Sensis to host $10k hackathon at York Butter Factory

Australian search engine Sensis will host a start-up “hackathon” at Melbourne’s York Butter Factory this weekend, in the latest move by a large company to embrace start-up events.


In a bid to promote its newly launched Sensis API, which enables developers to search for and publish content from the Yellow Pages and White Pages, Sensis is hosting a start-up hackathon.


The SAPI Android V iOS Hackathon, held this weekend at Melbourne-based start-up incubator York Butter Factory, is aimed at Android and iOS developers.


Participants will compete in teams to build the best minimum viable product using Sensis API.


Both the Android and iOS platforms will be scored on the quality of their submissions, with a major prize of $10,000 and a supplementary prize for the best new feature request.


The winning team will also receive two full days of support from Sensis to help take the winning application to market, in addition to promotional opportunities.


According to Sensis senior product manager Tim Coor, the hackathon is an “unprecedented and experimental” coding event for the company.


“Fostering local innovation is a key benefit of launching SAPI… We look forward to working closely with the Australian developer community to guide its development,” he says.


“We see this as an opportunity to hear from developers throughout the hackathon based on their experience… Key to the future of SAPI is the direction and feedback provided to us.”


The hackathon will commence at 9am on November 19 and conclude at 7pm on November 20.


Aside from brief introductions, pitch preparation and presentations, competitors will spend the bulk of the two days on coding and development.


Sensis isn’t the first major company to boost its profile via a start-up event.


The Sydney Hackathon, held in September, was a joint initiative between Sydney University and global publishing house Elsevier.


The event involved teams competing to develop a desktop app within 24 hours, to be used on Elsevier’s Sciverse platform; a database of its scientific publications.


Meanwhile, well-known Australian tech start-up OrionVM provided hosting for the event.


Similarly, software company Atlassian recently hosted Launch48, an event whereby participants pitch, build and launch online businesses over the course of a weekend.


Joris Luijke, Atlassian vice president of human resources and talent, says the company readily involves itself in events such as Launch48 because it “bleeds green and gold”.


“We want Australian companies to succeed. We have really smart entrepreneurs and awesome technologies but we really need to support each other,” Luijke told StartupSmart.


“[Atlassian-hosted events give other start-ups the opportunity to] learn from our success but also our own learning process. It wasn’t that long ago that Atlassian was a start-up itself.”


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