I was lucky enough to have been invited to the PayPal’s BattleHack World Championships, held at PayPal’s offices this weekend.
For the last six months, PayPal held 10 hackathons in 10 different cities around the world. Berlin, New York, Tel Aviv, Seattle, Miami, Moscow, Austin, London, Washington and Barcelona.
The winning team from each hackathon was flown out here to PayPal’s offices in Silicon Valley to compete in a final 24 hour hack to win $100,000!
Out of over 2,000 hackers, these are the elite 10 teams. PayPal went all out giving the hackers everything they needed. Such as massages, beds (which were seldom used), awesome food, and unlimited caffeine and sugar.
Microsoft gave the team who had the best use of Microsoft technology membership to BizSpark Plus, giving them $60,000 worth of Azure. Team Seattle won this prize (as well as Nokia’s best use of Window’s Phone prize) with their app for xbox/windows 8 and windows phone. They had a shopping app that lets people try on clothes with their kinect, take pictures of themselves in their new clothes, go virtually shopping together with a friend over the web, backend using Windows Azure, all controlled by voice recognition, and then buy the item(s) using your phone or sms.
The overall winner of the hackathon and the 100k prize was Team Moscow, for their very cool app “Donate Now”. Donate Now is an app for charity that encourages people to give to a cause quickly and easily. The example they used for their demonstration was a food truck passing out food in the city. Using bluetooth low energy, they broadcast out that this cause is looking for donations. On the truck there is an LED display saying the current running total of their donations. People passing by can open the app, it automatically detects the organization in the area due to BLE, and with one tap using PayPal to donate to that charity. The running total on the truck’s LED display is instantly increased to the current donation total.
Each team created an awesome hack, given their tight 24 hour time limit. I was also a fan of Team Berlin’s “Net Pay”, which helped businesses do payroll for seasonal or temporary workers. I could see myself using that app in my business, and I am sure many others would find it useful.
Congratulations to all the hackers for their victories, hard work and creating amazing products in such tight timeframes. Battlehack was a very cool event, and I look forward to being able to attend Battlehack 2014 (as a judge or as a participant)!