Zurich, Switzerland October 4th – For two days, HackZurich, the biggest Hackathon in Europe supported by DigitalZurich2025, was again the center for programmers from all around the world. Over 500 hackers participated in this year’s edition. International companies provided the participants with hardware and programming frameworks to spark the creation of new applications in several categories. The winning team in the main category was #nerdishbynature, which created an app to alert smartphone users in your proximity in case of emergencies. Since the first minutes are critical, the app navigates potential helpers directly to the person in need and provides necessary information for personalized first aid measures.

A hackathon brings together developers and designers to create new mobile and web applications from scratch. Students and professionals build small teams to engage in a 40 hours nonstop programming marathon. „Hackathons are unique in that they really push the participants to their limits“ explains Rasmus Rothe, coorganizer of HackZurich, „But nowhere else can programmers create such amazing prototypes in only 40 hours“. After last year’s success, the interest from the hackers and sponsors was enormous. More than 1000 people applied in less than 2 weeks and 55 national and international companies sponsored HackZurich 2015. Finally 512 hackers participated this year and grouped in teams of two to four. Over 120 new applications were developed during HackZurich. The teams built innovative software solutions and developed apps for the tasks proposed by the sponsors. For example, the hackers could combine Samsung wearables with a platform from SAP to monitor industrial processes in a yogurt production plant of Emmi. Microsoft provided Internet of Things sensors and access to their cloud platform Azure. Kiosk retailer Valora and payment service provider Aduno provided new APIs for app developers to enable new apps for the future of shopping. Ernst and Young and IBM offered a special track in which participants should build a Merger & Acquisitions predictor based on data and technology provided by the two companies. To get the participants started, the companies hosted workshops and techtalks to familiarize the participants with their technology. There was also constant support throughout the event from experienced engineers brought by the sponsors.

The 25 best teams had the chance to present their idea in a 2 minute pitch. The jury picked a winner in the main category and awarded 7 special prizes to teams which used the sponsors’ technology.

“The passion with the hackers worked on their project and the diversity of the final applications really impressed me” says a staggered Bod Baldwin, global lead of hackathons at the social media platform facebook. “I can only recommend every tech enthusiast to participate in HackZurich next year.”

Several participants already announced that they will continue their projects as a startup and want to found their own company.

Sunnie Groeneveld

Author Sunnie Groeneveld

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