TechnoVera, a Joburg-based medical startup, has been crowned the winner of the second edition of the City of Joburg’s #HackJozi Startup Challenge, walking away with R1 million for their business.

TechnoVera’s idea is to provide smart lockers that reduce the average waiting time for patients collecting chronic medication at primary healthcare collection facilities. The idea is simple: secure cabinets full of lockers are installed in clinics, which can be pre-filled with medicines ready for collection. Instead of spending hours waiting for a chemist, patients are sent a code via SMS that unlocks their cabinet.

“I was a patient, collecting medication from my clinic. I got very frustrated by the fact that I spent a lot of time in the queue for medication. TechnoVera was born from that experience,” the startup’s founder, Neo Hutiri, said.

The awards ceremony was held this evening at the Wits University Club in Milpark where the city’s Acting Mayor and Member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development, Ruby Mathang, announced the winner.

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, came in third. Each received R350 000.

Over 400 applicants applied for this year’s competition.

Entries were selected for ideas under any of the following categories:

  • General
  • Public spaces/tourism
  • Smart infrastructure
  • Economic development

The 400 were then narrowed down to 100, 20 semi-finalists and then the final top 10, selected at the beginning of this month,

The top 10 went through a rigorous bootcamp, mentorship and development process that began at the end of March.

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

Mathang commended the finalists, saying that the city is 10 new ideas richer through their innovative startups.

According to Professor Barry Dwolatzky of the from the Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering at Wits University, the winners do not receive their prizes as a cash hand-out but will instead be closely guided and supported by experienced mentors in using their prizes to build scalable businesses that will create jobs and contribute positively to the city’s economy.

The other eight finalists don’t walk away empty-handed, they will be hosted at the Digital Innovation Zone (DIZ) in Braamfontein for a year.

Dwolatzky added that #HackJozi is part of a 10-year vision by Wits and the city’s to make Braamfontein and Joburg synonymous with tech entrepreneurship.

“We are building our own Silicon Valley right here in Johannesburg Central,” he said.

Last year’s winner, Desmond Mongue, who was crowned at the inaugural #HackJozi Challenge, was also in attendance at the awards ceremony.

The City of Joburg said it already has plans underway for the 2017 #HackJozi Challenge.