The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events for professionals

Event review: She Hacks – Australia’s first female-focused hackathon — March 30, 2014

Event review: She Hacks – Australia’s first female-focused hackathon

She Hacks Melbourne - Yishan Chan Photography
Yishan Chan Photograph

Kat Loughrey recently caught up with She Hacks runner-up Jackie Antig, on her first-time hackathon experience.

If you somehow missed it, Melbourne recently played host to its first ever all female hackathon called She Hacks. Girl Geek Dinners ran the event with the aim of bringing together groups of women across different skill sets to engage in collaborative computer programming. The theme was ‘Communities & Neighbourhoods’ and each group was provided the space, and support via industry mentors, to develop and nurture an app concept in less than 24 hours. As a mentor, I was suitably impressed by the creativity, ideas and sheer determination by the teams to produce a high quality product and prototype within this tight timeframe.

Selling out within a week and with the participant’s donations going to One Girl, the event was definitely a huge success and a big win for local women in tech. It showcased just how many talented women there are locally – and generated positive media coverage in the process.

To ensure success within the teams, each group was required to include three different skill sets: think Hipster (designer), Hacker (programmer) and Hustler (marketing and business – growth hacker). The Fetch Community Ambassador Jackie Antig assumed the hipster role within her team, and shared with me her recommended tips and insights on presenting at a hackathon.

What inspired you to participate in She Hacks?

I’ve been wanting to participate at a hackathon for years, but I didn’t have the courage to before. I am a bit of a shapeshifter across product feature development, communication and design for technology but I only know how to do a couple meagre lines of code (that may change in the future). I had falsely assumed that you had to be a true-bred coder in order to be a successful participant at a hack. She Hacks did a particularly swell job at rolling out the welcome mat for all backgrounds.

Of course, the focus on supporting and promoting women in technology was the biggest draw. One of the roads to closing the gender gap in the sector is skill development. Another road is building up confidence by being challenged and overcoming the challenges in a wicked smart, supportive environment. Girl Geek Dinners Melbourne and She Hacks takes care of both ends.

In making your final pitch, each team only had three mins to present. How did you find this and working with the team, to pull a presentation together with limited time?

In the beginning we were quite ambitious about the amount of information we were going to fold into the pitch. Our early time trials proved we needed to pare down. We prioritised defining the problem statement clearly, our product prototype demo and the storyline about how it addressed the problem statement. We sacrificed the gory details about business forecasting and sustainability but had a feeling that the judges would likely tease those elements out in the question round.

There’s so much you could include but with limited time, what are the top five things you’d recommend that you should make sure to include in your presentation?

Problem, solution, empathy, feedback, and actionable idealism.

Identify a clear-cut problem, design a solution driven by empathy and test your assumptions. Display a sense of actionable idealism; dream up something wild but show you know how to break it up into realistic bite-sized pieces and steps.

I noticed that most groups used slides and visuals. What do you think are “must-haves” in the way of visuals for your presentation?

Minimalism and impact.

She Hacks had an impressive panel of judges (see list here). Knowing who they would be, did that change the way your team decided to present? What do you think the judges were looking for from the teams?

We kept their background separate from our approach. The three minute time limit was the cracking whip against our backs.

I would say they seemed to be evaluating feasibility and real-world application.

Best part of the pitch presentation?

The rush to get up and tell everyone about what we came up with.

Worst part of the pitch presentation?

The nagging feeling we forgot to mention something important.

Would you participate in a hackathon again where you need to present/pitch?

Absolutely! Already searching for the next one.

What advice would you give to others doing a hackathon for the first time and for women considering participating in next year’s She Hacks?

You have the chops!

She Hacks - Wake Up Dress Up team - Yishan Chan Photography
The ‘Wake Up Dress Up’ app team with their runner up awards – Quinnie Chen, Jude Gammie, Jackie Antig. (Image credit: Yishan Chan Photography)

Your team came second, congratulations! So what’s next for your app idea: ‘Wake Up Dress Up‘?

Thank you! We’re trying our best to follow through on actionable idealism. We will be doing a healthy dose of evaluating the morning routine needs of women and the current relationship-building models local fashion designers currently engage in with their customers through a combination of data gathering and ongoing conversation.

We also need a mobile developer on board. Drop a hello our way via Twitter if want to learn more or are interested in pitching in:

SheHacks 2014 Melbourne from Inspire9 on Vimeo.

Thanks to the She Hacks official photographer, Yishan Chan Photography, for the photos. See her full gallery here from the event.

