This weekend, students from all over the east coast descended on NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences to participate in hackNY’s fall student hackathon. HackNY is an intercollegiate organization designed to keep the tech talent off Wall Street and interested in startups. The students spent 24 coding in order to impress judges like former TechStars NY managing director David Tisch and Chris Poole, aka Moot.
A large number of the hacks presented used Tumblr’s API, including one smut-filled surprise. Naturally, three of the projects also incorporated GIFs.
The most impressive showing of the day was definitely Dom, a video game “on top of the Internet.” The game turns the layout of any website into a 3D landscape where players have to shoot away oncoming robots. Their fully-functional demo drew actual gasps from the crowd as 3D characters climbed all over Vimeo’s homepage to destroy some bad guys. The game also uses Tumblr’s API to alternate between changing background images of outer space. Dom won first place and a cash prize of $1,001 to split between the team’s five members.
Unless you’ve gone off the grid, you probably already know that Internet Week 2012 launches on Monday. But with a dizzying number of events to attend, it’s hard to figure out which ones are worth the time, effort and subway fare. Betabeat guest blogger Gary Sharma, something of an events truffle hound, already penned his personal list of recommendations. But consider this Betabeat’s official to-do list: blogger tested, Betabeat approved.
So you’ve seen the guide to holiday parties, which features free, open bar events on the startup scene’s dime. But Betabeat started getting tips of another variety: parties that cost money but which go to a good cause. So we’ll be listing those here. If you know of one, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Raise Cache, the techie fashion show presented by Raptor Ventures, raised $75,000 from selling 1,500 tickets, an additional $20,000 or so in Skillshare classes, and another $5,000 or so through an auction. That means the event slightly exceeded its rather ambitious $100,000 goal for the HackNY programmer apprenticeship program that encourages students to intern with startups instead of heading to Wall Street.
“A lot of times I thought it wasn’t going to happen,” organizer Rebecca Zhou told Betabeat. “In the Armory, a car looks like an ant. I was like, ‘omigosh, how are we going to fill this thing?’ But it all came together.”
“We need to form two lines,” said the Raise Cache volunteer, parting the sea of people amassed outside the Park Avenue Armory last night into those with VIP tickets and those without. “Separate, but equal . . . kind of,” she added. The crowd laughed and Betabeat patiently waited our turn. After all, it’s not everyday you see patent leather pumps and fringe mixed in with the Converse and jeans.
Everyone who’s anyone from the startup world had gathered there to raise money for a universally-beloved cause: a fundraiser for hackNY, the program that shepherds computer science students towards Startupland–and away from Goldman. And, oh boy, did folks clean up nice. Seriously, where have all you PYTs been hiding?
the startup rundown
STARTUP WEEKEND. Startup Weekend is now an affiliate of the Kauffman Foundation, the same entity that funds AngelList. ”While Startup Weekend will continue to operate autonomously, becoming a Kauffman affiliate will allow the organization to increase its geographical reach, conduct more frequent events, and build long-term sustainability. Startup Weekend events bring entrepreneurs and supporters together and teaches Read More
Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart
There were a few factors that made hackNY’s fourth intercollegiate hackathon the one to beat.
First, the much-loved local fellowship program got ambassadors from the likes of Pivotal Labs, Foursquare, Code Academy, Twilio and Google (“But I’m not here officially,” said the rep who shall not be named) to hold office hours during the hackathon. They were on hand to help bleary-eyed hackers running on
In the first hour alone, we learned about a stealth New York startup with some big name clients and an upcoming Turntable.fm party. Add in some humorous contestants (“It’s its like Chatroulette, but without the dicks!” was one memorable tagline) and some familiar judges (David Tisch, Chris Dixon, Charlie O’Donnell, Khoi Vinh) and it made Betabeat wish we’d stayed up all night too. Well, not really, but close enough.
the startup rundown
SHARE AND TELL. Skillshare is testing out “courses,” similar to the multi-part classes and certification programs at General Assembly. The first trial course is being run by CEO Mike Karnjanaprakhorn called “Launching Your Startup Idea.” “We’re looking to expand our class types so it’s not just one-off-classes,” he said.
IDK WE MIGHT GO. Does anyone else here hate Plancast? Betabeat does! We also hate Google Calendar! So much clicking! So it was of great interest to us to see that WeWork Labs-based startup Tentative.ly has soft launched to let you easily bookmark events across the web.
CAPTURE THE FOURSQUARE. From New Work City and New Zealand startup Snapr: “We are launching a new app – Capture the Flag “The Mobile Photosharing Game of World Domination” that’s built off our API and takes advantage of our soon to be announced location based gaming features. You can see a demo for the game and download the app here: http://capturethefl.ag/. In the game people join teams and then check in photos to win territory.”
Words of Wisdom
Moot (né Christopher Poole) was the latest tech luminary to impart his wisdom and experience, accumulated over the past 20-something years, to hackNY’s 2011 class.
Akarshan Kumar, one of hackNY’s new fellows, chronicled the experience on his blog New York Summer. In the two-hour talk Mr. Poole covered everything from his personal temperament (“I’m not easily offended. I run 4chan”) to not being friends with your board members.
But Mr. Poole’s most trenchant advice seemed to be about picking the right co-founder and the benefits of imperfection. When picking a partner to run your start-up, over-eagerness should be a turn-off. Instead, he told them, go for a hard-to-get founder you’re going to have to fight to work with. Mr. Kumar’s take away? “If your prospective co-founder wants to sleep with you, don’t sleep with him.”
Here’s a little anecdote to get the day started. Some dudes in Balitmore with a parking app and a panda for their mascot totally left that town and headed to the Big Apple when they landed a spot in the innagural ER Accelerator.
For anyone who’s been paying attention, New York is throwing a sort of start-up summer camp this year, with half a dozen accelerators and incubators putting young start-ups through the paces. The L.A. Times, which doesn’t even mention ER by name, seems blown away by the idea of a company getting $25,000 and a spot in Times Square.