Hackathon

Custom Hackathon Contests and Awards

We have received overwhelming support from the development community for this year’s SF Disrupt 2011 Hackathon. There are some amazing sponsors who have come up with incredibly creative, rewarding and fun ways to challenge this year’s crop of hackers. To help you get prepared and decide where you want to focus your efforts, here’s a list this year’s contests and prizes sure to motivate some incredible innovations. Here is the list of all of our contests with prizes for this year’s Hackathon.

CrowdStar and Sibblingz To Each Offer up to $250,000 in Funding at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2011 Hackathon to Find Next Mobile Social Gaming Stars

CrowdStar and Sibblingz are looking for the next big thing in social gaming. During the Hackathon, the teams who want to enter for a shot to win will have 24 hours to code and create a working demo of a new mobile social game. After the overnight session, up to four semifinalists will be chosen by representatives from Sibblingz and CrowdStar. The teams selected will then have the chance to pitch to both of these companies their mobile social game for a shot at winning the money and making their game a reality.

The team selected by CrowdStar earns up to $250,000 worth of funding from StarFund. The team selected by Sibblingz earns up to $250,000 worth of mobile advertising for a Spaceport-based game. Spaceport is their mobile platform, which you can read more about here. Sibblingz will offer developers their engine, Spaceport. With Spaceport, developers are able to create a single Javascript game that works in both HTML5 using canvas rendering and in Apple’s app store using higher performance native OpenGL rendering.

Sibblingz and CrowdStar executives will announce the two winning teams at the Disrupt SF closing ceremony on September 14th. If they do not find a team with an award winning demo, they will have the right to not award winners. From what we have seen before though, we are certain some winning creations will come out of this contest.

Ford Hackathon Custom Contest

Ford is looking for the next best app for potential in-car integration via SYNC AppLink. During the Hackathon, developers can “hack” any available APIs offered during the event to create a product that they think would be useful for in-car use. One participating team’s app will be chosen and the team will be given the opportunity to develop their app using SYNC AppLink. This team will be provided the tools necessary to develop and prove the product out in-vehicle. The team will also receive a VIP trip for each of the team members and a guest to attend CES 2012, with an opportunity to showcase their final product, courtesy of Ford. For more information on Ford’s SYNC AppLink, be sure to check it out here.

Bridgewater Custom Contest

Bridgewater is a top hedge fund located in Westport, Conneticut, here’s a brief backgrounder: In our investment philosophy, as well as our culture, Bridgewater’s most fundamental value is getting to truth about reality. Even simple truths can lie obscured until innovative technology comes along and capitalizes on a new insight or enables others to see reality more clearly.

The Bridgewater challenge for hackers: to reward hacks that bring to light — or enable others to bring to light — new truth or understanding about reality. Bridgewater will offer the most insightful (or insight-generating) app two platinum passes and travel to SXSW 2012. In case you need some inspiration or specific examples that illustrate ways in which this broad concept may be executed, think of technologies like Twitter Demographics that facilitates exploring what the Twitter community is talking about to develop a richer understanding of people’s preferences, and the 2011 NYC Hackathon winner, Gilt-ii, that capitalizes on the insight that Gilt shoppers operate in a way that is inefficient by creating a secondary market to drive those inefficiencies out (and happens to have been created by two Bridgewater alums we wish the best of luck to as they now work on getting their own start-ups going). This challenge encapsulates their motto: “Trust in truth.”

Of course, Bridgewater will be on site to answer any questions and offer guidance.

Wunderground.com Hackathon Custom Contest

Integrate the wunderground.com Weather API here into your hack and win! First, second, and third place win prizes including tickets to Burning Man 2012, a Limited Edition Star War Kinect Console, Davis personal weather stations, and an hour one-on-one business development meeting with our Chief of Development.

IBM Custom Contest

IBM is offering an overall challenge to both hackers at the Disrupt Hackathon and startup companies at Disrupt: the opportunity to meet with IBM during Wednesday lunch on September 14th at the San Francisco Design Concourse. One lucky winner will be chosen from this group to be invited to attend IBM SmartCamp Worldwide Finals to be held in 1Q 2012. The IBM SmartCamp finals will bring together top investment firms, academics, serial entrepreneurs, marketing, communications and technology experts from around the world. At this premier event you will have ability to network with these top experts and gain exposure for your company. For more information about the IBM Smartcamp and Global Entrepreneur program please visit here. The winning company will announced Wednesday at the IBM lunch.

