Smart Cities: 10 Digital Solutions By South African Startups That Are Getting Attention And Money

Smart Cities: 10 Digital Solutions By South African Startups That Are Getting Attention And Money

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The City of Johannesburg asked tech entrepreneurs to develop digital solutions by South African startups for everyday Johannesburg problems and enter their digital ideas in the #Hack.Jozi Challenge.

Organizers said they were overwhelmed with the response, not just in quantity but the quality of applicants.

The top 100 — all start-up entrepreneurs — attended an entrepreneurship and business training boot camp to help them develop their ideas into businesses. The top 20 received additional business mentorship.

Now the list has been narrowed down to the top 10 of the 2016 #Hack.Jozi Challenge.

The stakes are high. One of the 10 will win 1 million rand ($67,000 US) and two runners up which will each win 350,000 rand ($23,465 US). The top three will have a business mentor guide them on how to use the prize money to further develop their ideas into a successful profitable businesses.

#Hack.Jozi Challenge is a project of the City of Johannesburg and the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering at Wits University.

“The 2016 short list of 10 finalists is an impressive list of young people with new and innovative ideas in the digital arena,” said Ravi Naidoo, executive director of economic development for the City of Johannesburg. “After a rigorous process that has been playing out over the past six weeks, we now have 10 superb businesses which have fought through three rounds of the competition and have been judged on the technical feasibility of their venture, scalability and the wow factor.”

A demo day is planned May 13.

Other South African government agencies such as the City of Cape Town and the Department of Water and Sanitation have taken a cue from Johannesburg to embrace the digital era in their environments and encourage tech innovation as a way to address relevant problems and promote entrepreneurship, Naidoo said in a prepared statement.

Feedback from participants has been positive, according to Hack.Jozi Challenge organizers.

“My developer and I struggled for six months to solve one of the issues on our application,” said Barend Craven, an entrepreneur at TimeWize, one of the top 10 contestants. His startup developed a tool for parents that addresses screen-time issues with children and their Android devices. “Prof Barry Dwolatzky of the JCSE suggested a solution in five minutes that solved our problem.”

The top three winners of the 2016 #HackJozi Challenge will be announced May 19.

The top 10 will become members of the ICT Hub in Braamfontein, a Wits University initiative under the leadership of Professor Barry Dwolatzky.

Its successful launch in 2015 resulted in 5 million rand ($335,197) from the City of Johannesburg for the second #Hack.Jozi Challenge this year.

“This competition is designed to accelerate early stage ICT startups,” Naidoo said. “It supports capacity development, job creation and enterprise development in our city.”

These are the top 10 contestants of #HackJozi Challenge 2016.

Source: #HackJozi Challenge

digital solutions by South African startups
Outpatients wait to receive chronic medication at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Johannesburg
Photo: Tsheko Kabasia/timeslive.co.za


Smart lockers are intended to reduce the average waiting time for patients collecting chronic medication at primary healthcare collection facilities from hours to just a few minutes.

“We use technology to address the challenge of long waiting times for chronic stable patients that are currently spending hours every month queuing when they need to refill their script. We want to improve patient care by ending the indignity of long queues,” TechnoVera said.

Sources: ehealthnews,

digital solutions by South African startups


This system prepares and automatically marks multiple choice questions. Advanced features are being offered to educational institutions to analyze and report on the information.

digital solutions by South African startups


This online platform allows building plans and other related documents to be uploaded or downloaded for the purposes of obtaining building approval from local authorities.

digital solutions by South African startups
Nelson Mandela Bridge, Johannesburg. Photo: dentons.com


Designed for all property sector stakeholders, this integrated online due diligence portal is available on multiple platforms.

digital solutions by South African startups


This startup is building an online platform that aims to automate the functions of a traditional financial advisor.

digital solutions by South African startups


This pickup and drop-off laundry service ensures clothes are cleaned and dry-cleaned to the highest standards.

digital solutions by South African startups


The LCERT (Low Cost Educational Robotics Toy) Kit includes hardware, software and activities.

Robots are becoming popular education tools in middle and high schools, raising interest in programming, artificial intelligence, and robotics among students.

They can be an effective and fun way to inspire students to learn about science, math, technology and their applications, but tend to be expensive. Specialized hardware, software, and complex assembly increase the cost of robots, making them prohibitive for wide-scale adoption by schools.

Source: Harvard.edu

digital solutions by South African startups


An online marketplace where the demand for sound, pragmatic and sustainable advice by businesses is matched to the supply of high quality business experts from South Africa’s top business schools and business consultancies.

digital solutions by South African startups

TimeWize Parental Control

A tool for parents to address screen-time issues with their children and their Android devices.

digital solutions by South African startups


A mobile application that looks to connect tutors with students for tutoring services.