UCSC’s First Ever Hackathon in Review
This past weekend was a turning point for local technology and the future of the Santa Cruz economy. In what can only be described as a wild success, UCSC students held their first ever hackathon and blew the socks right off their local mentors, teachers and community leaders. For those of you who don’t know, a hackathon is when a group of software developers, designers and marketers all get together and compete to build something over the course of a weekend. Participants start off by pitching their ideas for new products, then build teams, and then spend the rest of the time seeing how quickly they can execute and bring their ideas to life, usually in a sleepless fury of code and unhealthy food. However, as with most hackathons, the experience of rapidly prototyping new products and potential business models is unparalleled in the learning opportunity it provides, and UCSC couldn’t have hoped for a better first start.
Culminating in a raucous and celebratory dinner pitch session, the weekend ended with a tremendous burst of energy as three finalists were awarded a total of $10,000 to take their ideas to the next level. The winners, Bubblecoup, Project Slug and Top 5, each left with fully functioning (or very close to it) products that could easily transform the community and garner Santa Cruz the attentions it deserves. Bubblecoup, the first place finalist, is a competitor to online coupon sites like Groupon and Living Social, that favors smaller businesses by providing a greater incentive to share coupons with friends. In essence, the more of your friends you can convince to participate, the greater your overall discounts will be, thus driving more traffic to smaller stores, all while taking a smaller percentage than existing sites. The second place team, Project Slug, created a centralized posting board for UCSC artists, musicians, developers, etc. to seek out and join each other’s projects. The third place team and people’s choice award, Top 5, created a mobile app that crowdsources the top 5 best restaurants, activities and entertainment venues within a given area, but also crowdsources the categories themselves, creating a unique and dynamic way of exploring the Santa Cruz community.
Civinomics was proud to be sponsor and mentor of two different teams, and will be happy to do so again next year. Thanks for the great weekend to all who participated in and supported this wonderful and inspiring event.