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HackathOne: Ideas, Code, Adrenaline and lots of Coffee

PhonePe Team|3 min read|05 March, 2019

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Out-of-the box ideas, impromptu brainstorming sessions, frenzied coding, music and stand-up comedy too! Our first hackathon saw 24 hours of non-stop action with coders, developers, business teams, product folks and data scientists coming together to solve some challenging problems at the PhonePe office.

Getting ready

The leg work for the hackathon started a month ago, with a few idea-sourcing sessions. Folks from across the organization pooled ideas and the functional leads came up with detailed hacks which could be targeted during the hackathon. From creating a mood indicator of user sentiment using feedback on social channels, to developing an all-in-one QR code for better merchant and consumer experience — the PhonePe-rs went all out. Next up, four workshops were organized where team representatives gave a bird’s eye view on Data Science, App, Back-end and Merchant operations. HackathOne was an open-to-all event, and the fun truly began when the business and ops teams joined hands with engineers to bring their ideas to life.

Flagging off

The event was flagged off by our co-founder & CTO Rahul Chari, and the energy in the office was palpable. In keeping with the hackathon tradition, there were many last minute registrations and the turn out surpassed our expectations. Nothing was off the table, including 3D mapping and augmented reality! Then it was time to get down to some serious work. Mattresses were rolled out and energy drinks stocked up as the teams got ready for an all nighter.

Time to unwind

The hackacton was not all work! We had time for some fun and games too- A stand-up comedy session by our very own Koushik Ramachandra provided some comic relief followed by an impromptu singing and jamming session to unwind. The enthusiasm was infectious, even till the wee hours!

As the smell of coffee wafted in the next morning, our energetic hackers got right back to work. Post lunch, it was time for the teams to decide if they were ready for a demo. The atmosphere at this point was intense and there was a mad rush to wrap up. It had been an action-packed 24 hours of brainstorming, planning, and race-against-the-clock implementation.

Demo time
The demos began, with two sets of judges reviewing the teams in the preliminary round. There were 34 hacks submitted from Bangalore and 4 from Pune with remote demos. The unanimous opinion was all that the hacks were practical, well-thought and production ready. It took two and a half hours for the demos to finish and the judges had a tough time shortlisting the top 10 hacks.

Then it was time for the grand finale!.The judges had to pick one hack each in three winning categories — Best Overall Hack (the most complete and functional hack), Best PhonePe Hack and the Best Productivity Hack. Our founder and CEO Sameer Nigam, Co-Founder and CTO Rahul Chari, along with Vishal Gupta (VP Product) judged the final hacks on a) The complexity of the problem, b) The impact of the hack, c) Uniqueness and d) Presentation.

Finally, five hacks made the cut.

After much deliberation, the judges finally awarded prizes to the following hacks …

Best Overall Hack:

Hack name : Chameleon

Team Name : Chameleon (Vivek Soneja, Tushar Mandar, Rishabh Goyal)

Best PhonePe Hack: (The judges decided to award two teams in this category)

  1. Hack Name : PhonePe Go!

Team Name : Augmented Unreality (Abhijith KG, Srikanth KV, Radhakrishna R, Nayanava De, Sudhanva Rao)

2. Hack Name : Customer NPS

Team Name : Feed-back (Arvind R, Suhali Vyas, Nishant Mittal, Rahul Pandey, Himanshu Sahu, Shailesh Satarkar)

Best Productivity Hack:

Hack Name : Service Interaction Map

Team Name : The Good, the Worse and the Worst (in order … Guruprasad S, Vickey Singh, Thrigunesh Bhat)

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