Great things happen when you bring together a smart, creative, ambitious and diverse crowd. Well, at least once you’re passed the first 15 minutes of awkward silence when everyone arrives, and stares at each other, wondering who has a team and who hasn’t. Then we start sharing ideas, laughing and of course, we start building cool stuff. And by “we” I mean they, I’m only there for the fun.
Last month, our Boston office hosted one of AngelHack’s global hackathons, and we welcomed 100 techies, designers and entrepreneurs to our space one weekend. We were joined by great sponsors such as Google, Amazon, IBM and smaller tech companies like Satori. Some sponsors generously lent some of their hardware products to hackers (Google Homes and Amazon Echo Dots) while other sponsors had open Application Program Interface (APIs.)
The 36 hours of hard work resulted in 16 great projects. For example, a hyper-local messaging app for communities and events, a wearable, which helps perfect your gym routine, or a software allowing you to build websites and mobile apps with your voice.
While some hackers worked on helping veterans via code, others developed an Alexa-enabled smart travel assistant that helps you pack and organize your trip.
Judges were blown away by the hackers’ creativity and quality of the projects, in such a short period.
So why do companies invest in hackathons?
Hackathons are not only valuable to startups anymore. Businesses are embracing the hackathon culture by hosting, sponsoring and even sending employees to participate.
Hacks are ideal when you are trying to break through from organizational exhaustion and infuse innovation-driven cultures. They participate, and in some cases drive, companies’ digital transformation.
Did you know that Facebook’s instant messaging feature, Facebook Chat, and Instagram’s time-lapse tool, called Hyperlapse, were both discovered and developed during a hack? Now 1.2 billion people use Facebook Chat on a monthly basis. That changes your perspective, doesn’t it?
Furthermore, three Amadeus interns won the overall hackathon and a chance to fly to Silicon Valley for AngelHack’s Annual Global Demo Day and participate in a week of extensive pitch training!
Has your company hosted or sponsored a hackathon? And stay tuned as we dig deeper into why hackathons are key to unlocking innovation for companies.