Visa ‘Hackathon’ Produces A Digital Payment Tool For Small Businesses

Its name is Hermyz. Its mission, which just won the official admiration of Visa, is to move small businesses away from checks and paper receipts by migrating invoice management online.

Hermyz took the grand prize and the $10,000 that came with it at last weekend’s Small Business Hackathon, an inaugural event that took place in Washington, D.C., with the backing of Visa and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The event capped off National Small Business Week.

The 65 local app developers, business owners and entrepreneurs who took part competed to design digital tools that would “help small business owners address day-to-day financial elements of running a small business, such as access to business solutions, optimizing cash flow, building and accessing business credit and making payments efficiently,” according to Visa.

Contest participants used APIs from the U.S. government and the Visa Developer Platform’s new Small Business API Filter — which Visa described as “helping small business developers easily identify APIs relevant to them” — in pursuit of monetary prizes that totaled $24,000.

Hermyz is a “bot that enables small businesses to manage and pay invoices using the Visa Direct API,” Visa said in an announcement about the winners, which was released on Thursday (May 3). Such technology could potentially save small business owners the hassle of dealing with paper when handling invoices.

Visa also awarded $2,000 for best use of its Visa Data and Analytic APIs. That prize went to a tool called DataBridge, which “simplifies business intelligence for small businesses and allows businesses to target their marketing campaigns specific to demographic and geographic segments.”

The team that created DataBridge was led by a small business owner from Washington, D.C., who used Visa APIs like Visa Merchant Locator and Visa Merchant Measurement APIs, along with the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) API from the U.S. government.

During the weekend event, Visa and the SBA offered educational workshops and mentoring to contest participants, but Visa did not say if it would buy or otherwise take possession of the winning technologies.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.