Three Nairobi-based software engineers are heading to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona after winning a mobile money hackathon at the Africa edition of the GSMA Mobile 360 Series.

The three engineers โ€“ Okal Otieno, Obat Okello and David Ngugi - from transaction and predictive technology platform JUMO , were invited to MWC, the world's largest gathering for the mobile industry, after winning the Mobile Money API Hackathon at the GSMA event, which took place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 2016.

The hackathon judges โ€” who included Tigo Tanzaniaโ€™s Head of Mobile Financial Services Ruan Swanepoel, innovation hub KINU CEO and co-founder Jones Mrusha, and GSMAโ€™s Mobile Money Services Director, Gunnar Camner โ€” assessed a broad range of solutions, including agent apps, consumer apps, ecommerce solutions, merchant payment options and more.

The JUMO engineers took first place for developing a seamless virtual checkout system, dubbed โ€˜Lane Zeroโ€™, using harmonised APIs and QR codes. The reason why they went with harmonized APIs is because they reduce complexity and fragmentation and are beneficial to all mobile money ecosystem players.

The criteria used for the hackathon were commercial viability, functionality and use of the APIs, user experience, impact for end users, and overall innovativeness.

โ€œOn behalf of our team weโ€™re thankful for the win against tough competition,โ€ said JUMOโ€™s Director of Engineering Sam Kitonyi. โ€œNow weโ€™re counting down to Mobile World Congress which will give our team exposure to the industry-leading platform in mobile innovation globally.โ€

Over the past year, GSMA has collaborated with key mobile network operators, platform vendors and third parties within the mobile money ecosystem to define harmonised mobile money APIs for the industry.

Mobile Word Congress Barcelona is the headline event on the GSMA calendar. This year's Congress will feature a range of internationally-acclaimed speakers and industry leaders such as GSMA Chairman and Founder and Chairman of Bharti Airtel, Sunil Bharti Mittal, and Netflix Founder and CEO, Reed Hastings.

The JUMO engineers will also take part in the Nairobi Tech Week from 22โ€“25 March where the company is a headline sponsor.

Cover Image: L to R - Okal Otieno, David Ngugi, and Obat Okello | JUMO

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