Man with computer370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hackers unite! On Thursday, the best and brightest of Tel Aviv’s socially
conscious, start-up-oriented techies will gather for a Pay-Pal sponsored hackathon, a 24-hour programming competition.
The winners of the
“BattleHack,” tasked with creating an application that eases a locally relevant
social problem, from traffic congestion to education, will be flown to Silicon
Valley to compete with the local winners from nine other cities, including
Berlin, Barcelona, Moscow, London and five American cities. At the end of the
digital rainbow, awaiting the winners of the “hackathon on steroids,” is a
$100,000 pot of gold.
Tel Aviv is no stranger to hackathons. In March,
website start-up WIX brought 120 programmers together to develop applications
for its site, who produced 32 applications in 72 hours.
On July 19, the
Public Knowledge Workshop of Israel Hasadna ran a night hack in Tel Aviv and San
Francisco, with the goal of enhancing bonds between Israel and Silicon Valley
while producing Jewish-oriented applications.
The first social hackathon
here was in 2012, while May’s AngelHack offered the winning start-up a hefty
cash-prize and mentorship in Silicon Valley. In fact, both Wix and AngelHack
serve as partners for the BattleHack.
“What’s really unique about this
hack that hasn’t been done before is that it’s part of a global series of 10
hackathons,” says Guy Schory, an eBay executive responsible for identifying
strategic partnerships, incubation, investments and valuable technologies, who
will serve as one of the competition’s judges.
Including Tel Aviv as one
of the BattleHack cities, he says, was a no-brainer.
“We see Israel as a
critical hub from which we’re able to identify and bring these technologies to
have a global impact for our customers, not only in the region around us, but
around the world,” he says.
As a judge, there are three criteria he will
look for in the teams.
The first is whether the application actually
solves an important problem, doing social good and making people’s lives
The second is the technical skill demonstrated, using
sophisticated, cutting edge technologies. The third is the manner in which the
team works together.
“We want to foster comradery and build meaningful
relationships,” Schory says.
But even for those who do not win the
competition, he says the experience of getting talented people together to churn
out ideas, network and connect with professional mentors from successful
start-ups and venture capital funds is an opportunity in and of
“We’re always looking for opportunities to bring incredibly
creative and talented people together, and when you put them in a room together