Need is the seed of innovation.
This was the inspiration for the sixth edition of the AngelHack Manila hackathon, held recently at ASPACE Makati, with the theme “Seamless.” AngelHack is the world’s most diverse hacker community, driving innovation of tech products through developer programs.
Spearheaded again this year by PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications through its Developer Network (Smart DevNet), the event aims to enable up and coming tech rock stars from all over the Philippines to build original, creative, and sustainable projects. Smart DevNet is Smart’s developer community program, which promotes app development and technopreneurship by organizing and supporting tech events and meetups.
Teams of five were invited to develop their own innovations within a series of key performance indicators and under strict criteria. The teams presented in front of a panel of judges, who picked one who would have the opportunity to go to Silicon Valley to further develop their startup project.
Paul Pajo, cofounder of Smart DevNet, said the key to this year’s AngelHack was to discover seamless innovations. “Allow people to see, or let other people experience how technology works when it’s all connected, when it’s all happening at the same time,” explained Pajo.
The organizers expected this year’s theme to produce output that would address local and specific issues. “We want to see something very local. I asked them what their interests were, because I think it’s important to build some product that you actually care about,” said Ha Pham, AngelHack regional manager for Asia-Pacific.
A total of nine teams competed for various prizes. In the end, it was down to three teams, with Team Relax, You’re Doing Just Fine emerging as the winner. Their project was a digital paluwagan named “Ipon Pinoy,” a funds- or investment-pooling system using a multi-signature wallet.
The winning team was composed of Martin Magpantay, Joussyd Calubig, Dan Michael Molina, and Jonathan Leijendekker. The team won a slot at AngelHack’s 12-week HACKCelerator program, and an invitation to pitch to venture capitalists in Silicon Valley for Global Demo Day.
“Ipon Pinoy has been a long-standing idea among us, and we are grateful for AngelHack because now we have venue to start and execute this project,” said Magpantay.
The first runner-up prize went to Team Mongoose for “Renew: Plastic as Currency,” a system that uses tokens for plastic recycling that can be turned into carbon credits. Team members include Kevin Velasco, Julius Plocios, Daniel Francia, Anthony dela Cruz, and Don Vito Alzaga.
Second runner-up was Team Dolphins with “Ligare,” an educational platform that allows students to learn from people capable of teaching them on classes of their choice. The team is composed of college students Kyle Tan, Pia Zulueta, Alexander Go Tian, and Rupert Seňga.
As technology levels the playing field, there is indeed more opportunities for growth especially in developing countries like the Philippines. If the contestants are any indication of the nation’s future, Filipinos have a lot to be excited about.