TA techies to take part in global, 24-hour ‘hackathon’

PayPal sponsored 24 hour programming competition will send local winner to California for contest that has 100K cash prize.

Man with computer370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
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 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 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 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.”