MaRS Feature – The world’s biggest hackathon comes to MaRS: #AngelhackTO

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MaRS Feature – The world’s biggest hackathon comes to MaRS: #AngelhackTO

Written by Jennifer Marron of MaRS Commons
Read the post on the MaRS Commons Magazine.

Last Saturday morning, over 180 energetic developers and designers came to MaRS for AngelHack’s Toronto hackathon, quashing initial worries about potential low attendance levels due to the long weekend.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a hackathon is a 24- or 48-hour event that brings together members of the development community to focus on rapidly developing and prototyping technical solutions to everyday problems. AngelHack’s goal is to help aspiring entrepreneurs follow their dreams of building real businesses from crazy ideas that all started with a hack.

AngelHack is both a hackathon and an accelerator program. This year alone, the group will organize 100 hackathons, bringing together over 15,000 developers in over 50 cities.

Winners from each city are admitted to the AngelHack Accelerator, where they are mentored in their respective cities for 12 weeks before heading to Silicon Valley and the TechCrunch Disrupt conference to raise investments and meet with global incubators.

This weekend alone, five simultaneous AngelHack competitions took place around the globe in Toronto, Melbourne, Seattle, Moscow and Chennai. MaRS was a proud sponsor of the Toronto hackathon, providing the venue for the two-day event.

Previous AngelHack winners have moved on to attend Y Combinator, AngelPad, TechStars, 500 Startups and other incubators around the world.

The event kicked off with a welcome address from Greg Gopman, CEO of AngelHack, who flew in from Silicon Valley. Greg pointed out that Toronto’s startup community is one of the most vibrant and thriving in the world and that its startups and talented entrepreneurs are world class.

After sponsor presentations, the hacking was officially underway—and in typical hackathon fashion, caffeine, sugar and headphones were a plenty.

Moving in for the weekend

There were also many Nerf guns and remote-controlled helicopters on hand to keep the attendees entertained and interacting with one another.

What’s a good hack without toys?

Red Rain Energy Drink was a generous sponsor of the event and provided a fully stocked candy, chip and drink bar for the teams.

Stockpiling at AngelHackTO

Many teams chose to hack through the night, taking shifts, and some even opted to set up camp in the MaRS Atrium under the escalator!

sleeping under the MaRS escalator

In total, 53 creative and innovative tech projects were submitted, which were then narrowed down to the following top seven:

1. Bitcrowd
Bitcrowd is a crowdfunding platform for app developers. Users can bid on developers’ time (more features, widgets, etc.), and the platform also provides useful data and analytics.

2. SMRZr (pronounced summarizer)
SMRZr allows users to record YouTube videos and share them with friends. Watch it. Summarize it. Share it.

3. Code.Kata
Code.Kata produces quality data about developers for recruiters through the gamification of code tests and real-time matches.

4. Tune.r
Tune.r brings focus groups to the masses with a crowdsourced video metrics tool that allows people to rate media as they play.

5. Dazzle
Dazzle provides editable website templates. Any designer can submit a template and earn royalty fees.

6. Chip
Chip is a wearable device that reads your heart rate, perspiration and body temperature, and whose open application programming interface can be used by developers to create any app with a sensor. Chip can also give pre-emptive notification of heart attacks.

7. Code Warrior
Code Warrior is gamification software that helps children learn how to code. Kids play a game and the software shows the real code in the app as they play.

The competition was certainly fierce! Code.Kata took second place and Chip, a team of six, was the grand prize winner.

The winning team…Chip!!
The winning team…Chip!!

The event sponsors, PayPal, OANDA, Prepr Foundation and Context.IO, also gave away prizes, including Boxbees, Apple TV and Apple gift cards.

A special thank you goes out to the MaRS AV team, Allen Gelberg, Janet Grant, the awesome panel of judges (including MaRS’ own Sue McGill), the generous sponsors and last, but not least, event organizers Robert Hamilton, Caitlin McDonough and Salar Chagpar.

Keep on hacking!

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