Week-long virtual hackathon attracts hundreds from WNY’s tech community

BUFFALO, NY – Today, 43North concluded its Code:Buffalo Hackathon @ Home and selected three teams to win a share of $15,000. The hackathon, which challenged participants to “build something to support the Buffalo community,” was moved to a virtual format this year due to COVID-19. The winning team designed an online platform where parents can share and discover creative project ideas to engage and entertain their children.

Nearly 200 participants from across Western New York joined in the week of activities, which included coding workshops, mentorship with local business leaders, and mini challenges. The judges, made up of some of the region’s technology leaders, including founders and CTOs of local startups, ranked submissions based on criteria such as the hack’s response to the prompt, polish, and viability for future use.

“Code:Buffalo is a community event that allows us to spotlight and bring together all the great tech talent from our region,” said Colleen Heidinger, President of 43North. “We were particularly excited to see from our top winners and many of the other submissions, that a lot of our participants were inspired by what’s going on around them and used this as an opportunity to solve a problem or create something for the greater good. For a number of these projects, it would come as no surprise to see these ideas pursued and evolve beyond the hackathon.”

“This event unleashed a torrent of creative entrepreneurial energy, creating technology to benefit our society,” said Clark Dever, Program Director of Techstars Buffalo. “The participants in the Code:Buffalo hackathon floored me with the quality of their projects designed to support the Buffalo community.”

In a live Zoom event, the judges announced Creative Kidz as the $10,000 grand prize winner. The second place ($3,000) prize went to Au Knowledge and third place ($1,500) went to Buffalo Coders. 

Grand Prize Winner: Creative Kidz

By: Fatih Aksel, Hacer ‘Hazel’ Aksel, Jeffrey Raugh

More parents are working from home than ever before, and they’re looking for ways to keep their children engaged. Creative Kidz is a platform that brings parents together to discover creative project ideas and submit their own.

2nd Place: Au Knowledge

By: Matthew Austin

Their project, Buffalo Indicators, is a community information system focused on creating a data-driven culture across 7 categories: education, workforce, health, criminal justice, housing, environment, and arts and culture.

3rd Place: Buffalo Coders

By: Agnieszka Wilewicz, Jesse Farinacci

Their game, The BuffaLoves Trivia Game, is powered by Amazon Alexa and tests your knowledge of Buffalo history and landmarks, connecting you with the things you love most about our city.

In the spirit of this year’s event, which was to support our community, 43North made a $2,500 donation to WNY Feeds the Frontline, which will provide 250 meals to healthcare workers fighting COVID-19 on the front lines.

Code:Buffalo is an annual hackathon hosted by 43North, in partnership with Techstars, ACV Auctions, M&T Bank, and the University at Buffalo.

About 43North

43North is the startup competition that invests $5 million annually to attract and retain high-growth startups in Buffalo. 43North portfolio companies also receive free incubator space in Buffalo for one year, guidance from mentors in related fields, and access to other business incentive programs such as START-UP NY. 43North operates through the support of New York State, Empire State Development, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, and several other sponsors. For more information about 43North, visit www.43North.org