In a dynamic showcase of entrepreneurial talent and technological innovation, Microsoft Corporation has collaborated with Get Funded Africa to host an electric vehicle (EV) hackathon at the Microsoft African Development Centre in Lagos. 

The event provided a platform for startups, engineers, and visionaries to demonstrate their potential in revolutionising the EV landscape.

Top Winners include:

Trekscotters – A startup facilitating Scooter Access:  Esther Ehindero, co-founder of Trekscotters, emerged as the standout winner. Her groundbreaking IoT platform simplifies scooter access for university students and residents in densely populated areas. For this achievement, Ehindero received a cash prize of N3 million.

Helgg – Supporting Clustered Communities: Johnson Jaiyeola of Helgg secured the second spot. His IoT application aims to support clustered communities in Lagos with their EV needs. Jaiyeola was awarded N1.5 million for his innovative solution. His micro-mobility startup focuses on eco-friendly transportation solutions through app-based electric scooter rentals.

Read also: Microsoft releases sign language functionality

Their target? Estates and university campuses with smooth roads and supportive communities. By bridging short distances that are inconvenient to walk but not ideal for cars, Helgg caters to the “last-mile” needs of urban dwellers. And here’s the clever twist: they operate outside the purview of complex government regulations by partnering directly with these communities. A percentage of each transaction goes back to the estate or campus management. Safety is paramount, with designated lanes and informative signage enhancing the experience.

Celloop – Recycling End-of-Life Batteries: Lolade Alonge, representing Celloop, focuses on recycling end-of-life batteries for efficient reuse. Her startup claimed the third spot, earning her a cash prize of N500,000. By closing the loop on battery life cycles, Celloop contributes to a greener future.

Other Noteworthy Participants

Several other promising startups participated in the hackathon:

GreenMiles: Omoseni Alex presented GreenMiles, a pay-as-you-go battery replacement solution for EVs.

Mobilita: Ola Olawuyi and Titi Masha showcased Mobilita, a platform specializing in converting traditional motorcycles and three-wheel vehicles into EVs.

Insights from the Judges

The esteemed panel of judges included industry experts Temitope Edun (Project Executive, OANDO Clean Energy), Olaniyi Aisida (Director of Business Development and Government Relations), and Samuel Ahanor (CEO, Magnus Samuel Limited).

Speaking on behalf of the judges, Edun emphasized Nigeria’s fertile ground for innovative ideas. She encouraged all participants to persevere despite socioeconomic constraints, emphasizing that the Microsoft African Development Centre (MSADC) is a place where great ideas can flourish.

During the pitch evaluations, Ahanor advised participants to prepare for government regulation as the EV industry evolves. He recommended engaging with the Nigerian Automobile Development Centre to align with standards and frameworks, avoiding future challenges.

Read also: Microsoft announces it is selling Teams Chat, Video App separately

Building the Future of E-Mobility

Nkem Nweke, Innovation Lead at the ADC, praised the participating developers as a testament to Nigerian capabilities. These innovators are laying the foundation for the e-mobility space in Africa. Nweke acknowledged that while 80% of Africans face socioeconomic challenges, their solutions cater to both urban and local populations, bridging gaps and driving progress.

The Microsoft-powered hackathon not only celebrated breakthroughs but also highlighted the collaborative spirit and determination of Nigeria’s startup ecosystem. As the EV industry gains momentum, these visionary entrepreneurs are poised to shape the future of sustainable transportation for Africans, by Africans.