Donation app wins Microsoft prize

An application that makes it easier for people to donate money to charity has won its creators a place at Microsoft’s Imagine Cup final

Chloe Green | 10th May 17

An application that makes it easier for people to donate money to charity has won its creators a place at Microsoft’s Imagine Cup final, where they will compete to win $100,000.

A news article on the Microsoft website explains that Donaco uses artificial intelligence to place pop-up boxes next to relevant news articles that allow readers to instantly give money to that cause. The team behind the app hope that it will lead to more money being given to charity as well as give news outlets new ways to engage with readers.

The Imagine Cup is a global competition run by Microsoft and aimed at developing the next generation of computer science experts. Harnessing their passion for technology, young developers are encouraged to build applications with the potential to change the way we live.

Students from universities across the country recently pitched their proposals to a panel of experts at Microsoft’s London office in the UK final of the competition.

The creators of Donaco – Michael Moses, Suleiman Mashini and Philippe Torbey, from Imperial College London – won £1,000 and will now travel to Microsoft’s global headquarters in Redmond, Washington, in July for the grand final.

“The idea first came about when I was reading about the refugee crisis,” said Moses. “I was frustrated as I didn’t know what I could do, and that wasn’t the first time. [The win] was very unexpected. We look forward to working with Microsoft more closely and taking Donaco to the next phase.”

The team from UCL beat rivals who were using machine learning to enhance social media, and improving how people order food from shops to increase customer satisfaction, among other ideas.

In accordance with the rules of the competition, each application was run on Azure, with most teams using the Microsoft cloud service’s built-in APIs. The entrants were also all supported by an expert mentor, either from Microsoft or from the technology and business sectors, who offered feedback and help to develop ideas.