Local hackers make their way to Silicon Valley
They came, they hacked, and now they’re getting ready to go to Silicon Valley.
A group of developers from Davao and Pampanga will soon be heading to the world’s tech mecca after besting more than 250 other Philippine hackers in a 24-hour coding competition organized by wireless services leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and business incubator IdeaSpace Foundation, in partnership with US-based AngelHack.
Team PageSnapp – composed of Rolly Rulete, Marvin Consuegra, Mio Miguel Galang, Raymund Delfin, and Jay Albano – was named winner of the Manila leg of the AngelHack Spring Global Challenge after building a web application that allows businesses to instantly create an Android mobile app using content from their Facebook pages.
The team won more than P2 million in prizes, including a $5,000 travel grant to Silicon Valley where AngelHack will introduce them to incubators and investors to help turn their big idea into a startup. They will also get a $20,000 investment from Asia Pacific Ventures, an incorporation grant from IdeaSpace, at least $20,000 worth of services from sponsors, two Smart LTE iPad mini units, and a 12-week mentorship from IdeaSpace and the Smart Developer Network (Smart DevNet).
“It’s a huge problem for small businesses to go mobile, and no one’s solved it. They [Team PageSnapp] created something that would help these businesses make apps easily, and they did this in a super simple way. It’s a very unique application. It’s one of those things that other people have tried to do but have not figured out how to do simply,” said AngelHack founder and CEO Greg Gopman, who was one of the event’s judges.
“This project will help a lot of small businesses get online and get mobile, and bring their services to a bigger audience,” said another judge, TechCrunch writer Josh Constine.
“A dream come true”
“This is a dream come true,” said Rulete. “We came here thinking that win or lose, we would enjoy the experience. We thought the app was worth finishing, even without the big prize,” he added.
Rulete is no stranger to winning coding marathons, having been part of the team that bagged the Best Use of Smart APIs (app programming interface) award at an HTML5 hackathon organized last year by Smart Dev Net. That team’s winning project eventually became the mobile app for Project NOAH, a disaster prevention and mitigation program developed by the government in partnership with Smart and other companies.
Rulete also developed the Android version of the eLeksyon2103 app, the information and learning mobile app of the Commission on Elections.
“We thank Smart for encouraging developers to be active, and for organizing activities that help us broaden our network,” Rulete said.
Team PageSnapp, winner of AngelHack Manila
PageSnapp beat 52 other apps from varying fields. The teams presented their apps to a panel of judges comprised of leaders in the startup, developer, and venture capital communities: Morphlabs founder Winston Damarillo, Metro Deal founder Ralph Wunsch, Jay Yao of MerchantCloud, Microsoft Philippines’ Alvin Gendrano, Shoephoric.com founder Ann Jacobe, Stratpoint’s Floyd Piedad, CashCashPinoy’s Frederic Levy, BlackBerry’s Jiazi Xu, Seed Asia’s Beryl Li, JR Contreras of Imperium Technologies, Meralco’s Ernie Imperial, Adrich Scheuders of Freelancer.ph, and Novare’s Miguel Paraz.
Breaking into the big leagues
Team PageSnapp is one of 32 winners of the AngelHack Spring Global Challenge which has been conducted in various cities in Asia Pacific, North America, South America, and Europe. The 32 winning teams will present their startups to investors, influencers, and media during the Global Demo Day in Silicon Valley this September. Ten of them will also be given booths at the September 7 to 11 TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco, the number one startup conference in the world.
Previous winners of AngelHack, considered the largest hackathon in the world, have gone on to attend incubators like Y-Combinator, AngelPad, Mass Challenge, TechStars, and 500 Startups.
“AngelHack Manila has provided a very rare opportunity for a developer-centric startup to make it big in Silicon Valley. We’re all excited at Smart DevNet and IdeaSpace to see Team PageSnapp represent Filipino developers and start-uppers in San Francisco this coming September,” said Smart developer evangelist Paul Pajo.
“We’re happy that the idea of hackathons is picking up steam in the local developer scene. The success of AngelHack Manila validates that,” noted Jim Ayson of the Smart Partner Management and Developer Relations team.
“Smart DevNet believes every organization, from corporations to the public sector, can use hackathons as a source of product innovation, allowing ideas from independent developers to bubble up to the surface. AngelHack Manila has allowed us to bring the best practices of a California-style hackathon to Manila,” he added.
AngelHack Manila was organized by key officers of IdeaSpace and Smart DevNet with AngelHack ambassadors Erlyn Hinojas and Diego Jose Ramos.
Main sponsors include 1337 Ventures, Amazon Web Services, Asia Pacific Ventures, BlackBerry, Chikka, Developers Connect Philippines, Freelancer.ph, Google Developers Group, Hobby Mash, Infinite.ly, Microsoft Philippines, Mobile TAO, Mozilla Philippines, Orange and Bronze, RideIn, San Miguel, Shoephoric, Smart LTE, SourcePad, and Voyager Innovations.