The winner of the Safaricom and Vodafone App Star Challenge has finally been announced. It is AutoMs.gs, a mobile app that makes it easier to automates text messages sending to any number on your mobile phone ensuring that you never forget those special occasions, presented by Joe Njeru in the local challenge and Bernard Mokango at the finals – both from Zilojo. “I still cannot believe I have won. This feels like a dream to me,” said Bernard upon being announced the winner of the competition. He also lauded institution like Nairobits in Nairobi’s South B estate where he got software and mobile application development training on at no cost and urged more youth to take advantage of such opportunities to learn and put Kenya on the map as the true Silicon (digital) Savannah. This year’s AppStar competition saw 2 Kenyan startups, Soccer Story an app designed to help a football manager move a team from the lower leagues to the national league by Kevin Oti, and AutoMs.gs, an SMS scheduler App that allows the automatic sending of personalized text messages on pre-scheduled dates, battle it out with 6 other startups from Tanzania, South Africa and India for the top prize in the competition which is now in its second year. The winning App will take home 12,000 USD, while the 2nd and 3rd placed apps will each be awarded 6,000 USD and 4,000 USD respectively. The 2nd runner up is Matchbox, a game developed by a developer of Indian origin. 3rd place was taken by South Africa’s , Go Metro, an app that displays train times, fares and announcements. Go Metro is form Cape Town and it won 1st place in the local Vodafone AppStar competition in South Africa.
“Safaricom looks at this and other similar competitions as milestones towards creating a vibrant Apps development economy aimed at providing thousands of jobs to the youth,” said Safaricom’s Chief Executive Officer, Bob Collymore.
Other applications that won prizes include:
- House Wife Manager – Java App Category Winner
- Best User Interface, Local Overall Winner, and a consolation prize – Soccer Story
- Most Practical App – Find Me by Seth Kigen
- Most Promising App – Deck by George
Consolation prizes went to Mobi Quick, Bid or Buy, Time, and Kilimo Fasta.
A total of 2,200 apps developers registered for this year’s Appstar challenge which commenced in September 2013 and out of these, 1,070 apps were developed out of which, the top 8 apps were selected following a rigorous mentorship and judging exercise. The Appstar Challenge is designed to provide developers in emerging markets with a platform through which to showcase their applications to a larger audience while at the same time affording them the opportunity to interact with developers from other countries. The competition also allows developers applications to be made available across the participating countries appstores.