January 27, 2014

HackHarvard Hosts HackWeek 2014

Last week, HackHarvard hosted their annual “Hack Week” event that connects budding student entrepreneurs with the resources, mentorship and pizza to launch their own tech product in a matter of days. In this intensive week-long incubator program, 12 teams and more than 20 students attended seminars, met with tech leaders from around Boston, visited start-ups, receive mentorship from senior members of the computer science program. They hacked their way through a week, and the program culminated in their very own Demo Day, to showcase of their projects.

The audience Sunday was full of students, faculty, entrepreneurs, and investors. The energy in the room was electric as the event kicked off with a keynote speech from Elias Torres, VP of Engineering at HubSpot. Torres who holds an SM in Computer Science from Harvard, shared stories of his time at IBM, education, life lessons and his role now at HubSpot.

Following the keynote, the "Starting Up as a Student" panel discussion included the following area tech leaders:

Rob Rubin, Vice President of Engineering and Educational Services at edX
Hugo Van Vuuren, Co-Founder and Partner at The Experiment Fund
Peter Boyce, Investor at General Catalyst and Founder of Rough Draft Ventures
Dave Biscelgia, Co-Founder of The Tap Lab
Zach Dunn, Co-Founder of One Mighty Roar
Elias Torres, Vice President of Engineering at HubSpot

The panel shared advice and experiences and answers questions from the audience. The range of questions from the student entrepreneurs were that of depth and curiosity. Asking everything from, “When should I make the leap and take on my project full-time” to “How can the tech community grow to embrace gender diversity?” When the panel had finished sharing their insight it was onto the students, to show off the awesome projects they had created in a few short days.

Of the 15, here were some of the notable projects that demoed:

crtIQ, created by Daniel Yue and Dominick Zheng. crtIQ is a community of photography enthusiasts that allows its users to upload their photos, give and receive constructive feedback, and learn how to become better photographers. The inspiration for the idea came as Yue and Zheng grew frustrated with the seemingly endless number of online photography tutorials with little educational return. They created crtIQ as an opportunity for amateur photographers to learn more about the craft and give/receive constructive critiques along the way.

reSound, created by Roger Zurawicki. reSound is a, "new way to listen to music" providing the user a seamless music listening experience as they move from device to device. Pause your music on one device, press play on another, and pick up right where you left off. Zurawicki said, "I had been wanting to make reSound since November but I did not have the time during classes... HackHarvard made mentors readily accessible. Without [those] resources...I would not have been able to start learning iOS development Wednesday and have a working app by Sunday." Keep your eye out for future versions of reSound, Zurawicki is currently working on a Mac desktop version to sync with all your iOS devices.

Balloon, created by David Taitz and Hikari Senju. Balloon is a platform that allows you to send push notifications about group-events that you care about and are happening near you. This location-based makeover of Harvard’s Listservs, has larger goals of connecting friends and groups in a cool and innovative mobile experience. (Note: App is pending approval from the Apple App Store)

There were a slew of other amazing projects and you can find out more from the HackHarvard team.  Here are some more pictures from the event:

Jack DeManche is a contributor to VentureFizz.  You can follow Jack on Twitter (@GenuineJack) by clicking here.