Entrepreneurship and Hackathons
I am a huge Hackathon buff. I have gone to over 20 Hackathons in the course of my career and won over 70% of them and either ended up creating impactful projects or contributed to Open Source. Two of my app startups, originated at the Hackathons. I believe Hackathons are a great place for innovation and an opportunity to create real impact in real world problems and connect with people who are equally passionate about these causes. I have been featured on 90% of the Publications Worldwide from my Hackathon projects and the founder of Forbes 30 under 30 and the Forbes team recognized my contributions by inviting me to be a part of Forbes 30 Under 30.
Awards in Entrepreneurship:
1. BITSAA Mantra Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2014 for excellence showcased in the field of Entrepreneurship, building new Ventures and writing Business Plans at BITS Pilani Dubai Campus. Was the first and only female entrepreneur to win this award, till date. My app startup "Bluetooth Messenger" hit 10K downloads on the app store in the first 3 weeks and was featured on New and Rising Category worldwide.
2. Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Concept Award 2017 for Project Fib, a Fake news detecting Chrome extension, Google Moonshot Prize winner at HackPrinceton 2016. Featured on Business Insider, Washington Post, The Next Web, Mashable, Huffington Post, Microsoft Blog, Wired, Hacker News, Fortune, CNN, BBC, CBS, CBC News and countless news publications and research papers worldwide.
At Grinspoon Awards Showcase
Recent Awards at Hackathons:
1. Google Moonshot Award 2016 at HackPrinceton 2016 for Project Fib - http://projectfib.azurewebsites.net/
2. Facebook F8 Scholar 2017 for Project Fib
3. 1st Prize, 1st Prize, App time Show! 5 Min App pitches to win! 2021 for Nabanita De Foundation
4. Global Award 2021 - Women in Tech Network for Nabanita De Foundation.
1st Place, Microsoft Hack for Good'18, for Disrupting Human Trafficking.
4. 1st Place, Uber Threat Response and Defense Hackathon 2020
5. 3rd Place, Microsoft Oneweek'17 (Worldwide) for Hack Advisors.
6. 1st Place, Seattle Capital One, Microsoft and Angelhack (2018) - Cortana skill to facilitate money transfer between Family using the Capital one money transfer API
7. 1st Place, Winners, Theme: Social Solutions to Climate Change, Games for Our Future Game Jam 2019, University of Washington EarthLab, Seattle Indies, Seattle Serious and Social Impact Games and Pacific Science Center - Climate Utopia - https://earthlab.uw.edu/2019/05/games-for-our-future-game-jam-re-cap/
8. 1st Position, Hack for Healthcare (2016) by Microsoft & Kal Academy; Won 1,25,000$ Azure Credits -
9. Best upcoming hacker award & Most Refined Virtual Reality Mobile experience Qualcomm award at the biggest AR/VR Hackathon - Virtually Reality Hackathon at MIT Media Lab (2016) - Text to VR - http://devpost.com/software/vr-story-tellers
10. Techcrunch Disrupt Hackathon Qualifiers 2017, Won free tickets to Disrupt NYC 2017 - Law Bot - Using AI to derive Law Implications for cases - https://techcrunch.com/video/lawbot/5918915392fdde0c0d8113b1/
11. IEEEXtreme 2014, Country Rank 8
12. Built a shippable product for Windows, Shipped in next iteration of Windows (2019).
Not all Hackathons have to be pure technical. There are also marketing and Product Hackathons, I have been part of.
1. Seattle Startup Weekend - https://medium.com/@tnabanitade/future-of-ids-in-washington-a9275081592b
2. Emirates NBD Innovation Challenge - Came up with Business strategies on how to build more product fans. Won 500 dhs.
Here are links of some of my Hackathon presence -
Here are a list of my favorite projects -
Receiving Cash award for Hack for good which we gave away to the NGO
AngelHack 2018 Winners
Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft loved our Oneweek Hack
Closer look on Fib's Poster which I created for Grinspoon Showcase
Teammates from VR Story Tellers - Text to VR
Founder and CEO
Nabanita De Foundation
I singlehandedly created the website www.nabanitadefoundation.com, an one-stop-shop resource to upskill and reskill stay-at-home caregivers to return-to-work after a long career break & bridge the gap between stay-at-home caregivers and return-to-work opportunities/resources.
Partnered with Forbes Equity Quotient (For free) and wrote 20 Forbes articles around topics like creating Returnship Programs (further shared by Audible), ageism, supporting new moms in workforce, taking successful career breaks, and more. 407,000 reads, 14387 search referrals, 178352 social impressions and more.
