The madness that was the Rise Hackathon!
The iconic Bombay Stock Exchange, established in 1875, has seen it all in its storied history. But it probably hasn’t seen anything the likes of the Rise Hackathon that took place on the weekend of September 24-25th 2016. The hackathon, hosted by Barclays, was the largest ever fintech hackathon EVER with 1000+ participants pitching their hacks and was held simultaneously in Mumbai and Manchester.
Day 1: Survival of the geekiest
The day started with the hackers trooping in at the wee hours of the morning. They were each handed survival kits with essentials for the 36 hours to follow.
Teething wi-fi issues didn’t diminish the crowd’s enthusiasm as the event was kicked off by Nik Adhia, VP Global Innovation at Barclays, who also doubled as the emcee. Don’t miss his bathrobe-light saber look!
Once the teams were settled in and wi-fi issues resolved, the coding commenced. The crowd was a good mix with everyone from engineering students to experienced professionals taking part. The hackathon partners held Breakout sessions to educate participants of their offerings. Gupshup demoed their chatbot-building platform and spoke about the exciting ecosystem of chatbots.
The teams also took time off from their hacks to indulge in some fun. Participants in Manchester did the Gangnam Style dance while Mumbai shot a Harlem Shake video that was pure insanity! There was also some Nerf gun action, funky team selfies and a rogue R2D2 balloon.
Teams showed no signs of slowing down late in the evening. Chairs gave way to beanbags and the beanbags eventually gave way to sleeping bags but the teams soldiered on. The Gupshup team was pleasantly surprised with all the queries they received throughout the night!
Day 2: Pitches be crazy
To rejuvenate the mind and the body, day 2 started off with a Yoga session.
As teams were finalizing their hacks, Nik hosted a ‘Pitch Practice’ session. Teams just had 3 minutes to make their perfect pitch to a panel of experts. Teams agonized over every tiny detail of their hack as the deadline neared.
The clock struck 2pm and this meant a code freeze for all teams. The pitches soon began and the judges were impressed by the quality of hacks that were on display. In less than 36 hours, teams had full fleshed out ideas into full fledged products! Gupshup judged many teams that had built chatbots on their platform. Team Muneem fought out the competition to win the partner prize, having built a personal financial assistant chatbot.
What a weekend it was! Congratulation to all the winners and a big shoutout to team Barclays and Rise for the effort that went into organizing the hackathon. It’s not everyday that one gets to be part of a world record.