uTest “Most Likely to Succeed in the Wild” Custom Contest

The developer or team that builds an app predicted to have the best chance of succeeding in the real world (“in the wild”) will win $3,000 worth of uTest’s software testing services for the web or mobile app of their choice. The award can be redeemed for one or a variety of uTest’s offerings including Functional, Load, Usability, Security and Localization testing. Judging will be conducted by uTest, based on their experience testing apps for thousands of startups, SMBs and global brands including Google, AOL, Microsoft, Groupon and Tapulous. Apps will be judged based on the following criteria:

– most innovative product concept
– most compelling use case
– most intuitive interface

City Grid Media Custom Contest

If you’re building local at this year’s Disrupt Hackathon, City Grid encourages you to build using the CityGrid Places, Reviews and Offers APIs. Any team that builds using their platform will be eligible to win $2,000 after review by their on-site engineering team. Apps will be based on the following criteria:

-inventive use of the APIs
-overall product concept

Find more info here.

Mashery Custom Contest

The best hack utilizing one or ore of the hundreds of Mashery API Network platforms will win the JAWBONE JAMBOX, the ultimate portable wireless speaker system. Learn more at the Mashery API workshop on Saturday at 3:30PM where they’ll focus in on APIs that can give your apps the competitive edge, including live demos featuring HotWire, Quova, YellowAPI, Klout, Rotten Tomatoes and USA TODAY. For a comprehensive list of platforms visit the Mashery API Network website.

Box.net Custom Contest

Box.net is giving away an 11″ Macbook Air to the Best Enterprise Application and an iPad 2 to the Best Use of the Box Platform.

Tokbox Custom Contest

Tokbox is giving away an Acer Black 27″ 2ms Full HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor for best use of the OpenTok API (decided by a Tokbox representative at the Hackathon)

DoAT Custom Contest

DoAT is offering a prize for the best location aware mobile web applications developed on Touchy, the brand new boilerplate they will reveal during their workshop. Disrupting the mobile search space since their launch at TechCrunch Disrupt NY last May, the DoAT team challenges Hackathon hackers to get bad ass with Touchy and be part of the mobile web revolution. The team that creates the winning app based on DoAT’s new open platform for rapid mobile web app development will win iPhone5’s (up to 3 units) that will be delivered to the winners as soon as the iPhone5 becomes available. DoAT will want the ability to host the winning app on their platform (mashups are welcome).

CloudFlare Custom Contest

The team that best uses the CloudFlare API wins $1,000

Echo Nest Custom Contest

The team that best uses the Echo Nest API wins two iPad 2s

Face.com Custom Contest

The team that best uses the face.com API wins an iPad 2

Mark your calendars. Call your developer friends. The popular Disrupt Hackathon is back in San Francisco and in 2011 it’s going to be better than ever.

[fancy_header]From Over 130 Hacks Came The Ultimate Six: The Hackathon Winners Take To The Stage[/fancy_header]

Over the weekend, over 400 hackers gathered for 24 hours of hacking, Red Bull, and networking. From these late night toils, over 130 hacks emerged from the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon. On Sunday afternoon, five expert judges, which included Salesforce’s VP of Open Cloud Standards Kevin Marks, Google’s Rohit Khare, Betfair’s Vice President of Mobile Engineering Raj Vemulapalli, OneTrueFan founder Eric Marcoullier and Ask.com’s Director of Engineering, Mobile and Platforms Vishal Shah were tasked with choosing the top six hacks from the plethora of presentations.

The judges chose FlickMunk, Gainify, Weather Checker, ECCube, Ex-Rated, and U4Them, which today had the opportunity to present their fledgling startups and products to the crowd at Disrupt.

For videos of each of the startups on stage, see Alexia’s coverage of the winners here.

And for some TC’s staff favorites from the hack-filled weekend of hacks and hackers, check out Biggs’ coverage here.

Last but not least, for some hacker style and flavor, check out some sartorial splendor here.

Quick bios of the Hackathon winners below:

FlickMunk: A “Hipmunk for movies,” FlickMunk’s app looks for local theateres around you, helping you to plan your trip to the movie, see how far you are from the theater and whether not you’ll be able to make it in time — as well as helping you rate and track those movies once you’ve taken a gander.

Gainify: Shopify shoppers take note. Gainify is a nifty plugin that lets you turn any Shopify store into a daily deals site.

Weather Checker: Google Calendar plugin that allows you to check the weather of a planned event in advance.

ECCube: An HTML5 3D color matching game.

Ex-Rated: For a novel take on the dating model, Ex-Rated brings Yelp to dating by creating a system that allows users to rate their exes.

U4Them: This hack is aimed at those who cannot afford to pay for healthcare. U4Them is a way to connect people who need help with healthcare payments with people who have the ability to donate cash. Every listing is initiated and approved by social services wing of hospitals, and allows users to ask friends and family to accept payments via PayPal.

