GlobalHack showcases tech talent, sets stage for future events

The winning team breaks coder stereotypes. Three minorities, one white guy and an 11-year-old kid worked together to bring the best solution. Courtesy of
The winning team at GlobalHack IV, “J-Rod The Prodigy,” took home $30,000. | Courtesy of GlobalHack

At an event that drew tech talent and entrepreneurial expertise from across the country, an 11-year-old and his team took home the top prize of GlobalHack IV last weekend in St. Louis.

All teams were given the same task: Build a publisher tool for the prize sponsor, LockerDome. Thirty-two teams from different states, including Missouri, California, Florida, Illinois and Kansas, gathered to compete for a share of $50,000 in prizes.

Contestants included students, as well as professionals from the business and technology world. In order to keep the competition fair, the challenge was kept secret until just an hour before the start of the event on Friday evening at the Cortex Innovation District.

LockerDome, a St. Louis-based social media startup, assigned the participants to conceptualize and develop a publishing tool that can facilitate better audience engagement and content creation on LockerDome’s website, as well as on publishers’ websites.

Picking Up Badges. | Sahar Majid/Missouri Business Alert
The event drew 32 teams to the Cortex Innovation District for a weekend of hacking. | Sahar Majid/Missouri Business Alert

Contestants were free to choose the programming language they used, but the final product was required to be fully compatible with LockerDome’s application program interface, or API.

The competition spanned the weekend, and winners were announced Sunday afternoon. The team “J-Rod The Prodigy” — named after one of its team members, an 11-year-old nicknamed “J-Rod” — won the first prize of $30,000.

Illinois Devs took home a $15,000 cash prize for finishing second. Vijango Polyglotters took third and earned a $5,000 cash prize. A separate $5,000 cash prize was given to the fourth finalist team, The Interns.

Sean Kooyman, a member of the J-Rod The Prodigy team and a second-time winner of the competition, said he was excited to be a part of GlobalHack community and is proud of his team’s success.

“I expect the competition to continue getting more fierce,” he said in a press release.

Since 2013, when GlobalHack was established by St. Louis entrepreneurs Gabe Lozano of LockerDome, Drew Winship of Juristat and Travis Sheridan of the Venture Cafe Foundation – St. Louis, the nonprofit has organized $50,000 hackathons in St. Louis focused on real-world technology problems.

Leave your mark. | Sahar Majid/Missouri Business Alert
Participants signed a GlobalHack banner to mark their participation in the nonprofit’s fourth event. | Sahar Majid/Missouri Business Alert

But GlobalHack has some bigger plans in the pipeline, Winship said.

“We will shift our focus to civic-minded problems in the upcoming hackathon in September of this year,” he said. “Next year, we will host our first $1 million hackathon.”

Winship said the hackathon represented not only considerable talent from across the U.S., but also great diversity.

“Each year, we witnessed a dramatic improvement in diversity,” Winship said. “Now our participants include non-natives, women and children.”

Winship said GlobalHack would like to extend its reach beyond St. Louis and organize similar events in other parts of the U.S.

Information about the four winning teams from GlobalHack IV is included below.

Award Team Prize Team members
1st place J-Rod The Prodigy $30,000 Chisolm Uche, Darius Calliet, Justin Guyton, Sean Kooyman, “J-Rod”
2nd place Illinois Devs $15,000 Chase Clettenberg, Paul Jordan, Bradford Law
3rd place Vijango Polyglotters $5,000 Paul Bierly, Luke Hogrebe
Top college team The Interns $5,000 Devin Kiser, Warren Li

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