Man with computer370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hackers Unite! On Thursday July 25, the best and brightest of Tel Aviv’s socially-conscious, start-up-oriented techies will gather for a PayPal-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 a matter of 72 hours. On July 19th, the Public Knowledge Workshop of Israel Hasadna
will run a night hack in both 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 ten hackathons,” says Guy Schory, an eBay executive responsible for identifying strategic partnerships, incubation, investments, and valuable technologies.
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 better. 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 comradely and build meaningful relationships.”
But even for those who do not win the competition, Schory 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 itself.
“We’re always looking for opportunities to bring incredibly creative and talented people together, and when you put them in a room together it’s magic,” he says.