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Behind the Bar: Observations from a Hackathon Newbie & Bartender

Being a hackathon newbie until this weekend, I had always imagined hackathons as a room filled with glasses wearing programming nerds.  Bartending my first, I realized that they are fun, bonding experiences filled with innovation and networking opportunities. I served as bartender of the “Byte Bar” which was sponsored by Byte Academy, the coding bootcamp that partnered with StartupBootcamp FinTech, a global accelerator, on the event.  This was StartupBootcamp’s first hackathon in the United States and appropriately called FinTech City Never Sleeps. Developers, VCs, designers, and more from across industries came together to solve some of the greatest challenges in financial technology. Categories of challenges included Financial Trust, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Financial Inclusion, and Target Niche Banking. Technology, energy drinks, banks and companies from around the world sponsored the event, even providing beer openers (thank you Xignite for making my life easier…)
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Aside from the enrollees, comedians, industry experts, volunteers and business minds contributed to the 24 hour event. Cody Hess, a coding instructor, MC’ed the orchestration. His programming jokes still make me laugh..

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Among the judges were several scholars including Laurence Latimer of IEX, the first equity trading venue owned exclusively by a consortium of buy-side investors, Ajay Ohri who is a published Data Science instructor at Byte Academy and Emily Hunt, managing Byte’s business. Teams had created a variety of unconventional, bright ideas regarding the categories given, thanks to the API sponsors which included Xignite, Quovo, Third Party Trade, Thomson Reuters and Intrinio. The hackathon resulted in several winners:

IdealKarma was chosen as the Best Innovative Idea and Best Overall for building an app focused on financial inclusion and quick credit building,

QSocial won the Best Use of Xignite API for creating a social network for traders,

Orpheus won Best Technical Solution for creating a mobile app that helps millennials save money.

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Prizes included a $100 Amazon gift card per team member sponsored by Xignite, an Amazon Echo provided by Quovo, and a pitch to Thomson and Reuters executives sponsored by Thomson and Reuters.

The hackathon exceeded my expectations.  If you are holding one and would like to bartend just email karina.d@byteacademy.co

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