Developers, entrepreneurs and designers from all over the world travelled to AngelHack San Francisco for a full weekend of coding, problem-solving and pitching. Trulioo’s inaugural entry into the hackathon space put us alongside 12 industry-leading technology organizations to collaborate with over 30 teams. With our first foray, we challenged the teams to help build a solution focused on financial inclusion, aligning it with AngelHack’s overarching theme: Seamless Technology.
One of Trulioo’s core missions is to provide verifiable identities for financially underserved groups to help them gain access to basic financial services. With this in mind, we presented a socially responsible challenge to all teams for a chance to win $1,500.00. We asked challengers to be thoughtful of the billions who are financially underserved and build a solution utilizing our identity verification API, GlobalGateway. In the end, six teams pulled through with great ideas, but one of them stood out from the rest.
Verifood – A Food Security Solution for the Homeless Population
It is estimated that 1.6 billion people around the world live in inadequate shelter. For many of these individuals, they can lose important information and documents as days, months and years pass by without a steady place to call home. Failure to present valid identification can lead to missing opportunities that are fundamental for positive health outcomes, such as education, healthcare or employment. Those at-risk can find themselves stuck in a vicious cycle, constantly running into negative determinants of health that could force their lives to spiral out of control.
Let us introduce you to the team behind Verifood: Tommy Gao, Tyler Zhu, Yi Zu and Eric Frankel, a group of young computer science enthusiasts who wanted to create a food security solution for the homeless population. Over the course of the two-day hackathon event, they frequented Trulioo’s booth to learn more about GlobalGateway and how to leverage the API’s capabilities to support the homeless population. When the time came for demonstrations, they showed Trulioo’s ambassadors a well functioning product with this goal in mind: to improve food security among the homeless population.
How Does Verifood Work?
Verifood uses Trulioo's electronic identity verification platform to verify the identities of those using the Verifood portal—vetting fields like name, date of birth and mobile number during the verification process. Once users are verified through GlobalGateway through a form fill, users are able to securely and efficiently add food items to their cart online with digital food stamps.
During their presentation, the team explained that mobile numbers could have the potential to bridge the gap to those who may not have a home but own a cellphone. Take programs like Obama Phone, just one of many government-backed programs all over the world that provide low-income individuals and families with mobile phones. Assistive services like these, along with high levels of global mobile penetration, make phones one of the most powerful and accessible pieces of technology available on a mass scale.
Six billion people have access to mobile phones worldwide, making it an intelligent decision on team Verifood’s part to use this information to reach out to an at-risk group who may not possess valid forms of traditional identification. In fact, mobile technology is already seamlessly inserting itself into a wide range of industries—from eCommerce to digital identity to cybersecurity. In many ways, mobile can be the perfect medium for reaching those who are often missed by traditional means of identification.
We were impressed with their demo, as well as their vision for the product and its relevancy to supporting the financially underserved. When we assessed all the teams that used our technology, Verifood was our winner.
More Than a Stamp of Approval
Trulioo exists to build trust and security online. Through GlobalGateway, we aim to support businesses and individuals all over the world to safely navigate a complex digital space through identity verification. Take it from team Verifood, who learned about its true value over the course of the weekend.
“We learned that identity verification comes from a variety of sources and can be used in multiple ways that can address the needs of individuals having difficulty in proving their legal identity,” said Yi Zu, one of the Verifood team members. “In the context of our project, we realized that having accurate and efficient verification of users can mitigate challenging real-world problems like poverty and homelessness.”
When reliable identity verification systems are in place, it can prevent situations where misleading information can compromise all players involved. “Effective electronic identification is more crucial than ever,” said Zu “The four of us truly appreciate having this opportunity to explore and learn more about the power of identity verification and its importance today.”