48 Hours of Nokia hackathon end with SkinSwap raking in a Million

Nokia Hackathon Winners
L-R Jothan Nguri Nokia Hackathon 2012 2nd Runnerup - Quick Drums App,Mike Kivuva - Nokia Hackathon 2012 Winner - Skin Swap App,Andrew Mutua Nokia Hackathon 2012 1st Runnerup - Mhasibu App

Nokia Hackathon happened over the weekend at the Startup Garage, an event that saw 74 apps being developed and pitched to judges in what was a fun event. The event which was organized by Nokia and Emobilis called for QT developers to compete for the ultimate prize which was a million Kenya Shillings. It attracted 312 applications of which 120 were shortlisted, 74 apps made it for the show.  Activities of the day included coding apps in teams, publishing and user experience classes, shortlisting sessions which were several, debriefing, judges debriefing, applications presentations by demos, and finally the award ceremony.

Developers stayed the night and had a session where they were entertained by DJ Joe Mfalme of Capital Fm, to help bring in the fun at the event. There were also games, including foosball, Pool and video games. This was the environment that the developers had all through the hackathon. Late in the afternoon of Sunday, the developers got to pitch their apps, displaying what they offered to the users and the revenue model of the apps. There was only one app that was said to be free with no plans for monetizing. Judges for the hackathon were James Mwai, Mbugua Njihia, Muchiri Nyaga, Patricia Jumio and David Owino.

At the end of the shortlisting sessions by the judges, there were 13 finalists to showcase the apps, but 14 got to demo their apps. Out of the 14 that had this chance, Mike Kivuva of Skin Swap App got to win the developer competition million bob. His app gives users ability to change phone themes based on animals, they are able to change the backgrounds and also animal skins, such that an animal like a wolf can spot sheep’s clothing and vice versa. The app also gives creatives a chance to upload their animal skins and backgrounds. His revenue model is by in app purchases of animal packs and skins.

First Runners up was Andrew Mutua with an app called Mhasibu that seeks to assist users manage their expenses, debts and give users alerts on pending bills. The 2 app won Ksh. 300,000 and the revenue model will be by a premium version of the app with more features.

Second runners up was Jotham Nguri with an app called QuickDrums. QuickDrums is an app that reminded me of the feature that was present in the Nokia 3310 that allowed one set tunes by entering music notes and playing them after playing. Difference here is that this one is a symbian app that is optimized for touch with extra features. Jotham called it a beat sequencing app to make a user have a mini-studio on the phone. QuickDrums enables one create beats and save them for music recording and Jotham took home 100,000 bob.

Nokia Hackathon Winners
L-R Jothan Nguri Nokia Hackathon 2012 2nd Runnerup – Quick Drums App,Mike Kivuva – Nokia Hackathon 2012 Winner – Skin Swap App and Andrew Mutua Nokia Hackathon 2012 1st Runnerup – Mhasibu App

According to Peter Karimi, Business Development Lead at Nokia EDX, the aim of the developer competition was not to reward them with money but to make them better developers with a better understanding of developing for the user as opposed to developing what they think is best. Nokia will also work closely with the developers who publish the apps on Nokia Store to ensure they have a successful publishing and also to refine their apps in order to give them great traction.