Mutual, Nedbank, RCS, Woolworths Financial Services, Thundafund and PwC who met with entrepreneurs, students, concerned citizens and local government.

Read more: Startupbootcamp Cape Town, RCS Group to take on Day Zero with H2O Hackathon

The judging panel consisted of Thundafund CEO Patrick Schofield, RCS Group’s Myles Coelho and SBC’s chief partnership officer Paul Nel.

“There is no doubt that collectively, people who have a passion to solve real issues, make a difference. This weekend’s hackathon was testimony to that. The participants came from a variety of backgrounds with different skills, but all had a desire to build real solutions,” said Nel.

“It is vital that we as a community work together on solutions. By providing the environment to do so, we are assured of change. It was so beautiful to see the creative minds crafting the ideas into tangible opportunities,” he added.

The two-day hackathon also featured an investment masterclass by SBC co-founder and chief investment officer Zachariah George and a pitch presentation workshop by SBC co-founder and CEO Philip Kiracofe. Schofield also gave hackathon participants tips on building sucessfful crowdfunding campaigns.


One of the teams in attendance at the hackathon, TapOff, created an online platform that aims to inform, empower and gamify residential water use so residents use 50 litres or less per person per day. Another team, Golden Flow, decided to demonstrate the ability to close the loop on unrecycled water. By recycling treated effluent, they are developing easier and more efficient ways of using grey water.

Another team also dabbled in recycling grey water with a residential filtration system. Water Tickets offered a simple solution for reserving time slots at water collection spots, and an additional feature to enable neighbours, friends, or members of the community to collect water on behalf of people who will be unable to (including sick and elderly).

Startupbootcamp FastTracks

In the same statement, SBC stated that the innovative ideas brought to the fore at the hackathon prove that tech talent “oftentimes lies undiscovered within our communities”.

The accelerator hopes to bring out entrepreneurs, startups and ideas to the global market, and it is looking for tech solutions in every industry.

Startupbootcamp Cape Town is now embarking upon a global FastTrack tour to source top-tier tech startup talent solving real African problems.

Any startup operating in the fintech, cybersecurity, insurtech, ecommerce, retailtech and related industries is encouraged to join in the FastTracks. Attending a SBC FastTrack can offer startups feedback from mentors and subject experts, startups will be able to engage with the Startupbootcamp global community and will also be able to meet with industry executives and be exposed to worldwide opportunities.

FastTracks also give startups the advantage of being added to the SBC Cape Town watch list, which gives you a 20% higher chance of being selected for the final programme.

“We believe that Africa is the frontier of innovation for the next few decades. Developed and developing countries have vastly different needs in the 21st century and we, as Africans, need to apply solutions that will succeed in the long term. Large scale solutions, especially when it comes to basic human needs like energy and water, will not sustain the continent in the long run and will simultaneously take its toll on the environment,” said Bartleman.

“We need to work together to implement small-scale, regenerative solutions to show the rest of the world how to live in harmony with nature,” he added.

SBC Cape Town’s three-month accelerator programme will kick off in September. SBC chooses 10 startups from hundreds of applications to join the programme and the 10 will be exposed to global investors, corporate sponsors, thought leaders and mentors from every industry.

“We want every startup to know that even if you don’t make it into the final accelerator, our FastTrack events can provide incredible guidance and mentorship and can fundamentally shift a growing business,” advises George.

For more information on Startupbootcamp and the FastTrack tour click here.

To apply for the Cape Town FastTrack, click here.

Ventureburn is a Startupbootcamp Cape Town media partner



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