API or Application Programming Interface is a set of subroutine definitions, protocols, and tools for building application software. A good API means that it is easier for developers to develop programs. Realizing the importance of API’s, Abacus Consulting in collaboration with Telenor, Telenor Bank, JS Bank, Apigee, Careem, and Momentum Tech Conference organized Pakistan’s first ever APIthon (a Hackathon for API) that was held at National Incubation Center, Lahore on 13th and 14th January.
Individuals and startup teams comprising of two to four members participated in the competition that allowed participants to use open APIs provided by the partner organizations. The participants were then asked to solve specific problems either by developing new platforms or to improve the existing ones.
The host team and the participants were equally excited to be part of the event and all of them were of the opinion that APIs not only provide access to important data but acts as a great launchpad for newcomers in the industry. They further added that today many tech giants like Facebook, Uber have incorporated APIs in their business models.
Other than the regular completion, APIthon also opened up endless business opportunities for the participants as they got an opportunity to meet industry leaders who were at the event as mentors. These mentors conducted different seminars, training sessions and key note speeches that made APIthon a perfect platform for enterprises, tech startups, entrepreneurs and developers to share knowledge and build trust.
While speaking to the participants, Abbas Khan, Managing Director of Abacus Consulting said: “Nearly 25% of the world’s economy is now said to be digital, and, the digital wave is spreading faster than ever before and any transaction leaves a digital footprint which itself is a digital asset. That’s the essence of APIs and digital assets that they are reusable. It can then be fed into big data platforms and it can be used in a number of different ways.”
While giving quick advice to the participants, the speakers focused on adopting a “rapid prototype model” saying that instead of polishing an idea to perfection, the better thing was to get products out in the market and get real feedback from real users.
The participants were given time till 12 PM on 14th January to integrate the APIs in their applications and the results were announced by 5 PM. DreamX', a team of young individuals ended as winners and were awarded the Telenor Velocity second round entry along with PKR 1 lac from JS Bank while ‘Repair Wala’ and ‘eKhata’ stood as first and second runner up respectively.
Team members from MIT Enterprise Forum Pakistan - a project of Information Technology University - and one of the 28 chapters of MIT Enterprise Global joined the event as observers and local entrepreneurial partners. The MITEFP team networked with organizers and participants. They discussed on matters of mutual interest, aims and objectives and the long term benefits of organizing similar events on a collaborative platform.