HackOut – LGBT Hackathon – “The Future in Austin”

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Saturday, February 21, 2015, starting at 9am through Sunday, February 22, 2015, at 4 pm The hacking period will be a 24-hour block from noon on Saturday straight through to noon on Sunday.


Tech Ranch, 8920 Business Park Drive, Suite 250 (Floor 2), Austin, Texas 78759

HackOut is the nation’s premier LGBT-oriented hackathon presented by StartOut. We are looking for individuals or teams that want to change the way we think by hacking a new demo in an exciting, 24-hour, overnight competition. It’s a great way to meet new friends, other entrepreneurs, investors and incubators. Developers, programmers, coders and geeks of all kinds will have access to incredible mentors from leading companies.

StartOut is deeply grateful to its HackOut 2015 sponsors, which include Atlassian, Curious Cat Company, Google, Hirestarter, Jones-Spross, Out of the Box, Social Edge, Stripe, and WP Engine. Rackspace is also donating more than $24,000 in cloud computing services to the winning teams. Google Cloud Starter Pack credits will be available to all participants. The first-place winning team will receive a cash prize as well as an invitation to present at Demo Day in New York City on February 24. (Travel expenses would the responsibility of the members of the winning team.)

Hackathons are excellent ways to merge entrepreneurial spirit with computer programming prowess and product design sensibilities. Students, hackers, programmers, product marketers, and other web enthusiasts can form small teams to create new ventures during the hackathon. Individuals with all levels of experience are welcome to participate, and any viable business idea can form the basis for participants’ projects.


Sign up for HackOut at http://startout.org/events/hackout-austin-2015

Register for a free account on Challenge Post at http://hackout2015.challengepost.com/.

Construct your demo according to the rules below and complete your submission on Challenge Post by 12:00 pm CST on Sunday, February 22, 2015.


Participants: Individuals (15 years in age or older) and teams of up to five (5) people
Countries: Any

View full rules


Categories are not limited to specific target areas. Any viable business idea or non-profit idea is welcome.

What to create: functioning software application, demonstration video, screenshots, business plan presentation
Platforms: iOS; Mobile Web; Web; Mac Desktop; Windows Desktop


Technical Difficulty
Commercial Viability

HackOut is so grateful to our generous 2015 sponsors:

Social Edge
BBVA Compass
Jones-Spross PLLC
WP Engine
Blacklight Solutions
Curious Cat Company
Mary Shea
Chris Sinton
Out of the Box
Tech Ranch

HackOut 2015 Mentors, Speakers, and Judges

J = Judge; M = Mentor; S = Speaker

Chance Coble (Blacklight Solutions) – M

Chance_Coble_HeadshotChance Coble is a Principal of Blacklight Solutions, a consulting company committed to unlocking value for its customers through their data. As the chief executive of the organization, Mr. Coble was recruited to drive the vision for the organization and under his leadership the company has multiplied in size and revenue. Prior to Blacklight, Mr. Coble has had extensive experience leading teams in the development of analytics solutions for both internally and externally facing products. His broad background includes creating advanced analytics applications in a number of verticals including financial services, biomedical and telecommunications. Clients have retained Mr. Coble for his  strengths in algorithmic modeling and high-performance computing to accelerate intelligent software solutions for organizations around identity management, payment processing, fraud detection and targeted advertising.

Lauren Guilbeaux (Blacklight Solutions) – M

unnamedLauren is a Principal at local data analytics solutions company, Blacklight Solutions. She is a seasoned software professional with a passion for bringing new and exciting technologies to the market.

Adept at working with both direct enterprise clients as well as long-term OEM relationships with other software vendors, she has deep experience in complex negotiations and long-term contracting.

Adam Kucharski (Z9th Ventures) – M, J

Adam Headshot Compressed

Adam Kucharski is co-founder of Z9th Ventures, an R&D firm that founds, launches, and operates startups focusing on global markets. Adam develops and operates internationally facing startups like Fetchcap, a platform that extends US-quality retail and fulfillment services to virtually anywhere in the world. Prior to founding Z9th, Adam worked for leading consulting and advisory firms deploying innovative business models across various industries such as hospitality, real estate, healthcare, and logistics. In pursuing his fascination with global markets, Adam has been based in countries spanning Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

Adam received a BA with honors from the University of Chicago, was a Fulbright Fellow, and earned an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management where he led Sloan’s LGBT advocacy group.

Dr. Anita Leffel (UTSA) – M, J


Dr. Anita Leffel is assistant director of the Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship and senior lecturer in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Technology Management. She received her Ph.D. in educational human resource development at Texas A&M and a master’s in education from the University of Houston.

She is the faculty advisor for the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization and Toastmasters at UTSA. Dr. Leffel received the Acton Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence Award for Entrepreneurship Education in 2007.

Brandon Marker (Tech Stars) – M, J


Brandon is an Analyst with Techstars in Austin and graduated with a Finance degree from Texas State University. At Techstars, he’s responsible for working with the Austin portfolio companies on strategy, business models, financial modeling, fundraising, negotiations, and whatever else comes up. He also reviews all applications to assist in selection for the Austin fund.

His previous role as the first hire at Microventures was to help the founder grow the startup as the first equity crowdfunding portal. He educated investors on crowdfunding and equity investments in startups, managed deal flow, performed due diligence on potential portfolio companies, and created the investor collateral for Microventures’ investors. Brandon helped grow the firm from less than $100,000 invested to managing nearly $20 million invested, an expansion to San Francisco, and Seed and Series A funding.

Taylor McCaslin (WP Engine) – M


Taylor McCaslin is User Experience Designer and Front End Developer living in Austin, Texas. He currently works as a Product Manager at WP Engine. WordPress has been his choice CMS for 5+ years. Taylor has created custom WordPress themes and plugins for small and medium sized businesses and multinational corporations. Previously, Taylor ‘helped people find jobs’ as an Interaction Designer at Indeed.com, the world’s largest job search engine. Before that, worked as a Product Design Intern at Bazaarvoice. Taylor graduated from UT Austin in 2013 where he studied theatre, digital art and media, business, and computer science

Emma Persky (Google) – S, M, J


Emma Persky is a vocal technology evangelist, an avid traveler and vibrant storyteller. You can’t miss her with her bright red hair and distinctively British accent. When Emma is not at home in New York, engineering search software at Google, she can be found on an intrepid expedition, collecting stories for her other blog, travellerwithatale.com.

By way of London, Emma Persky now lives in New York where she is a software engineer on the search team at Google. She graduated with an honours degree from Imperial College in Computing, where she wrote her dissertation on Vision Based Tracking for System’s Control, where she attempted to build a system out of commodity hardware for hand gesture tracking. Later on she started honing her data science skills at Trampoline Systems where she worked on their Sonar product, analysing the social structure of organizations based on implicit social graph data, and semantic analysis of author-recipient content.

When not at home in New York, she can probably be found searching out fresh powder, skiing like she was a snowboarder, or in some other far flung adventure capturing moments for her other great passion, storytelling – just ask her about the time she fell down the Grand Canyon, or *that* time in Tokyo.

Emma has spoken at numerous conference and events around the world, and is available to speak on subjects such as data science, analytics and software engineering. She also loves to teach, and is very interested in hearing from people who love to learn.

Lowell Vaughn (WP Engine) – M 

unnamedLowell Vaughn has been involved in Austin startups since 1999.He’s been there, done that, and has the t-shirts to prove it. Lowell regularly uses WordPress, Python, Django and many different databases. He has a bachelors in Math from Grinnell College and an MS in CS from Indiana University.He’s been at WP Engine since April of 2014.


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