Hack24: When Nottingham played centre-stage to the UK Digital Universe

Topic: Developers, Esendex news

Clockwise from left: Winners, DeadPlant with CTO, Alex Lea, Esendex swag, Esendex's Neil Kilbride hacking with Jonathan Relf & Sam Wessel & Jonathan Relf with brother Matt

Clockwise from left: Winners; DeadPlant with CTO, Alex Lea, Esendex swag, Esendex’s Neil Kilbride, Jonathan Relf & Sam Wessel & Jonathan Relf with brother Matt


“Nottingham has the opportunity to be the leader in digital,” was the key message from Hack24’s guest speaker, Nottingham City Councillor Nick McDonald, as he opened the 24 hour hackathon at Nottingham’s iconic Council House last weekend, and he couldn’t have been more right.

1.5 million people are employed within digital industries within the UK (Raconteur)

Nottingham’s technical community has blossomed over the last 2 years, and the city now plays host to an average of 20 digital and technology events each month. (Hack24) Increasing numbers of tech companies are choosing to start and grow their businesses in Nottingham, and Esendex is no exception. Founded as a startup in 2001, we’ve successfully grown our team, our customer base, and our product suite into an internationally recognised brand, while continuing to play our part in the local community.

“Miscommunication is everywhere. Our challenge is simple: make communication better” – CTO, Alex Lea

Nottingham’s second annual Hack24 event went off with a blast (not just thanks to the air-horn), with more than 135 people in attendance, comprising hackers, volunteers and sponsors. We were thrilled to be Gold Sponsors of the event, presenting the Esendex challenge – to “make communication (and the world) better”.

Hack24 hype build blog image

“City of football, city of literature, and today, centre of the UK Digital Universe” – Councillor Nick McDonald

Hacking commenced at 12pm on Saturday and continued through the night until 12pm the next day. Hackers enjoyed the stunning backdrop of the Nottingham Council House ballroom and were kept amply fed by the provided breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnight snacks.

Nearly 60% of people think computer coding is an important skill for today’s job market (Year of Coding)

Sunday morning saw a few tired eyes as teams raced to complete their hacks in time for the 12pm klaxon announcing “tools down”. Teams then had 2 hours to submit a video showcasing their entries.
And the winners are…
The seven sponsor judges then had the tough job of deliberating over the winning video entries for their respective challenges. Esendex CTO Alex Lea announced the shortlisted teams:

  • Apocalypse Later for their fun and interactive “Byte Ya Matez” zombie gaming app
  • DeadPlant for their innovative Digital Noticeboards application
  • MHR Mystery Machine, name inspired by Scooby Doo, for their “A Thousand Words” emotionally connected anonymous communication application

Drumroll please…
The winner’s crown went to team DeadPlant, made up of Annie Haley, Michael Purdy and Adam Mitchell of Nottingham-based mobile app company MultiPie. They were thrilled to be taking home the BB-8 Spheros:
“We’re delighted although pretty exhausted as we worked through the night!” said Annie. “It really was a joint team effort and it’s amazing to think the idea was originally our plan B.”  
Watch the winning entrants’ video.
hack24-room
Alex Lea said: “When we set the challenge we certainly didn’t anticipate this quality and quantity of groundbreaking solutions. It’s a clear reflection of the sheer collective genius present within Nottinghamshire tech community.”
He added: “World class innovation is happening on our doorstep, making Nottingham a compelling alternative to London for tech firms of all sizes. DeadPlant’s smart Digital Noticeboards won the day for its enormous range of applications, flawless execution and ingenious blend of hardware and software.”
Our talented team of developers were also in attendance, with Esendex’s own Andrew Jones’ team Pugs not Drugs taking away MHR’s £2,000 prize for their clever visualisation of organisational structure by influence.
Andrew said: “Hack24 was by far the best hackathon I have been to for years. While winning a challenge was an amazing highlight, it was everyone who came to the event that won!”

“There is no better place to meet new people and enjoy doing what you love together.” – Andrew Jones

Watch Pugs not Drugs winning entry.
They narrowly beat runners up, team :evil-melon:, made up of Esendex Tech Managers Sam Wessel and Neil Kilbride. Team MyFaceBeBookBoSpace, comprised of Moreton Brockley and Dave Wood were also shortlisted for Tech Nottingham’s best video award.
Watch Evil Melon & MyFaceBeBookBoSpace’s entry videos.
Until next year…
Congratulations to entrants, organisers and sponsors on such a fantastic event, we look forward to 2017 and the upcoming tech event supported by Esendex, Women In Tech, taking place on April 6, 2016. Register your interest now.