Monday, June 10, 2013

"We're rock stars!" | Davao-based developers win first-ever AngelHack Manila

Close to 300 developers, 24 hours of marathon coding, and a couple more hours of pitching -- but in the end, it was a group from Davao that bested 50 other teams to win more than Php 2 million worth of prizes in the first-ever AngelHack Manila over the weekend.

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They've successfully hacked their way to Silicon Valley. Team Pagesnapp with Smart DevNet guys Jim Ayson and Paul Pajo (the bespectacled guys on the leftmost), IdeaSpace President Earl Valencia (2nd from the right), and AngelHack founder Greg Gopman (rightmost).

The team of Rolly Rulete, Marvin Consuegra, Raymund Delfin, Mio Galang, and Jay Albano, who all work for Davao-based startup Lifebit, developed Pagesnapp, a service that would enable businesses to easily create mobile apps based on their official Facebook pages. In short, it's like an app that allows you to create an app.

The world's biggest hackathon
Dubbed as the world's biggest hackathon, AngelHack is expected to bring in more than 10,000 developers in 32 cities from around the world. The first-ever Manila leg last June 8-9 proved to be one of its biggest turnouts so far, as confirmed by AngelHack founder and CEO himself, Greg Gopman. The event was organized and sponsored by the Smart Developer Network (Smart DevNet) and business incubator IdeaSpace Foundation, Inc.

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Full house! The biggest hackathon in the Philippines by far with more than 250 developers (51 teams) in attendance.

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Josh Constine of TechCrunch giving a few words of advice to the participants as Greg Gopman (foreground, back to the camera) looks over.

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Obviously happy with the turnout, AngelHack founder Greg Gopman says a few words at the start of AngelHack Manila.

A hackathon, or a hacking marathon, is an event that typically runs from a day to even a week where programmers and other individuals involved in software development collaborate intensively on software projects. "Hack" here means playful, exploratory programming, and not something related to cybercrime.

During that same weekend, there were at least six simultaneous AngelHack hackathons happening around the world, particularly in Washington DC, Seoul, Bogota, Kuala Lumpur, and Jakarta, yet Gopman chose to be in Manila.

Unanimous choice
Pagesnapp was reportedly the unanimous choice among the judges for the top prize, especially after the code review. Without any specific theme, participants were allowed a leeway in terms of the ideas that they wished to pursue. The only requirement was that they all had to use fresh code, meaning, they could only do the actual programming within the 24-hour allotted time from 1pm of Saturday to 1pm of Sunday.

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Iron Man simply let Jarvis do all the coding. There were a couple of toys around to keep the participants and organizers sane, I guess.

The first round of judging entailed four closed rooms, each with its own set of judges and with 12 or 13 teams to evaluate. Only the resulting top 12 were allowed to give their 2-minute pitches onstage before a 7-member judging panel and in front of everyone else. Adding to the excitement was the announcement of a 13th semi-finalist right before the 12th team went onstage.

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Preliminary judging in progress. The anxiety of the participants was palpable.

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Some of the participants anxiously waiting at the lobby while the preliminary judging was ongoing.

"We're rock stars!"
AngelHack founder Greg Gopman seemed impressed with Team Pagesnapp's output, and asked how much of it was actually done there at the venue, to which Rulete replied, "Everything." Whether suspicious or impressed, Gopman further asked him how they did it, and Rulete blurted out what is now arguably the hackathon's most quotable quote, "We're rock stars!" The crowd went wild.

After the pitching, all seven judges were holed up in a closed room for tabulation and further deliberation. The top 2 teams were each called in for the code review and further questioning. As validated, Pagesnapp's code was indeed fresh. Moreover, they were the only team to present a fully working app, allowing even AngelHack Manila to create its very own Android app. It actually worked!

Destination: Silicon Valley
Team Pagesnapp brought home with them a USD 5,000 travel grant to fund their trip to Silicon Valley where AngelHack will introduce them to incubators and angel investors to help turn their idea into a startup. They will be flying to Silicon Valley in September with other AngelHack winners from 31 other cities worldwide. To further help them attract potential investors, they will also be given booths at the TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco.

The team is also getting a USD 20,000 investment from Asia Pacific Ventures, USD 20,000 worth of services from sponsors, an incorporation grant and an 11-week mentorship program from IdeaSpace and Smart DevNet, and two Smart LTE prepaid iPad Minis.

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No, he's not singing. TechCrunch's Josh Constine about to announce the winner.

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And it's Team Pagesnapp for the win!

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Runner-up Team Call Me was encouraged to play more as they were handed out some toys.

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The winning team with some of the judges, IdeaSpace's Earl Valencia, and Smart DevNet's Jim Ayson.

Chelle Gray of Google Developer Group also awarded a special prize of USD 20,000 in Google app engine credits to Team Zander.

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They may not have won but Team Zander goes home with USD 20,000 in Google app engine credits. They're onstage with Chelle Gray of GDG.

Judges, partners, and sponsors
Some bigwig judges included Winston Damarillo (founder of Exist and Morphlabs), Ralph Wunsch (founder of, Alvin Gendaro (Microsoft), Ann Jacobe (founder of, Frederic Levy (founder of, Jay Yao (international graphic designer), Beryl Li (SeedAsia), Josh Constine (TechCrunch), and AngelHack founder himself, Greg Gopman. Various startup founders, investors, and venture capitalists were also around to mentor the participants.

Main sponsors included 1337 Ventures, Amazon Web Services, Asia Pacific Ventures, BlackBerry, Chikka,, Google, Voyager, Microsoft,, San Miguel Flavored Beer, and Smart LTE.

Other partners of the Manila leg included, Developers Connect Philippines,,,, Orange and Bronze,, and Source Pad.

Here are more snapshots from the event, thanks to my trusty Samsung Galaxy S3:

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(Left to right) Judges Ralph Wunsch of Metrodeal, Jay Yao, Alvin Gendaro of Microsoft, and Ann Jacobe of Shoephoric.

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On the other judges's table (left to right): TechCrunch's Josh Constine, AngelHack founder Greg Gopman, and Winston Damarillo of Exist and Morphlabs.

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Some of the judges right before the announcement of the winner.

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Team Pagesnapp with Chelle Gray and Jim Ayson.

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Jim Ayson, Earl Valencia, Chelle Gray, and Greg Gopman.

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Part of the team that made AngelHack Manila all happen. That's My Bibe beside Greg Gopman.

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The powerful partnership of Smart DevNet and IdeaSpace that brought the world's biggest hackathon to Manila: Jim Ayson, Paul Pajo, Nick Wilwayco, and Earl Valencia.

And so I just had to have my "souvenir shot" with Greg Gopman:

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  1. Congrats to Pagesnapps Team... and also to Team Zander as well!

    1. congrats indeed to them! lots of great ideas but there can only be one.

  2. cool! congrats:)

  3. Hackathlon? Now I see what i am missing .....Wish I could be there.
    Miss Margaret Cruzemark

  4. so much fun!!!!


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