About our Curator // Kat Loughrey is the Melbourne Curator of The Fetch, a community where professionals can discover and share what’s happening in their city. Originally from Brisbane, via Japan, Kat now lives in Melbourne – a digital content strategist by day and explorer of Melbourne’s digital/tech, arts and music scenes by night. Follow her on Twitter at @KatLoughrey & @thefetchMELB

Our top 10 Startups from TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013 — September 15, 2013

Our top 10 Startups from TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013


Last week entrepreneurs from around the world descended on San Francisco for one of the most anticipated technology conferences of the year: TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013.

The event spanned five days including a 24-hour Hackathon, nearly 200 startups vying for attention in Startup Alley, and a select few competing in a Shark Tank-esque Startup Battlefield for a $50k grand prize.

Amidst the chaos of quadcopter drones, drained smartphones, and conflicting investor interests, we found 10 startups that were hustling to disrupt their respective fields. In no particular order:

1. – CEO Jeff Yuda presented as a Battlefield competitor. provides a turnkey legal streaming solution for websites, games, and app developers to (legally) enhance their products with popular music. Yuda dropped a powerful statistic: in their early testing, every website integrating saw “average time spent on site” increase by at least 20%. Without exception.

2. TidePool – In a time when people are becoming increasingly interested in quantifying the intangible, Tidepool helps users understand how their personality, thinking and mood influence their daily performance. Using state-of-the-art scientific techniques and patented technology, the app provides insight into each user’s unique personality. TidePool is co-Founded by Galen Buckwalter (the scientific founder of eHarmony) and Vamsee Nalamothu (formerly of Zynga, eBay, and PayPal).

3. Soil IQ – Soil IQ is bringing the “Internet of things” trend to urban and rural farming. They have built a soil probe that streams soil fertility and weather data back to a paired app. Founder Jason Aramburu is a Princeton grad and soil scientist who has worked with hundreds of Kenyan farmers to increase crop yields. The probes can operate on 3G or wifi and can even “mesh” together to cover large segments of farmland. Soil IQ was an obvious crowd favorite and Battlefield finalist.

4. eGood – eGood harnesses everyday purchasing power for social change. At the heart of eGood is a social good movement, powered by real-time connections via a mobile app, online community, and an in-store iPad system. Consumers check-in at eGood businesses and companies donate a percentage of sales to the charity of their choice. If it works, eGood is essentially allowing companies to divert marketing dollars directly to impactful causes without reducing their social presence.

5. Kronicle – Kronicle helps people learn seemingly complex skills and tasks by redesigning and visually breaking down information in ways never before possible. Through the combination of video, audio, images, text and, most importantly, time, the team at Kronicle has built a beautiful (and probably addictive) new learning platform.

6. Regalii – Regalii is a mobile payments system targeted towards Latin America which allows users to send money back home via SMS for the purposes of paying bills or buying groceries. Both Founders have finance backgrounds and have already received notable traction. From an investment standpoint, Regalii is poised to generate real value almost immediately.

7. Cota by Ossia – Wireless power has been a dream since Nikola Tesla’s first attempts in the late 19th century. Hatem Zeine, physicist and Founder of Cota, presented the first public demonstration of his wireless electricity prototype. He wirelessly powered a tiny light bulb and charged an iPhone 5 before a cheering crowd. He claimed that Cota is not only safe, but that it is “impossible to be dangerous.” He hopes to eliminate the concept of “charging” altogether.

8. Dryft – Dryft is a virtual keyboard for tablets named because it will drift around the screen as your fingers become slightly misplaced. It’s patented “touch tap” technology can detect whether a tablet user is resting or typing when touching the keys. The real magic of Dryft is how it minimizes errors before they even occur. By adapting to your typing style, Dryft lowers your dependence on auto-correct. Its Founders are hopeful that soon users will be able to type faster on a tablet with Dryft than they can on a physical keyboard.

9. Shine – Shine is antivirus software designed to meet and keep up with today’s threats and devices. Instead of blocking files or virus signatures like traditional antivirus software, Shine performs real-time behavioral analysis on the device itself using machine learning algorithms. New threats are identified moments after they occur. Shine then “self-heals” by walking the device backward until it’s as if the malicious attack never occurred.

10. Glow – Glow is an ambitious enterprise where for the first time ever, the emerging ability to crunch and analyze vast quantities of data will be specifically used to help women get pregnant. Bundled into this app is a premium service called Glow First, which Founder Max Levchin describes as an “opt-in mutual health financial product,” essentially a private user-funded insurance program. Currently, only the app is fully functional, but according to Levchin the ultimate vision is much grander: “let’s go fix health insurance!”

