With over 203 entries made to the MTN Momo API Challenge which was aimed at bringing to book cashless solutions relying on the free to use Mobile Money API. MTN Uganda sieved 9 solutions out of 23 during the final pitch sessions as winners of the challenge with a hefty pack of pre-seed cash prizes awarded today.
All Winners graved with UGX 10M, 7M, and 5M respectively for the Winner, 1st runner up and 2nd runner up respectively. Additionally, all winning solutions are expected to go through more stages where successful entrants will grab a slice of the UGX 1Bn startup fund in the MTN Innovation challenge series.
At the handover ceremony, MTN Uganda’s acting CEO Gordian Kyomukama was ecstatic of the role by his Yello team towards the development of financial innovations in Uganda. As a matter of fact, the concluded OPEN API challenge is one of those innovation challenges aimed at supporting new solutions financially as the telecom has always pulled off annual challenges.
The Application categories
The MTN OPEN API Challenge was run on a sum of 3 application categories, Transport, Horeca and Distribution in FMCG. Over 203 individuals and teams registered for the challenge, but only 22 teams made it to the final sections with 3 winners awarded in each category.
Transport: Apps digitized through MTN Mobile money with payments for delivery or use of local services in the transport sector.
HORECA: Features apps digitized through MTN Mobile Money payments for service delivery/consumption in Hotels, Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes.
Distribution in FMCG: A category with apps digitized through MTN Momo with payments made within a selected FMCG (Fast moving consumer good) value chain.
As each category featured 3 winners with 1 overall and 2 runner-ups. The Prize packages included a pre-seed cash prize, entry to compete for seed funding from the MTN Startup Fund, Plus an entry to the Yello accelerator programme to further build their startups.
The OPEN API Winning solutions
Among the winning solutions, the transport category was topped by Easy Matatu, a ride hailing app focused on making ordinary Taxis accessible through an app, Endobo would further bring cashless payments to the same league of drivers, and lastly Yo waste takes the trash stress off Urban residents by making garbage collectors accessible through a mobile app.
In the Horeca category, App About allows every city dweller to receive notification of events in nearby areas and reserve early slots, as EPay cruises in with a digital payments portal which would make utility payments easy and instant through an app.
Additionally, Sowani would make hotel/restaurant/cafe bookings and reservations easy through mobile money with a user making choices before checking in.
Lastly in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) lane, Minute 5 is an online grocery portal where a user would shop perishables and have them delivered to their doorsteps, as Powell pay would allow users to pay for goods by simply scanning a QR code or enter merchant code to clear the bill without using Momo pay or Airtel Pay in any way.
Interestingly hardware materials would be much accessible to contractors through the Engineering connections portal by simply booking and clearing all materials through a mobile app and delivered to the construction site.
Next steps for the winning solutions
The MTN OPEN API Challenge was executed online with a numerous pound of physical engagements in form of trainings and mentorship sessions were conducted in partnership with Innovation Village. Not only did all 22 teams receive enough training for the next steps of execution, but also a big boost to refine their applications for a real-world touch.
However, the 9 overall winning solutions now face an even harder task of bringing their ideas to life as startups in the Ugandan ecosystem. As a matter of fact, most solutions are already operating in the country and you can choose to try their texture in a real-world scent by downloading any of the winning apps from the play store.
Furthermore, MTN has unveiled a new app collection store where all local startups will be able to upload their solutions for a public eye through the new Yello Market Place accessible via mtn.co.ug/marketplace. So, the story has not ended yet for the winning solutions but instead a headstart boost to the Ugandan ecosystem.