Breaking the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest hackathon, the Hajj Hackathon brings together about 3,000 different product developers dedicated to improving the lives of pilgrims. Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak, TechCrunch’s Mike Butcher, RiseUp’s Abdelhameed Sharara, and other local and international experts were all featured on the panel that judged finalists and their products.
Tarjuman, an Android-only mobile application, wooed the judges and took first place. The four Saudi Arabian women who developed the app were awarded with SAR 1 million, which converts to over $265,000 (for 15% of the equity). The app helps pilgrims translate signboards without having to connect to the internet, and only requires that the signboard adds a QR code that the app can scan. This makes implementation relatively easy and cost-effective. Using a QR code makes it universally simple, as the app immediately translates the signboard to the user’s phone’s default language.
Hajj Wallet, a fintech invention developed by an Egyptian made up of three members, took second place. The team was awarded SAR 500,000 – over $130,000 (for 10% of the equity). Hajj Wallet is a mobile wallet that enables pilgrims to pay for different products and services while they are staying in Saudi Arabia for Hajj or Umrah. Like Tarjuman, it uses the simplicity and accessibility of a QR code to make transferring, depositing, and spending money simply while abroad.
An Algerian social network called Roaa took third place, winning SAR 350,000 – about $100,000 (for 7.5% of the equity). Users can take pictures during Hajj and upload them to Roaa so that friends and family can not only see the image, but also the exact location in which it was taken. The technology uses facial recognition to tag users in photos that their friends and family upload, making it easy to document their Hajj experience.