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Sensis brings out the big guns for third hackathon

Monday, 19 November 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

Sensis is to roll out a fresh ‘hackathon’ in Melbourne this weekend, including an impressive list of mentors such as Lonely Planet’s Gus Balbontin and Scott Rogers from Seek.


Sensis has partnered with Adobe, Amazon and Yelp to host SAPI Product Hack Camp, a 33-hour hackathon that will kick off in Melbourne this Saturday.


Start-ups – along with teams of product managers, developers, designers and marketers – are required to brainstorm, plan and build innovative smartphone or web-based applications.


The hackathon will offer competitors up to $15,000 in cash and prizes for the teams who create the best “SAPI mash-up” – presented at the pitch session on Sunday afternoon.


SAPI is the Sensis Business Search API. It contains local search functionality and more than two million local business listings.


SAPI can help Yellow Pages and White Pages advertisers be found by more people across a growing network of new publishers, and emerging channels and devices.


The SAPI Product Hack Camp judging panel consists of Stuart Richardson from Adventure Capital, Andrew Wilkinson from REA Group, Simon Raik-Allen from MYOB and Michelle Sherwood from Sensis.


“This is the third hackathon event we have hosted,” Sensis senior product manager Tim Corr says.


“We’ve called upon some of the smartest product managers in the industry to share their personal experience and expertise to inspire developers.”


“Competing teams will be matched with a mentor who will work closely with the group across the weekend. The mentors have very different backgrounds and experience.”


Mentors include Gus Balbontin from Lonely Planet, Scott Rogers from Seek, Phil Metcalfe from the Qantas Group’s new travel brand Hooroo, Steve Sammartino from Grey Advertising and Nick Coster from Brainmates, a product management consultancy.


In addition to inspirational talks by Balbontin, Rogers and Metcalfe, the event will include mini workshops run by Brainmates.


There will also be hands-on tutorials about tools such as Adobe PhoneGap Build and Amazon Web Services.


Balbontin, who holds the title of director of transformation at Lonely Planet, said his company has a rich history of product innovation coming out of hack days and competitions.


“When Sensis approached us, we were immediately on board with the idea,” Balbontin said in a statement.


“Personally, I’m excited to work with teams and see what kind of amazingly creative ideas they can come up with.”