I first came across this hackathon in my mailbox. I’m a part of the Ingressive4Good community so I get regular updates of partnerships and available online tech courses but this was a rare sighting for me. I like challenges as they help stretch my mind. What did this hackathon have to offer?
I would say there were more challenges than the theme of the hackathon portrayed, however the core problem defined by the organizers is as quoted:
When historical transactions or account owner identity is to be made, brands and businesses in the payment space are faced with not being able to retrieve such information which results in delayed transactions, waste of time and loss of money.
A quick research showed that Mono, the hackathon partner, provides access to such data. The challenge was then to turn this data into useful information that would aid business decisions and improve the rate of transactions.
To introduce participants to the hackathon and pass along information, a general group was created for all participants. This group contained a pool of diverse talents, from software developers to social media influencers, everyone was welcome. However, the hackathon ruled that every team cap their member count at four.
Moments to the start of the hackathon saw a raging hunt for talent. Alexandra, who would eventually be our Product Manager — and godmother of the name ‘bitBybit’ — took a leap of faith and created an open brainstorming channel were everyone could bounce ideas and refine them as much as possible. This channel had over 30 members, down more than 400 members compared with the main group.
I joined the channel a little late but was able to catch the brainstorming session. We had this session in the dead of the night, leading up to the commencement of the hackathon. I had tasked myself with creating a pitch deck immediately to reflect our thoughts. Then came the most important section of the pitch: the team.
To meet the deliverables of a live product within three days, we needed at least one team member to focus on the User Interface, the Frontend and the Backend. Given my experience with UI/UX Design, Business Analysis and a stint with Mobile and Python Development, I opted to play the role of a Product Designer. Alex, who has core strengths in backend development with experience in frontend stack opted to serve as the Product Manager and coordinate the team. Damilola Ezekiel, also a member in the brainstorming channel stepped in as our lead Frontend developer along with Damilola Dolor — originator of the idea behind bitBybit — partnering up as our lead Backend Developer.
What if I told you that you could pay bit by bit for a purchase while making money off each payment? — Yup, I introduced our pitch with that line. Corny? You bet.
The sole aim of bitBybit is to take burdens off consumers looking to make purchases. Spending is necessary for people. Workers are more productive when their needs are met, and spending is also necessary to keep any currency going strong. The fluctuating rate of inflation in Nigeria could trigger panic buying in the economy which could further jack up the prices of commodities. When consumers have peace of mind that they can pay for a purchase at any time, the pressure of panic buying on suppliers reduces which could also lower prices.
Providing investment options also helps take some burden off consumers by reducing the overall cost of certain purchases. With an option to prepay some payments in a long-term plan, consumers could choose to invest those payments and make some returns.
Sometimes emergencies come up, life happens, and we’d need a little support. By providing an avenue to crowdfund payments, bitBybit could help take some more pressure off consumers who suffer unexpected loss.
Each team had two minutes to pitch and demo their idea. Time naturally was of the essence so we went straight to the point and provided minimal information in our pitch deck thanks to Canva templates. We majorly focused on four things in the pitch: the problem, the solution, the target market and how we’d make money.
Afterwards, we proceeded to demo the MVP. Given the timeframe of the hackathon, we were able to implement Mono’s Connect APIs which connects to a user’s financial institution and retrieve financial statements. This is necessary to determine the probability of a user committing to making payments.
The rest of the demo was performed used prototyped high-fidelity design mockups made with Figma.
What’s next for bitBybit after winning this Hackathon? Important question.
This idea, though spurred out of a need to participate in a hackathon, has shown tremendous potential to be feasible and desirable in an economy — like that of Nigeria. The bitBybit team will continue to develop and refine this idea with input from consumers and business owners as well as industry experts and leaders.
The story doesn’t end here for bitBybit.
Watch this space.