About our Ambassador // When not reporting for The Fetch, Collin Ferry is carving a path for Ergo Depot, San Francisco’s first and only ergonomic furniture studio. He recently co-piloted a national tour for IdeaMensch and has otherwise traveled all over the planet. Follow him on Twitter at @collinferry.

Image credit: Jeff Bottari/TechCrunch

Event Review: Launch 48 Melbourne — June 21, 2012

Event Review: Launch 48 Melbourne

So you want to launch a startup, but don’t have a team, the technical know-how, or even a clue about where to start? Don’t worry! Now, thanks to Launch 48, it’s easy to build your idea into something amazing.

Launch48 provides a place for Zuckerberg-wannabes to link up with like-minded co-founders to dive into the world of wireframes, pivots and (hopefully) monetisation. By providing attendees a loose structure to guide them on their way, access to a panel of awesome mentors, and just the right amount of beer and pizza, Launch48 gives teams the tools they need to build their ‘next big thing‘ during an action packed 48 hours.

The Launch48 weekend is a unique experience for building online businesses with a group of teams from a range of backgrounds and different sets of skills. For each team, the goal is simple: pitch, build and launch an online business in 48 hours.

All Photos with thanks to Simon Walker.

The Launch48 weekend is different from most hack-days and entrepreneurial events because:

  • They offer a great set of mentors that work with groups to develop their web business
  • Each team has about 15 people working on each idea from a broad range of backgrounds
  • Participants meet, learn from, and work with many people throughout the event
  • All aspects of a business are covered including planning, marketing, PR, branding, design, finance, and development

The first Aussie Launch48 was held in Melbourne in April 2011. During that weekend I was fortunate to be in the team that worked on what is now successful Melbourne learning startup, WeTeachMe (read more about the Whiteboard to Working Prototype of WeTeachMe).

Later that year, organisers Grant Downie and Daniel May run the format for a second time, this time in Sydney. Out of that weekend, gift discover site Present Pod was born.

Fair to say, it’s a pretty impressive track record to have two executed startups delivered as the result of two Launch 48 weekends.

Having attending other hackathons I really enjoy the business style format of the weekend; meaning anyone – technical or otherwise – can get involved and provide value to their respective teams. Indeed, our team of 15 contained only a single developer – lucky he was an absolute gun, cause we worked him hard!

Our team worked on a product we named Skiip. Skiip wants to make it easier for builder and renovators to buy and sell material. The construction industry generates a lot of wasted building materials, most of which go straight to landfill. Yet these materials have value and people want them. Skiip helps solve this problem by connecting buyers and sellers of recycled building materials. It makes money by clipping the ticket on each transaction.

Other products worked on at the most recent Launch 48 included:

  • Markive – a web based platform that allows its users to capture street art through the camera functionality of their mobile devices. Markive then acts as a map based archive of street art pieces or street art sites with the functionality to “zoom” through time and watch the evolution of an artwork or the site of an artwork.
  • AppyWife – a mobile app that offers husbands a way to please their woman on special occasions without having to remember the little details. It takes the hassle out of gift giving by suggesting relevant sites and one click solutions for gift ideas. AppyWife ma es happy wives by reminding men of special dates.
  • Qjumper – A platform allowing consumer andkcorporate buyers special access to exclusive products, services and other scarce items. Initially focussing on the restaurant market, the Qjumpr iPhone application provides a unique opportunity to book a table via a fun and engaging auction process. Through Qjumpr, buyers will be able to bid to book tables at highly sought after restaurants that would otherwise require bookings 4-8 weeks in advance.

Keep a look out for the above names, as the strength of these teams leads me to think that Launch 48 weekend won’t be the last time we hear from them!

I highly recommend Launch 48 for anyone interested in startups. Whether you are a first timer looking for a crash course on the start-to-execution process or a seasoned pro looking to validate their next idea, Launch 48 will help get you there!

There are plans for another Sydney Launch48 over the coming months, and keep an ear out for more Melbourne weekend announcements soon.

Launch48 Melbourne | Launch48 Sydney
Twitter: @Launch48Aus

About our writer: Stephen Colman

Stephen is a Melbourne-based online development and user experience guy working in financial services. He’s the cofounder of @PresentPod and a defender of users. Follow him on Twitter @StephenColman or on his blog.

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