This weekend, I competed at the LAUNCH Hackathon 2013 in San Francisco.LAUNCH

What was it about?

The goal was to create a product + company in a little less than two days. The hackathon started on Friday night and all coding stopped at 4pm on Sunday.

Prizes ranged from $250 to $5k for SDK implementation, and the grand prize was 50k in venture funding + AngelList investment of $800k

My team was all Microsoft Evangelists. Myself, Kevin Ashley, Alice Pang and Craig Presti.

What did we do?

We arrived on Friday and started planning our project. We debated a lot over different ideas and business models, trying to find the right balance between technically doable (with time constraint), profitable business model, and what would pitch well to judges.

By early Saturday morning, we settled on the idea “RENTAG” a “one tap rental solution” Website with screenshots and info:

We got a simple prototype working on Saturday, and Sunday we focused on perfecting our pitch. Kevin even brought in his Skis (with NFC sticker placed on) we could “rent” for our live demo.CraigWorking

What was the result?

I thought we nailed the pitch! Alice tapped her phone to the Skis, and the rental appeared almost instantly on Craig’s Surface. The judges seemed interested throughout and understood the idea. Afterwards, they had positive things to say.

Our review we got afterwards:

“9 out of 10. Great team and great implementation. Good use of hardware too and finding a partner! Would be great to see more platforms as well (but know that is easy.)”

Despite our good review, we were not selected as one of the final 15 (out of 147 teams who finished products and 1,000+ contestants). But we showed off some cool technology (Windows 8+Windows Phone devices and app development, as well as NFC), talked to a few other developers, and overall had a great time.

Congrats to all the awesome teams who participated, and especially the winners and finalists!