Retail & Healthcare Change Agents

Setting the Stage

Over the last 5 years, Egen has conducted hackathons with wide-ranging success each time. Egen allows companies to unlock the power of data to rapidly inform, transform, and outperform any business. Egen’s hackathons tie directly into that purpose, embodying the company’s core philosophies: Crunch Complexity, Aim For Infinity, Own It. By fostering an environment that encourages employees to be dynamic, curious, and have a “hustler” mentality, Egen’s leadership enjoys seeing everyone step outside their comfort zones and tap into their creativity, which contributes greatly to Egen’s overall company success and employee development.

With 2020 presenting an assortment of new challenges and opportunities for both retail and healthcare due to COVID-19, Egen challenged its hackers to focus on those industry segments exclusively. The ask? Solve real-world problems that are either newly created or have been exacerbated by the current landscape and the potential “new normal”. 

Teams were provided with 6 weeks to complete their projects and were challenged to leverage technologies that are not part of their day-to-day responsibilities. By also requiring teams to have a maximum of 2 people from whom they regularly work with, hackers were challenged to become well-versed and branch out with new technologies and personalities.

Evaluation Criteria

The judging panel included an illustrious group of experts in technology and product development. Teams were graded with equal weighting in the following 4 categories

  • Creativity
  • Business Value/Social Cause 
  • Technical Innovation 
  • Go to Market Feasibility 

Runners Up

Team GrocBot looked to solve America’s food waste issues. By focusing on 3 key segments (grocers, shoppers, and food banks), GrocBot addresses all their needs with a new platform that provides better demand forecasting, automatic inventory management, and funneling excess food to the right places so it can be consumed by those in need.

Team iRec recognized today’s consumers’ need to have everything in their shopping experience to be fully personalized.  Their API-driven retail solution uses predictive modeling on customer buying patterns to improve shopper experiences by offering personalized promotions, while alleviating the costly burden that often falls on retailers to manage them. 

Team KartPool embraced the global shift in delivery demand with an app that engages communities and helps small businesses. It unites the community in carrying out day-to-day activities themselves, like grocery shopping, to foster a feeling of togetherness with a social-driven business model that serves the community and offers endless shopping focused on local stores.

Team Kiddo delved into our evolving healthcare needs by addressing on-demand, convenient, and effective healthcare for children. Its easy-to-use digital platform connects children to pediatricians and specialty physicians as needed virtually to help avoid the risk of contracting or spreading viruses, while also providing instant patient data and greater efficiencies with patient consultations for providers.

The Finalists

3rd place – Team CORUS

CORUS took the challenges of our current pandemic head-on, recognizing that we are living in a pandemic economy, a new reality that requires business to adapt to this new normal.  But how can we change the course of the pandemic and help businesses and communities get back to something resembling what “normal” used to be?

CORUS’s tool helps countries, business, and communities plan their responses to COVID-19 by focusing on helping companies plan openings, organize events, and even business travel. But how? The app leverages the latest data from Johns Hopkins and is a seamless, immediate way to see how the location you desire to visit is trending, and offers predictive analytics that allows users to see if it’s safe not only today, but on the desired dates of travel as well.

2nd place – Catapro

Catapro looked to address the glaring challenges retailers face with Product Information Management Systems (PIMS), which include inconsistent channel info, redundant/repetitive processes, lack of market insight, and difficulty scaling.  They sought to create a PIMS that serves as a central repository that manages catalog and inventory data in real-time that imports and harmonizes data, and then pushes it across all e-commerce channels consistently and accurately.

In doing so, Catapro took an innovative approach to a PIMS by incorporating AI and ML dashboard metrics that analyze products across retailers. This allows for better inventory management through predictive analytics, identifies the top reasons for users who like and don’t like the product, while also providing pricing trends to assess historic and future trends to optimize pricing strategy.  This solution is a next-generation PIMS that innovates for the needs of modernized retailers, and expects for those who leverage it to yield 25% revenue growth, 30% customer acquisition improvement, 50% consumer retention improvement, and 10% operating cost savings.

The Winner…

1st place – SmartTry
SmartTry focused on addressing the mutual frustration that frequent returns bring for both consumers and retailers. By not having the opportunity to try on clothes in-stores when online shopping, sizing and fit issues occur all too often, while quality of apparel and color mismatch also drive high volumes of returns for consumers. This creates a less-than-ideal shopping experience, while stores are burdened with return shipping expenses that cut deeply into bottom lines. 

The solution? Enter SmartTry – a tool that enables users to compare their existing best-fitting clothing to the new clothes they wish to purchase.  The result? Beta-testing showed 91% accuracy in clothing comparisons to offer shoppers more certainty with purchases, while retailers could collectively save over $1 BILLION in return expenses. The app would also offer a common profile that is accessible across multiple e-commerce websites, along with a history page to quickly review past comparisons to better purchase decision making. 

Egen strongly believes in continuous learning through both education and experience. We continue to be inspired by our amazing hackers and their creativity, and already can’t wait for our next hackathon. Until then, as our CEO Raghu so frequently states, “Keep growing, keep learning”.