[fancy_header]Hackathon Highlights: Staff Favorites From The Disrupt SF Hackathon[/fancy_header]

It’s been nearly 24 hours since the start of the Hackathon and the hax0rs have hax3d. We’ve seen 130 projects pitched in just 60 seconds each, all created in under 24 hours.

While all of the projects were wonderful (really — this was perhaps our best Hackathon yet), some of them really struck the right key with the TechCrunch writers in the audience. In no particular order (and with no indication as to who might walk away a winner), some of the staff favorites:

ClubReport – Gives you a live audio stream of clubs around the city, helping you figure out which one you want to hop to.

Justabout – An About.me for business. Easy, 30-second websites for businesses, primarily meant to group their social network accounts together in one easy to find place.

Weather Checker – A mashup of Weather Underground and Google Calendar. Automatically scans your calendar for upcoming events, and alerts you if the weather forecast for those days has turned for the worse.

SportBot: Monitors and analyzes tweets about sporting events, and generates a live blog-esque text summary of the event based off popular tweets.

Ex-Rated: Lets you rate your exes and peruse the ratings of potential suitors.


Let’s Drink Tonight: Punch in your cell phone, answer a few questions, and it’ll alert you when others nearby are looking for strangers to drink with

@shopr – matches buyers and sellers on Twitter. It’s sort of like a Craigslist for Twitter. Basically, @shopr uses Gnip to mine the Twitter firehose for people selling things and looking to buy items.

SharedRoll.com: Lets you create group-managed photo albums on the fly.


Packmule – Another easy-to-use group photo sharing tool.

Where Is Waldy? – “Wheres Waldo” for real photos. Automatically picks a face in a photo and tasks the user with finding it.

PassMyWill: “Your Will For Online Assets”. Distributes your social networks passwords to your trusted loved ones after you die. Whether or not you’re dead is determined by social network activity, followed by a Dead Man’s Switch e-mail.

Diskly: Direct feedback to the DJ at a real-world venue. Searches your iPod library for songs similar to the one currently playing at the venue, and lets you suggest those to the DJ.

Sergeant Shame: You create tasks for yourself, then give Sergeant Shame access to post on your Facebook wall. Fail to finish your task (determined by whether or not you’ve checked into your task the pre-set number of times)? Sergeant Shame calls you out in public.


SlideJoin.com – A service that lets you follow along with slide presentations right on your phone.

Karpool: “The easiest way to organize carpools with your friends.” Sign in with your number, add your riders, and start a trip. Karpool will show your rider’s current locations, and whether or not they’re ready to leave.

MilkMe.co: Uh oh — you’re almost out of milk! Text “add milk” to a provided phone number, and milk will arrive the next day. UK only as it relies on Tesco’s API.

Facefuse: Uses iOS 5’s face detection system in combination with Face.com’s facial recognition API. Once a face is detected, it returns a Wiki-esque publicly editable page corresponding to that person.

AirCart: Grocery store self-checkout through your phone, rather than the standard dedicated checkout stand. Scan an item’s UPC to add it to your “AirCart”.

Thirsty.com – Billed as “AirBnB for humans,” Thirsty lets you hire folks for short periods of time. Sellers announce what they can do in one day (Wax a car? Clean 3 rooms worth of carpet?) and their daily rate.


BuddyCall: Reminds you to call a contact (like your mom) regularly by automatically starting the call and ringing all parties on a pre-determined schedule (say, every sunday).


Music Combat: A real-time, player-vs-player music battle. Each player site reads music, playing the notes on the nearest instrument. Their mobile device detects which notes they’re playing. The better you do, the more damage you do to your opponent.


Zom-Beat Defense: Zombie defense game. Move with the arrow keys, aim with the mouse. Waves of zombies are generated based on the beat of the music.

SocialBee: Finds people in areas that you’re traveling to that your friends may be able to introduce you to. Going to Paris? SocialBee scans your social networks for friends who have contacts in Paris, and generates an introduction request.

[fancy_header]The Hackathon Never Sleeps[/fancy_header]

It’s been a solid 12 hours since the Disrupt Hackathon commenced, and things are getting a bit loopy. For the most part, this place is pretty quiet. We have a few sleepers in corners, and just about every cushy object in this building has been occupied. But the vast majority of hackers are wide awake, coding away.

And with good reason — $500,000 is at stake, among other awesome prizes.

Each table is littered with trash — Red Bull, Doritos, Snapple, and quite a bit of beer. The pizza has been absolutely demolished, and now Chinese food seems to be the main attraction. Unfortunately, a plate shortage led some to take matters into their own hands and rip up pizza boxes to use as make-shift plates.

