Leap Hackathon: Where Ideas Meet Innovation

Team Shadowfax

Demand fuelling a growth surge in Delivery

Innovation sure is a buzzword in all tech-enabled enterprises. What really makes it tick? When you think of a business engaged in getting goods from point A to point B, it’s hard to think a lot of innovation might be going on behind the screens. In the past year or so, since the pandemic struck and we were all forced to reconsider our spending habits and realised that going to the supermarket for a grocery run is not something we can take for granted. This also proved to be a boon for hyperlocal delivery players, among others. Through adaptability and hacks, the market stabilised and grew.


Subbu Swaminathan, VP, Engineering, Rakuten India, and one of our esteemed panelists, commenting on the nature of the Indian market said, “it is very unique in terms of, what we call it jugaad, and there's a lot of jugaad in the consumer space in India and there's a lot to learn from here for other markets.”


What the demand surge brought along with it is the need for value add and differentiation in service. When a customer orders a product online, be it grocery, electronics, fashion or groceries, they expect delivery in a time frame ranging from 15 minutes to 24 hours. The delivery experience has emerged as a crucial factor fuelling growth for businesses as they expand beyond saturated markets. 


From Stride to Leap

The idea behind Leap Hackathon is to address the need for a solid platform for innovators to tap into their problem solving skills and creativity and innovate to create delivery delight. The challenges arise from the unique intersection of last mile and hyperlocal delivery and technology. A seasoned jury of leading tech heads and biz heads got together to help teams refine their ideas and mentor them before final presentations and winners are chosen based on how innovative their ideas are, how apt and relevant to the problem statement, and their implementation through the prototypes. 


Arun Kumar, SVP, Engineering, FarEye, was particularly impressed with the enthusiastic participation, particularly from students across India, “ there’s a lot of enthu, a lot of innovation, a lot of out of the box thinking... the challenges were not easy but, it's mind boggling to see the energy from students to industry people.” 


Kicking off the Final stage of the Leap Hackathon, Co-founder and CEO of Shadowfax, in our BizTalks (add event link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_H-GgukiKA&t=265s) laid the foundation for the event very succinctly, “For an organisation like us, innovation has to be a cyclical affair. Innovation doesn’t happen in baby steps, it happens in big strides, and once you’ve taken big strides what is there to do but Leap! The idea is to bring the whole industry together with all the ideas that help us make the customer experience leap forward as well.” 


Problems & Innovations 

The last mile and hyperlocal delivery ecosystem presents myriad challenges for enterprises to address. Given that we are uniquely placed to envisage what value-adds will drive growth for the delivery experience, we presented our dynamic hackers with a primer on the supply chain ecosystem and 4 problem statements:

  1. Building a consistent customer experience in gig economy vs. mainstream economy
  2. Can 15 minute grocery deliveries and same-day e-commerce deliveries be done at scale?
  3. Build crowdsources support systems that lead to a happy fleet which ultimately leads to a great customer experience
  4. The travelling customer problem

Our champions - Team Sender, Team Bitcap, and Team Gandalf did not disappoint. While Sender chose to tackle the problem of building a consistent customer experience in gig economy vs. mainstream economy, team Bitcap and Team Gandalf chose to address the Need for speed in grocery and e-commerce delivery. 


Team Sender from Finnovate showcased a very innovative and impressive hack. They used BlockChain technology to capture validated details about the gig economy workers, thus helping to provide a consistent experience to end customers while also rewarding and benefiting the gig worker.


Saurav Raaj from Team Sender, said, “we chose the problem statement that spoke the most to us and invoked a lot of empathy for riders who deliver to us in all sorts of conditions. While there is a lot more to be done, we are grateful for the opportunity and what we learnt here, especially today, interacting with the jury.”


Team Bitcap from Grofers made brilliant use of hardware automation and AI to address the much needed aspect of the Grocery ordering - Automated Ordering. They defined the problem and implemented a hardware-software based solution to enable smooth order/re-ordering process for the customers integrated with WhatsApp & existing Grocery App accounts.



Team Gandalf from Shadowfax came up with an innovative sorting process at hubs to improvise speed of logistics, which can help enable much faster goods movements and deliveries. Their implementation and presentation impressed the judges with their thoroughness.


One of the all-student teams to make it to the finale, Tech Army's hack and implementation was out-of-the-box, and particularly impressive for a student team. The video capture and tagging mechanism was seamless.

Another all-student team to make it to the finale, Team Nodemon impressed everyone with their implementation and presentation. Bringing AI to the local e-commerce model and bulk delivery to improve speed and reduce cost won accolades from the entire panel.

Team Trouble Shooter also impressed the panel with their hacks to improve local commerce by enhancing seller and customer experience. They had a very neat implementation.


Looking Forward

It is exciting to see how a lot of these innovations make way into the market and positively disrupt the delivery experience for customers and gig-workers alike. As flexible and on-demand services become more mainstream, the customer experience will remain the deciding factor in the success of enterprises, and at Shadowfax, we will continue powering the amalgamation of technology and the delivery experience and giving wings to the innovators in the industry. You can watch the event here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YW76-q38LgI


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