Coupon sharing app wins top prize in first UCSC hackathon

photo of hackathon
About 100 students participated in the first UCSC hackathon. (Photos by Lisa Nielsen)
Mark Adams

Mark Adams, student coordinator for the UCSC Center for Entrepreneurship, helped organize the event.

About 100 UC Santa Cruz students turned out for HACK UCSC 2014, the first UCSC hackathon, held April 5-6 at Oakes College. The weekend culminated in a high-energy pitch session and awards dinner Sunday evening, where the top three teams received $10,000 in prize money to fund their projects.

Organized by the UCSC Center for Entrepreneurship, the event received broad support from the Santa Cruz tech community, led by UCSC alumnus and Santa Cruz New Tech Meetup founder Doug Erickson (see earlier story). The 32-hour competition brought together student developers, designers, and entrepreneurs to produce mobile apps and web programs.

Mark Adams, who was the primary organizer of the event as student coordinator for the Center for Entrepreneurship, said it was a great success. "I was thrilled at the turnout, and every single team built something real and amazing," he said. "A lot of people can't wait to do this again next year. It was great to see that all my hard work had paid off."

HACK UCSC 2014 Prize Winners:

First Place ($4000): Bubble Coup

Brian Vallelunga, Ronnie Wilcox, and Jashan Dhillon created Bubble Coup, a coupon sharing application that links with users' web communities using a cost model that is profitable to small businesses and fun for users. It provides incentives for sharing coupons with friends and takes a smaller percentage than existing sites like Groupon.

Second Place ($3,000): Project Slug

The creators of Project Slug--Maria Lopez-Latorre, Alexander Rowe, and Hejia Su--met at the hackathon and teamed up to build an easy-to-use platform that helps students with particular skills and interests connect with projects that need their expertise. The aim was to provide an alternative to sites like craigslist where UCSC students can connect for creative endeavors in the arts, music, and other disciplines.

Third Place ($2,000) plus People's Choice Award ($1,000): Top Five

UCSC freshman Spencer Butterfield and his brother Elijah, a high-school senior, created Top Five, a social app that quickly provides a ranking of local venues by category (restaurants, museums, outdoor venues, etc.) to help people in Santa Cruz plan outings quickly and easily.