Another development was the eruption of a massive bungee-dart war. According to the hackers “hundreds of darts were flying through the room.” In truth, I’m pretty sure there aren’t more than a few dozen darts in this building, but I bet it was epic nonetheless.

I’m getting ready to call it a night, but for these hackers this is just the beginning. Progress has been made, but many have also encountered a few hiccups along the way. The Ping Pong Hero app we mentioned earlier is having some Bluetooth issues, while Ryan Tsukamoto’s AR air drums have run into quite the obstacle — the iPad’s craptacular front-facing camera.

Still, determination seems to be the most dominant emotion in the room, and there’s no doubt in my mind that tomorrow will yield many success stories.

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[fancy_header]Meet Ten Disrupt Hackathon Hackers[/fancy_header]

Here are ten hackers we met at today’s Disrupt Hackathon. These folks have steeled themselves with snack food and coffee and are hacking away as we speak.

Rob Banagale

Rob Banagale is the founder of a new product launching at the Hackathon, so we’re going to let him debut the name. In the words of Rob, “it’s a new identity service that lets you represent yourself through a series of pictures.” We’re not quite sure what that means but we’re excited to see.

A couple of Rob’s tech heroes include Steve Jobs, and Arthur C. Clarke. His proudest moment of hackery was when he added Twitter integration to a live music chat room for live music fans. He seems cool, but his picture says it all. Blue Steel, baby.

He’s based out of Seattle, but if you want to get in touch with Rob, hook up with him on Twitter: @jetsetter

Conrad Rushing

Conrad has a bad case of carpal tunnel, but he’s still ready and raring to go. As CTO, he’s launching his new product at Disrupt’s Start-Up Battlefield. Obviously, he was a bit sparse with the details, but his launch isn’t the only reason he’s here.

Conrad is looking to hire, and he made a great choice in looking here. A couple projects he’s working on during the Hackathon are an auto-tagging system for language processing, and building a rudimentary webapp based on his API in time for the launch.

Some of Conrad’s heroes are Steve Jobs, Larry Wall, and Kevin Mitnick. Find him on Twitter: @crushallhumans

Monica To

Monica is a third-year student at UC Berkeley, and this is her first trip to Hackathon. She is here with a group of more experienced hackers, and said she felt she had to come. “Everyone tells me that the Hackathon is such a pivotal moment in people’s lives. I had to come.”

Her group is brainstorming through a few hacking ideas, but things are still up in the air. Luckily, most of the pressure is off Monica. She’s here for the experience, not the cash.

Want to get in touch with Monica? Check her out on Twitter: @monicato

Maria Nasioti

Maria flew quite a ways to come to our Hackathon (she’s from Greece), but she seems stoked to be here. And I’m personally pretty stoked she’s here, too. Maria is a designer for BugSense. They have a number of different products in the works/on the market, but today’s project is called Ping Pong Hero.

It’s basically a way to use your Android phone as a ping pong paddle, and play a virtual game of table tennis sans table, ball, or real paddles. The app will even share real time scores and stats to your friends who can’t see the action live. Very cool.

Maria’s point of pride is Bug Sense, a six-month old start up with over 1,000 active users. If you feel like chatting her up, visit her Twitter: @Maria_Nas

Guy Vider

Guy’s group was silly, and didn’t register. So he’s been waiting for them since the Hackathon started. Based in Sunnyvale, CA, Guy is all about safety — at the last Hackathon he built an app that alerts you of nearby wildfires. This time he’s switched things up, but we wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise.

Guy’s hero is Bill Gates, which is a refreshing choice amidst all the Jobs fans. Follow Guy on Twitter: @traveltechguy

Joselle Ho

Josie is from L.A., and made her way to San Fran this weekend after a very successful stint at last year’s TechCrunch Disrupt. You may remember her product, People’s Choice Award winner, Miso Music.

Today, her plan is to build a gaming app, also based on music. You are asked a series of trivia questions related to playing music, or perhaps even put on the spot to play an “F” on the nearest instrument.

When Josie grows up, she wants to be like Angie Chang of Women 2.0 and Miso Media’s current CTO, Ryan Tsukamoto.

Interested? Follow Josie on Twitter: @joselleho

Ryan Tsukamoto

You may recognize the name, and if you don’t you obviously aren’t reading very carefully. Along with being one of Josie’s heroes, Ryan is also the CTO at Miso Music. While Josie works on her music trivia game, Ryan is focusing on an augmented reality app that lets you play musical instruments. Right now, the focus is on a set of air drums.

