App teaching women to code takes the top prize at MasterCard’s Masters of Code hackathon

- April 2, 2015 2 MIN READ

The tech industry has long been a male-dominated industry and when it is dubbed as a sensitive issue with only 10% of women in this space, it calls a need for attention. MasterCard and AngelHack plans to change that long held perception, with the aim to empower women to be equally successful in tech startup scene.

In March, with the collaborated event “Masters of Code” hackathon, over 120 participants congregated at the co-working space 237.io. Coders and designers alike flocked to Singapore for a weekend dedicated to deliver their best app to the table. The two main topics was moving commerce beyond cash and a solution to improve the shopping experience utilising MasterCard APIs and simplified e-commerce payments.

The competition saw an impressive range of participants with over 21% being women. The winning idea stepped in line with Code Hackathon’s focus to empower women, developing an interactive app that could get girls interested in coding in a fun and engaging way, plugging the notion that women in the tech industry are grossly under-represented.

Named ‘One Small Step’ the app aims to displace the misconception of coding as an intimidating task but rather encourage girls to take small steps to gain better understanding of the technology around them. This is done by educating them through coding-centric games. By purchasing the app, users will then have the option to give back and donate to a scholarship fund that will help other women through a non-governmental organisation.

Runner-up, ‘Meal to Me’ satisfied the judge’s virtual tastebuds by coming up with a quirky idea of a meal sharing app where users can see whether other people have been cooking up a storm within their vicinity. They can then have the option to taste other people’s cooking by buying and selling meals to each other and then rate their ability through reviews. This means no more boring meals and allows anyone to share their love of cooking with their neighbours as well as helping build a real-life interactive community.

Honourable mention was given to another women-focused entry “Rebound.Me”, which targeted what every women has been through, the breakup. It’s common knowledge to know that a breakup entails the immediate need for a Ben & Jerry’s tub of ice-cream and a long cry whilst watching the Notebook.

Aimed towards 20 to 35 year olds, “Rebound.Me” offers such solution by fulfilling women’s shopping needs in what they’ve labelled as the three phases of recovery, the first being grieving – when girls can indulge in the sugary goodness and chick flicks. The second is embracing new experiences such as tickets to skydiving and doing something spontaneous; and the final recovery stage where users can look to help others like donating to charitable needs and volunteer work.

All teams worked their hardest over the 24 hour period in which they received guidance and mentoring by the MasterCard developers who helped with both the commercial input and coding itself.

The winning entry ‘One Small Step’ of five participants will be flown to Silicon Valley later in 2015 after seven other Masters of Code hackathons has been held in other cities.

The winners of each city will compete for the grand prize of US$100,000 and receive further mentoring from MasterCard for their app. Thrown in the prize pool is an opportunity to win a MasterCard Priceless California experience in Napa Valley as well as San Francisco.