Last week a group of Zalandos traveled to New York City to represent Zalando and our APIs as sponsors of the prestigious TechCrunch Disrupt NY hackathon. The Disrupt NY hackathon is an intense, one-day competition in which participants have 20 hours to build and present projects built with APIs offered by major companies. Our team helped hackers use our Shop Public API, which gives access to our web shop and allows basic operations such as searching for articles, categories, filters or brands.
Three teams used our API to create some amazing projects, and two of them presented their work in the final demos:
Fashion Smash, a gamification project, won our best-in-show award (GeeCon cameras, drones and Raspberry Pi 2’s). Fashion Smash presents two products side by side and asks the user to choose which product seems more expensive than the other. Very fun and addictive!
Deep Fashion is a web app that uses Zalando’s item-based recommendations API and machine learning techniques to generate personalized shopping experiences and fashion advice for users.
The Zalando team was impressed by the quality of the tech talent in attendance and the projects they created -- the whole experience was exciting and interesting for us. It was great to talk to everyone about Zalando’s operations and tech culture, and also give advice on how to use our API. We received lots of interest in our work and many questions about Zalando, which is still an unfamiliar brand to many Americans.
Some of us stayed in NYC after the hackathon to attend the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, which featured talks by tech luminaries ranging from head of Partnerships at Pinterest Joanne Bradford to Foursquare founder/CEO Dennis Crowley. We also attended the Startup Battlefield -- a contest among promising startups for $50,000 and the attention of investors and journalists. Some of my favorite Battlefield contenders were BioBots, which aims to 3D-print live cells for pharmaceutical applications; DigitalGenius, which has built a smart customer service system; and overall winners Liquidity, which has developed a fast and effective way of filtering water.
In addition to the promotional and educational advantages of attending Disrupt, our trip was a lot of fun and great for Zalando team-building. Our group got closer and learned a lot about each other. The natural spontaneity and randomness of NYC produced lots of hilarious moments for us to share. We returned to Berlin inspired by all the great work we saw during the hackathon, and hope to use this and other insights to make our Zalando Hack Weeks even more amazing and productive.
|[TC]||TechCrunch Disrupt logo used in teaser|