The following is an article “Five Innovative Businesses That Came Out of Hackathons” by Marc Primo.
As its name implies, hacakthons are a marathon of hacks from various tech experts who are mostly into the modern entrepreneurial world of startups. They are those who are ready for sleepless nights to work and pursue more groundbreaking innovations. But there is really more to hackathons than just what laymen label as “nerdy stuff”. Probing this worldwide tech phenomenon deeper will give you a sense of community where most (if not all), of the best businesses today were bred. Simply put, hackathons are the new mecca for business.
Hackathons are organized events usually attended by creative and talented startups that are very much willing to share and learn more ideas that can improve their business models. It is also where cool applications are born and ideas for improved technology are conceived.
Below, we share with you some of the top businesses that came out of hackathons and their respective contributions to today’s startup ecosystem.
GroupMe. This free messaging app, which became a sensation during TechCrunch Disrupt in 2012, was swift in making its first million. Prior to the TechCrunch Hackathon, the app was already delivering over 100 million messages per month in 2011. This figure quickly appreciated to 550 million by mid 2012 prompting mobile communications giant Skype to acquire it for a cool $80 million.
Appetas. People will always be hungry at some point and this startup knew how to capitalize on that fact when it introduced Appetas in AngelHack 2012. Designed to make regular updates on our favorite restaurants in clear and beautifully designed mobile sites, the Satellite-born app eventually won the hackathon and is now acquired by no less than Google.
PowerWells. Electronic waste has been a global problem for decades and this startup did something genius to recycle them. By resorting to solar energy with the use of electronic waste such as used laptop batteries and appliances, PowerWells introduced their innovation during the Logan Social Enterprise Startup Weekend Hackathon in 2017 and has won in the Pitch@Palace entrepreneurship event last year, catapulting the startup to a global scale.
Start Talking. Like PowerWells, startups that address social concerns and come up with innovative ideas than can foster positive change is what usually works well during hackathons. Another one of these social entrepreneurs is Start Talking, which provides their users with proper and affordable counselling, psychiatric help, and life coaching though messages or video calls. Start Talking was introduced in Hacking The Gigabit City 2013 and has since then made waves for its great security features, user-friendly interface, and of course, professional help.
Easy Taxi. Transportation has been one of the main problems in Brazil but thanks to Easy Taxi, commuters are now finding more convenient ways to get a ride. Debuting their app during Startup Weekend Rio 2011 and eventually winning the hackathon, Easy Taxi offers Brazilians a range of transportation alternatives via cabs, scooters, or private cars similar to Uber or Grab. The once humble startup now operates in over 30 countries today.
Carousell. Now considered as one of the top apps where shopaholics frequent, this startup made its mark in Singapore’s Startup Weekend 2012. The app allows users to join communities of buyers and sellers offering any merchandise under the sun for more reasonable costs. The convenience they offer is unmatched in how it is confined to a click of a button on your mobile phone for the things you no longer need, want to sell, or buy. Today, Carousell is big in over 19 countries mainly in Southeast Asia.