Update: The Berlin leg of the Battle Hack competition was won by WeBzerking Care, a TransferWise-like app for charity donations across national and currency boundaries ensuring that nothing is lost in bank fees. The three-member team, who come from Berlin and Cologne, will now fly to San Jose in California in November to represent the German capital at the grand final (with a totally new hack).
It was one of 28 submitted projects at the hackathon, which took place at the Umspannwerk Alexanderplatz on Saturday and Sunday. Silicon Allee publisher Nadahl Shocair was on the jury which selected the winner, and he said: “The decision was incredibly tight. Compared to other hackathons, we have had really a very high quality of submissions this weekend. It was also impressive to see how many teams persevered to the end.”
Andreas Osowski was on the winning team, and he said: “It’s still hard to believe that we have actually won. We started the contest yesterday [on Saturday] without any expectations and now, 24 hours later, we’ve got a plane ticket to California. We’re very much looking forward to being at the world finals in November.”
Hackathons come in many shapes and sizes, but throw the word ‘luxurious’ around and watch developers’ ears prick up. That’s the description given to PayPal’s Battle Hack, which takes places around the world and is in Berlin this weekend.
The winners will be flown to San Jose in California to compete against the champions from the other 13 cities for a grand prize of $100,000 (€73,600), but the promise to top-quality food, decent beer, survival kits and even massages will surely prove the big draw.
But if you’re a hard-nosed geek who doesn’t care about such frivolities, then bear in mind that the PayPal team – lead by John Lunn – only care about the tech; business cases are NOT a factor.
Speaking to Silicon Allee on Friday morning as he was on his way to Berlin, John said: “It’s a great way to see how people interact with your products. Over the weekend, we will have 200 or so developers building products, and they to integrate PayPal APIs into your hack in order to win so we get to see how they interact with our APIs; where they get stuck, where they don’t get stuck, what they love and what they don’t love. So it’s a really good way to get product feedback, which can actually be quite hard to get.”
Hackers will be using payment and identity APIs from PayPal and Braintree, a mobile payments solution. As for the luxury, John added: “We ensure that we have incredibly good food. We will have local Berlin food provided outside in food trucks – quite regularly Battle Hack features on food blogging sites. In the evening there will be massages to help the developers get over their sore coding shoulders. There will be places to sleep, and we give them a survival kit which contains toothpaste, toothbrush, all that kind of stuff, to get them through the night. There will be plenty of nice beer, lots of little luxury things to keep people going.”
The hackathon is also aimed at solving problems – whether it be helping the charity ecosystem, or just making the city a better place to live in. And don’t worry, they will be showing Germany’s World Cup game against Ghana on Saturday evening…
You can still register for the hack here.