Meet the 10 #HackJozi startups competing for a million rand prize

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Next week Wednesday, one tech startup will emerge as the winner of the City of Joburg’s inaugural HackJozi Challenge.

Over 140 startups submitted their applications for the competition earlier this year. That number was narrowed down to 50 in March and the judges chose the top ten in April.

The finalists have been put through their paces over the last few months at the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering, taking part in a business training program and hackathon hosted by SEED Academy and working on developing their solutions.

The thing that makes HackJozi a particularly intriguing competition is that the its open to all comers – no matter nascent the idea or well developed the startup business or personal background- and there’s real cash on the table as a prize, backed by the City of Joburg. In addition incubation, marketing support, mentorship and a program of skills training, the most promising startup will get an R1m cash injection to spend on business development, and two others will also receive R350 000 apiece. The City takes no equity stake in contenders.

The winners will be announced next week by city mayor Parks Tau.

“We have witnessed great enhancements to ideas from the start of the business training through to final delivery of a minimum viable product,” says Zolani Matebes, head of broadband at the City of Joburg.

“Entrepreneurs need access to seed funding as well as access to industry contacts. We have helped to resolve these challenges,” Matebes continues, “We will be incubating the winning ideas by awarding membership in the Digital Innovation Zone in Braamfontein, which provides access to various resources such as mentors, advisors, investors, technical support and our strategic partners.” got the chance to meet all the finalists (in addition to the two we already met in March). Here they are – and looking at the list below it’d be surprising if some of the companies which don’t win aren’t snapped up by local corporates looking for solutions to local problems. And if you didn’t enter this year, the plan at the moment is to make the competition annual – so watch this space.

ATINOV – Phathwa Senene

Phathwa Senene

Phathwa Senene is the founder of ATINOV and the creator of a solar-powered, 3D-printed community safety solution called the Scova Fire Reporting Device.

The Scova can be mounted on street light poles or any high, steady point and is designed to help informal settlement residents to quickly report a fire by hitting a panic button that’s attached to it and let emergency first responders get to affected areas quickly with the help of a camera located inside the device.

The Scova Fire Reporting Device
The Scova Fire Reporting Device

Diepsloot Kasi Hive

Diepsloot Kasi Hive is a shared workspace and skills training centre.

The Diepsloot Kasi Hive team have come up with a solution they hope will minimise long, agonising queues at government clinics that can unfortunately lead to patients waiting so long, they end up dying.

The Phila USSD booking system will allow patients to make bookings for a doctor’s appointment, check up or prescription pick up at a specified time most convenient for them.

Johannes Nkale, Hazel Mahlaba, Awelani Ligege, Helen Ramela, Lesiba Setumu, and Sipho Ngobeni, make up the entire team.


Taolo Modisi
Taolo Modisi, entrepreneur and former banker.

Taolo Modisi‘s app, Ghost, tackles the issues around royalties made by upcoming musicians trying to make a name for themselves in the music world.

Artists upload their profiles, videos and music for free onto the app and for every “like” their uploads get, the artists gets paid a certain amount of money and receive backing from various sponsors.

Ghost beta version
The current beta version of Ghost.


The How2Get2 team, Harold Mochesane, Kgalalelo Sehoho and Luvuyo Duma created the Vaya smartphone app and USSD service  to serve South Africa’s 15 million public transport users by providing them with detailed information on bus, train and taxi routes, fares, times, distances and so on.

Harold Mochesane, How2Get2 head of operations.
Harold Mochesane, How2Get2 head of operations.

iTEA Business Solutions

(From left) Sikhumbuzo Nkosi, Mzwakhe Kubheka, Mthokozisi Gwebu and Mpho Moroa
(From left) Sikhumbuzo Nkosi, Mzwakhe Kubheka, Mthokozisi Gwebu and Mpho Moroa

Mzwakhe Kubheka, Mpho Moroa, Mthokozisi Gwebu and Sikhumbuzo Nkosi are looking to shake up township economies around South Africa with their Township Economy App.

The app lets small and micro business owners market themselves and attract more business. In their plan, Kiosks with free WiFi connectivity will be set up in various locations where customers can connect and view profiles of all the listed businesses and interact online with the business owners.

Lazy Lizzard

Niel Pieters
Niel Pieters of Lazy Lizard.

Like many, Niel Pieters believes in having an avid interest in your child’s school work, but with so many other responsibilities and commitments, it’s hard for parents to help their kids out with homework and know how they’re coping with school work.

This is what motivated Pieters to create the Teachinator education app for school kids and parents.

Parents can use the Teachinator website to configure different tasks and homework they would their children to complete. From here, they’ll be able to see what their children are working on in real time and track their progress on all the work.

The Teachinator App
The Teachinator App.


The MoveThisStuff team
The MoveThisStuff team

Anyone who has moved to a new house or office knows how tasking it can be to find a suitable, verified mover. MoveThisStuff seeks to remove this hassle by linking customers with good quality logistics movement service providers in a few easy steps.

Logistics companies sign up and have their entire fleet stored and managed on MoveThisStuff.

Customers can get quotes, choose what vehicle they need, and map their current and new location on a map on the site.

When a customer has listed all their requirements, movers will be able to see who has a requested a service and can offer theirs along with a quote. The customer will get feedback and then choose which company best suits their needs. All of this happens in real-time.

Percy Lawrence and Jim Makuwa make up the MoveThisStuff team.


The PopApp coupon provider
The PopApp coupon provider.

The moWallet team, Desmond Mongue, Thato Selau and Carol Dutton, created the PopApp USSD coupon service for township tuckshop customers and owners. Locals can redeem a coupon for a specific brand product at their nearest tuck shop and save on the sometimes high cost of food.

Desmond Mongue
Desmond Mongue, founder of moWallet.

South African Trade Promotions

Stephen Oehley
Stephen Oehley wants to get more startups at more events.

Stephen Oehley’s XtendEvent apps lets businesses participate in exhibitions online at a reasonable without having to pay the high costs normally required with setting up a stand at big exhibitions. Other businesses and consumers can also easily engage with exhibitors straight from the app.

Trisan Tech Solutions

We love digital democracy apps here at
We love digital democracy apps here at

Trisan Tech Solutions developed the Municipal Communications app to assist residents with report service delivery issues in their community directly to their ward councillors.

Ward councillors, who also have the app, then forward these issues to the municpality to have them attended to. Residents can see once their requests have been taken up and will be notified when issues are resolved.

Trisan Tech Solutions is made up of three guys, Rendani Rammabulana, Nkanyiso Sibanda and Mandlenkosi Nhleko.