Cape Town-based startup Zindi is the first data science competition platform in Africa. Zindi hosts an entire data science ecosystem of scientists, engineers, academics, companies, NGOs, governments, and institutions focused on solving Africa’s most pressing problems.
Founded in 2018, Zindi has since registered over 10,000 data-scientists on its platform and works with companies, non-profit organizations, and government institutions to develop, curate, and prepare data-driven challenges. Solutions are ranked automatically by the accuracy achieved. Whether you are testing the data science waters for the first time or trying to crack a persistent business problem with data, Zindi helps organizations push their creative boundaries at an affordable cost.
For data scientists, from newbies to rock stars, Zindi is a place to access African datasets and solve African problems. Data scientists will find all the tools they need on Zindi to compete, share ideas, hone their skills, build their professional profiles, find career opportunities, and have fun!
How it works
Zindi helps your organization identify and define a pressing or interesting challenge. Prizes are set with your organization, with the complexity of the challenge as a determining factor.
Zindi data scientists work with your organization to determine which datasets are needed to solve the challenge and assist in building the datasets in the appropriate format. Data is fully anonymized and masked where needed. Challenge solutions are built on static data – models can be implemented in real-time post competition if required.
A description of the challenge and prize money up for grabs, as well as the challenge datasets, are posted on Zindi’s website. The competition is promoted to the Zindi community, advertised on social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, and spread throughout our partner network.
Data scientists download training and test datasets and build solutions. Typically, solutions comprise data processing, feature building and one or more machine learning techniques.
Competitors can submit several solutions during the competition. Their submissions, based on the test set they downloaded, are ranked on a leaderboard. At the close of the competition, submissions are scored against a private dataset based on the accuracy they achieve. The final rankings are always 100% objective and fair.
Zindi data scientists work with your organization to review the winning solutions and co-design a strategy for implementing and integrating the solution into your business. This could also include defining job specifications based on your requirements or capacity building for your team.
The competitions are open to African data scientists who are registered on the site, only they are allowed to compete and submit solution sets, move up a leader board and win — for a cash prize payout. Competition hosts receive the results, which they can use to create new products or integrate into their existing systems and platforms. It’s free for data scientists to create a profile on the site, but those who fund the competitions pay Zindi a fee, which is how the startup generates revenue.
Zindi’s model has gained the attention of some notable corporate names in and outside of Africa. Those who have hosted competitions include Microsoft, IBM and Liquid Telecom.