HackATL: Inspiring Emory's Entrepreneurs

From November 7 – November 9, the Emory Entrepreneurship and Venture Management (EEVM) club hosted HackATL in the Goizueta Business School Coke Commons. At the event, hackathon competitors from around the area had 48 hours to build a business in the hopes of winning a $6,000 grand prize. HackATL is the largest business-focused hackathon in the southeast and over 400 students and professionals attended the event.

On the final day, the competition was narrowed down to eight teams, competing for a total of 5 prizes: one first-place grand prize, two second-place prizes, and two third-place prizes. The first-place prize went to the best overall project, while the second- and third-place awards were split into two categories for technical and non-technical projects. Atlanta-based entrepreneurs Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington, co-founders of Yik Yak, served as judges for the event. After the winners were announced, participants had the opportunity to meet the co-founders and get advice.

Before the winners were announced, Kat Cole, President and COO of Cinnabon, appeared to inspire the young entrepreneurs in the room. She spoke about her journey from working as a server at Hooter’s to becoming the COO of a multi-million dollar company.

Brian O’Conner (’08) and Basil Udoudoh (’07), Georgia Tech grads, took home first place in the competition. Their business idea, called “Impulse,” was an app that would show special retail deals of overstocked or promoted items from partner stores, giving the user only 30 seconds to decide to make their purchase. They won $6,000 and $60,000 in credit for Microsoft Azure, a cloud-based server that would help them develop their app.

Emory’s second annual HackATL has received a great deal of positive feedback. “Hearing from [the] heads of large corporations and creators of popular apps such as Yik Yak is truly a privilege,” an Emory student described. Many participants left the hackathon feeling inspired regardless of how far they made it in the competition.

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