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Presentify wins inaugural Sydney Hackathon

Monday, 26 September 2011 | By Oliver Milman

An app that turns articles into formatted web presentations has won the inaugural Sydney Hackathon, the first 24-hour tech start-up event of its kind in Australia.

 

Presentify, a team of three students, emerged from a field of 32 contestants to take out the top prize, winning $1,500 and the chance to develop the app into a commercial product.

 

The app turns any article on publisher Elsevier’s SciVerse platform into an HTML5 presentation, auto-filling areas such as section titles, images and charts.

 

Second place went to SciPlay, a game that quizzes users of the SciVerse platform about the article they are reading. Third spot was handed to Macadeima, a search aid for articles and video content within the platform.

 

Teams were comprised of a mixture of students and professionals, with a full-time Google developer lending his help to the SciPlay team.

 

Elsevier, which sponsored the event, flew several executives out from the US to help judge the event, which was held in conjunction with the University of Sydney.

 

As reported by StartupSmart last week, the ‘hackathon’, where teams of tech enthusiasts compete to create viable start-ups in a short period, is thought to be the first of its kind in Australia, despite the format being well established in the US.

 

It’s hoped that the event will spur other similar initiatives across Australia, boosting the chances of tech start-ups getting their ideas commercialised.

 

James Alexander, co-organiser of the event and also a member of the winning Presentify team, says that he was happy with how the day went overall.

 

“I think the simplicity of our idea stood out from the others,” hew says. “The fact that you don’t need software to run it, just a web browser, helped too.

 

“For the first event, I think it went well. In terms of quality, it was very good. Elsevier said that were very impressed with our app and they are keen to get it live.”

 

Alexander says that he will work part-time with Elsevier to get the app up and running. Another hackathon has been pencilled in for next year.