Mom and pop. Brick and mortar. The local shop. These are some of the many names small businesses go by, but there is definitely nothing small about how many have opened shop in the United States.
There are an estimated 28 million small businesses in the US, outnumbering corporations 1508 to 1. However, over 50% of those won’t make it past year 5. Visa and U.S. Bank want to change that and partnered up to host the Hack Big for Small Business Hackathon in Atlanta over the weekend.
“Small Businesses are the backbone of the US economy. At Visa, we are working on understanding pain points that Small Business owners face on a daily basis and where possible, using technology to help alleviate them,” said Kaushal Mehta, Sr. Director of Small Business Product and Initiatives at Visa.
The Hackathon challenged developers to reimagine how small businesses operate in areas like staffing, supplier relations, inventory management, payments and costs of goods.
“The biggest challenge for Small Businesses is just time. Being able to find time throughout the day, because they are wearing so many different hats and doing so many different functions. Anything that allows them to more efficiently and effectively run their business, that’s the win. A win for them and a win for us,” said Craig Hodnett, Sr. VP, RPS Small Business Card Product Team at U.S. Bank.
Using U.S. Bank and Visa APIs along with third party APIs, we tasked attendees to build solutions that help small business owners better manage things such as their inventory procurement and management process – staying on top of quantity, costs and any incentives that may benefit their business.
121 developers, designers and innovators lined up early Saturday morning at the Atlanta Tech Village with the hopes of landing a hackathon cash prize: $7K for 1st place, $5K for 2nd place & $3K for 3rd place.
Visa also provided an additional $3K for the team who best used Visa APIs.
Day one was all about ideation, team formation and setting the foundation for small business solutions. 18 brave souls pitched their idea on stage in hopes of forming the perfect team. Ideas ranged from automated kiosks for quicker payments to platforms that project how much payments would be for payroll. Once idea pitches wrapped up, attendees networked and grouped off in their corners to start building.
Attendees were then given technical overviews of the APIs available from U.S. Bank as well as the Visa Developer Platform. The capabilities offered, would be the driver to bring their demos to life.
U.S. Bank offered several APIs. Some included data on transaction history, current balance of accounts, and location details on U.S. Bank branches or ATMs.
The Visa Developer APIs highlighted were Visa Supplier Matching Service, Visa Queue Insights, Merchant Measurement, Merchant Search and Locator. Developers weren’t limited to those, they had the option to explore all APIs.
By Sunday morning, 19 teams were on the list to demo their final product. They had three minutes to pitch their ideas, with judges getting 1 minute to ask questions.
After much deliberation, the winners of the Hack Big for Small Business are:
1st Prize - Big Data 4 Small Business
Small Businesses lack the capability to access data about their customer interactions. They struggle to understand what is driving the purchasing behavior? What is not impacting these behaviors? Small Business need the same customer analytics that Big Businesses have, allowing them adapt to unknown factors affecting their operational execution and customer experiences. The hack offers merchant-defined enrichment promoting analytics tailored to the merchant with local and industry comparisons.
This team also took home the Visa Special Prize for best use of Visa APIs.
2nd Prize - Visa PODS
The solution is a plug-in for your browser that intercepts the payment transaction before it is completed. Allowing the manager to make an effective business decision.
3rd Prize - Invendors
The team built an app that automates when you should order supplies and resudces the cost by combining your order for an item with another bulk-buyer, the price that both of you pays will drop.