Ryan is originally from Hawaii, but is currently based in L.A. His hero is Alonzo Church, and his proudest moment is winning that People’s Choice Award last year. That would be my proudest moment, too.

Want to learn more about Ryan? @Misomusic

Danil Kozyatnikov

Danil’s company is launching this week on Start Up Alley. But today, his focus is on a product that has to do with the after world. We can’t go into too much more detail, but it’s definitely a necessity in today’s world.

It’s possible that Danil has come further than anyone here at the Hackathon — he’s from Siberia. Unfortunately, the rest of his team couldn’t quite get visas in time, so he’s skyping with them on a mid-sized LCD at his table.

Dan’s hero is Loic Le Meur, who you may recognize from Seesmic. If you want to know more about Dan, check him out on Twitter: @danilka

Zac Cunningham

Visiting for the Hackathon and for his brother Ben’s birthday, Zac came all the way from Tallahassee, FL. He and his group are still brainstorming, but one thing they seem to have ruled out is the overly common social networking angle.

Zac deals mostly with the back-end of the business, while his brother Ben is more the face of the company. His heroes include John Carmack, and his bro. Zac, oddly enough, doesn’t have a Twitter account, but you can get to know his brother Ben: @codeblue87

Jennie Lees

Last but not least among our Hackathon Hackers is Jennie Lees. She lives in the Bay Area, but her accent proves her English roots. The plan for today is to improve Hacker News for mobile, and eventually personalize it by bringing in other news sources.

A few of Jennie’s heroes include the oft-mentioned Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Hacker News’s Paul Graham. One of her proudest moments was surviving the Hackathon last year, and building something that worked: an app that rated start up pitches in real time.

If you want to get to know Jennie better, follow her on Twitter: @jennielees

[fancy_header]Disrupt SF Hackathon Registration Now Open![/fancy_header]

Registration is officially open for our fourth Hackathon, and we’d love to make it our biggest yet! We promise more pizza, more caffeine and more glory than ever. We had 700 registrants for the last event in New York — let’s top it! The format remains the same – a little less than 24 hours to create a hack on site and present a working demo to an audience of developers, press and industry insiders. Sign up now!

Celebrating Developers

GroupMe has proven that you can build a Weekend-hacked, Seed-funded, Series-A-ed, Acquired-by-Skype, all-in-about-a-year startup from a TC Hackathon. (Props to Jared and Steve’s for their monstrous hustle). But the goal of these increasingly awesome events isn’t just to build startups–we want to give developers a platform to shine. For every GroupMe there’s a Mr Stabbyphone; for every Wisedame there’s a Drunkerator; for every Docracy a Venture Crapital. It’s that mixture of utility and whimsy that keeps the Hackathons, and our industry for that matter, fresh. Much of the field is built behind the scenes by the hard work of talented developers and Hackathons are a the best way we’ve found to spotlight them.

The first Hackathons were organized by Daniel Raffel, Chad Dickerson and myself and we’ve had a blast doing it. This time around Jeff Bennet will be taking the helm. He’s a seasoned hand, having organized Hackdays past for Yahoo and even winning one or two along the way! It’s going to be a great event. While we aim to accommodate everyone, it’s best to register now to make sure you’re in!

Make sure you check out what happened at our Disrupt NYC Hackathon here! This is one hacking event you do not want to miss.

[fancy_header]Hackathon Schedule:[/fancy_header]

Saturday, September 10th:

12:30pm: Hacker check-in

1:30pm: Hackathon begins (please come fed or bring your lunch; afternoon snacks and beverages will be served)

7:00pm: Dinner & beer

Midnight: Late night fare will be served

Sunday, September 11th:

7:30am: Breakfast is served

9:30am: All hacks must be submitted

11:00am: Hack presentations begin (PUBLIC IS WELCOME. Strict 60 second presentation limit; functional hacks only, no PowerPoint pitches!)

12:15pm: 15-min. break; lunch is served

12:30pm: Hack presentations continue

2:45pm – 3:00pm: Final hack awards

[fancy_header]Venue and Accommodations:[/fancy_header]

We will be hosting all Hackathon activities for both Saturday, September 10th, and Sunday, September 11th, at San Francisco Design Center Concourse in San Francisco. The address is:

San Francisco Design Center Concourse
635 8th Street (at Brannan)
San Francisco, CA 94107

We’ve partnered with Oyster.com to provide several hotel options surrounding the venue. Please visit the Oyster/SF Disrupt website to make reservations; use the code “DisruptSF” to receive their Disrupt 10% discount. You may also contact their Disrupt Concierge Service for personalized assistance at Concierge@Oyster.com or call: 888-446-9783.