Slack Bot Demo Wins #SmallBusinessWeek Hackathon

Community Manager

The Visa Developer team helped teams at the #SmallBusinessWeek Hackathon, which was co-sponsored by Visa and the US Small Business Administration. This was the first hackathon held during National Small Business Week.





The challenge: build a game-changing tool to help small business owners focus more on their true passion by reimagining small business financial management.



checkingin.jpgAnd that’s exactly what 65 developers, idea generators, designers and small business owners did in Washington, D.C., kicking off the U first ever hackathon during National Small Business Week. 


Developers made their way to the Ronald Regan Building Friday afternoon in hopes of landing one of the hackathon cash prizes: $10K for the grand prize, $7K for first runner up and $5K for second runner up.


Visa also offered a Visa Challenge, a $2K prize for the team that best used Visa Data and Analytic APIs in their hackathon solution.


Friday evening gave hackathon attendees an opportunity to form teams, get to know the Visa Dev and U.S. SBA support on-site, plus ask any questions about Visa Developer Platform APIs available for integration with their solutions.



Victor Zhiltsov, Sr. Director of the Visa Developer Center helped lead a workshop Saturday morning, giving developers a chance to ask any technical or product questions they had about our APIs. Victor introduced the small business filter for VDP APIs, a part of our

recent platform release that was provided to help developers easily navigate to APIs meant for small business solutions.


 Victor was also one of the Visa judges and noted that the particular backgrounds of and interplay between the attendees helped produce demo solutions for business owners:


 “It is always impressive and inspiring to see the level of talent of the developers at the hackathons. What was unique about this hackathon though is that several teams were organized by the actual small business owners, solving the actual day-to-day issues that the small businesses have. Hearing these small business owners tell their stories and present their solutions was very exciting,” he said. 


By the end of the weekend, 13 teams pitched their hackathon demos. We saw some very cool, creative and innovative solutions, including:


  1. An app for small businesses who are looking for lenders. This could help small business owners find a lender, based off scored business profiles, generated through data from SBA and Visa transactions. They used Visa’s Digital Card and Account Services.
  2. A social gifting platform for small to large businesses that utilizes Visa APIs like Visa Direct and Visa B2B Virtual Account Payments to authenticate users and merchants while facilitating payments from users and payments to both users and merchants.





While it was very hard to narrow it down to one, the winner of the #SmallBusinessWeek Hackathon was:


Hermyz, a bot that enables small businesses to manage and pay invoices using the Visa Direct API, which could eliminate the need for inefficient paper-based processes. Team members were Christopher Phillips, Mike Nabil, Sandro Guraspasvili, Zach Bauer and Mohamed Elkarim.





The winner of the Visa Challenge prize was:


DataBridge, a solution that simplifies business intelligence for small businesses and gathers customer information based on geo-location allowing businesses to target marketing campaigns specific to demographic and geographic segments. The team was led by a DC small business owner who used Visa APIs including:

  • Visa Merchant Locator
  • Merchant Measurement and
  • Merchant Search

DataBridge team members included Yingquan Li, William Lemus, Tekle Ayele, Andrew Kim, Hua Wang.




The hackathon represented the kickoff of Visa’s role as the Presenting Sponsor of National Small Business Week. “This event was a great extension of the strong partnership we’ve had with the U.S. Small Business Administration over the past decade”, said Justin King, VP of Visa Small Business Product. “The foundation of our partnership is based on a common goal of enabling small businesses to thrive, and that was the outcome this weekend.”, he continued.


Congrats, to all developers and stay tuned as we catch-up with winners to learn more about their projects. Watch the full recap below!



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