By Prince Osuagwu
Three start-ups, Blended, Mavericks solutions and Lagos Pay, have emerged winners in the just-concluded Cashless Lagos Hackathon organised by digital payments company, Visa, in partnership with a Lagos State establishment.
The hackathon hosted an array of Nigerian software developers, programmers, coders, data specialists and designers who developed technology-based financial solutions to allow MSMEs make and receive payments, make bulk purchases and keep transaction inventory.
About seven finalists, including Cash Box, Akuk Wallet, Trade Kiosk, Eko wallet and the three winners emerged after a three-day hacking boot camp hosted at the Vibranium Valley in Lagos, before Blended, Mavericks and Lagos Pay carted away the first, second and third prizes respectively. Blended won the grand prize of N2 million with its solution that allows merchants get validation of transactions via USSD with mobile phone numbers as User pass and authentication. Maverick took the second position of N1million with a mobile-based solution that allows merchants pay for services, schedule appointments in advance while also keeping track of their payment inventories. The third prize winner, Lagos Pay, developed a solution that collects payments electronically, by leveraging already existing payment channels, and incentivizing payments with rewards and points, clinching a N500,000 reward in the process. The grants will be used for the development of the solutions, courtesy of Visa.
The winning solutions were said to have been selected based on impact, design, innovation, user-interface and customer validation.
Speaking at the event, General Manager, Visa West Africa, Kemi Okusanya, expressed Visa’s deep commitment in ensuring that merchants have access to innovative technologies to make and receive payments.
He said: “We constantly strive to reduce reliance on cash, and encourage the development of a digital payments ecosystem for both individuals and businesses. I am very impressed with the quality of solutions developed by these teams and look forward to seeing them adopted by businesses across Nigeria.”
Visa and its partner say the winning teams have created solutions with the possibility of solving payment issues experienced by small businesses, adding that if businesses optimize payments and grow, it will not only improve the state’s economy, but also create new jobs.
Okusanya said it will continue to build platforms that develop home grown technology solutions usable in Nigeria and beyond.