When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, all our activities/projects came to a standstill. But when the going gets tough, our volunteers (sevaks) increase their enthusiasm to serve the community in whatever way they can. Continuing with our mission to support education development, IASF decided to launch a global hackathon to encourage students and young entrepreneurs to come up with ideas/projects to serve the world during a difficult time. 

IASF, in partnership with HackVenture, hosted a week-long online startup hackathon for high school and college students all over the world from July 24-31, 2020. HackVenture was led by Satwik Panigrahi, who is also one of IASF’s youth members. The hackathon was virtual.  More than 100 students from 10 different countries joined this event and more than 30 teams submitted their ideas/projects. The goal of this event was to encourage students to collaborate in a virtual setting and invited industry luminaries to inspire participants through online fireside chats and workshops.

Our guest speakers came from varied backgrounds from startup founders, seasoned technologists, and serial entrepreneurs. Some of them include Google X CEO Astro Teller, Creator of Ruby on Rail and Founder of Basecamp David Hanssen, and serial entrepreneur K G Ganapati, etc (See the list below). Each day, they had a fireside chat with the participants. They discussed topics from starting companies from ground-up and challenges, their life lessons, technologies using AI/ML, new edge web development framework and Text to speech applications, etc. Moreover, they demonstrated how technologies are put to work to solve common human and complex problems.

One of the sessions was about “Women in DataScience” with Divya Jain hosted by Suman Tripathy (a young Data Scientist). The goal was to encourage girls to do data science.

Each participant provided a 5 min video about the project –  objective, how it was done, and what would it help.  The array of projects submitted were quite varied and amazing. They were related to COVID-19 sensor-based smart mask, how to help teachers with remote teaching, how to make women safe using an app, and how to raise money for charity by running, etc.

The projects were reviewed by a panel of judges. After reviewing all the submissions, the winners were:

1st prize: Nathan DeGoey (yRun, Ca$650),  2nd prize: Aryan Jain (Attentive, $400),  3rd prize: Andrew Dimmer (AutoTA, $200), 3rd prize: Alisha Basa, Candy Qu, Mallika Patil, and Mehak Kalra (WoSafe, $200) and honorable mention: Shrey Panicker (SmartMask, $50).

The HackVenture team led by Satwik Panigrahi, Ivan Shah, and Kaival Shah are looking forward to continuing to carry this idea to 2021. By supporting the hackathon, IASF is promoting interaction between students across the world.