Shark Tank Group at Microsoft - I created this idea tank group for breeding innovation at Microsoft, to promote entrepreneurship on Campus and create the next products for Microsoft through Brainstorming and pitching. The group meetings were generally divided into several splits -
People would bring in side projects they are working on or new ideas and get feedback from other people. It would help them find people who can be accountable and stay on track.
Pitch Practice - I would help them learn how to pitch and if their elevator pitch is concise enough to capture the technical aspects, Business value and the why, what and how part of the pitch.
Brainstorming sessions - I would divide groups into teams of 5 or 10, depending on the Turnout, ask them to brainstorm and come up with an idea for a particular domain problem and pick two other teams to plat devils advocate. So after 15 minutes of brainstorming, they would be ready to pitch. After their pitch, between the two teams that they picked, one team would give them the pros of the idea and how it can further innovated and the other team would tell them the cons of the idea and other competitors that are there in the market and why their product maynot have an edge. Eventually the Audience can ask them questions.
Ideas diffuse session - Where people come together to brainstorm latest technologies or innovations they have learnt about before.
Networking Sessions in speed dating format where you get 2 minutes to network with each member and then you switch.
Ideas to improve Company products - Picking a Microsoft product and how it can be improved or brainstorming new ideas for Microsoft.
I was able to collaborate and bring together over 100 Microsoft Product Managers, Designers, Software Engineers, Data Scientists as well as research and marketing folks. I organized this group meetups, bimonthly from September 2018. I was also able to use the Facebook group created for the same to talk about upcoming Entrepreneurial events and talks in the area.
Organizing Shark Tank Group at Microsoft Commons
(November 2016 - present)
Led a team to build a Fake news detecting Chrome extension "Project Fib", Google Moonshot Prize winner at HackPrinceton 2016 Featured on Business Insider, Washington Post, The Next Web, Mashable, Huffington Post, Microsoft Blog, Wired, Hacker News, Fortune, CNN, BBC, CBS, CBC News, Bloomberg TV, Boston Globe etc -
Invited to "Forbes 30 Under 30 Conference" 2017 for the work 50K User Requests per min, 650 stars on Github and 20K Dev views on Github page on 1st week
Won Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Concept Award 2017
Technical contributions - I built the Fake News detecting Algorithm. Also built the company website.
Other Responsibilities as a Founder -
Problem Identification & Background Research - Identified the problem by going through a Techcrunch Link at that time, right after US Elections when Social Media Companies didnt want to take the responsibility for Fake News. So i did some Customer research online to understand the Painpoint and saw that Fake News was also affecting threatening Life and Death Situations like Fake News on Medicines.
Hiring & Pitching Idea - Worked on finding people at the Hackathon with the right skills for the project, pitched my idea of building an system for detecting Fake News.
Brainstorming & Market Research - We further brainstormed on the idea and did some market research to make sure I wasnt reinventing the wheel and if there are other products out there. We were the first people to go anything like this.
Creating Roadmap for MVP - I was able to come up with a Roadmap to build a Minimum Viable Product of how the product design should look like, what are its PO and P1 features, what sort of implementation details and APIs can be used, what the architecture should look like, what ETA would it take for all, what demo scenarios should work and was able to divide the work into my teammates based on previous skillsets.
Agile Process - I implemented various checkpoints to make sure the team was on track and reiterated and redistribute if anyone was blocked. Eventually We were able to present it at the Science fair and win the Google Moonshot prize.
Outreach and Marketing - Further I took over the Outreach for FiB and since the project was an overnight success worldwide, I took several interviews from various News Publications worldwide like Washington Post, Mashable, The Next Web etc to able to evangelize our product to the masses.
Business Decisions through A/B Experimentations - Released A/B test features to see how Customer uptake looked like and made major infrastructure changes based on it to cut costs.
Customer Survey and feedback integration - Released a beta to a segment of users to incorporate feedback before releasing our official product.
Business Plan & Fundraising - Worked on creating a Business Plan for the product and pitching it and fundraising through VCs, Investors and Media Companies to understand if they would like pay for a product like this and how much they would pay - Monetization Strategies.
Face of the Product - Represented FiB in several Conferences like Facebook F8 Conference, Techcrunch Disrupt, Google I/O, YCombinator Female Founders Conference etc. Also pitched FiB at the Innovation Challenge 2017 by Berthiume Center for Entrepreneurship and made it to the finals.
Co-Founder and Chief Financial Officer,
Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership
BITS Pilani Dubai Campus
Have been the founding member of CEL, been on the board of directors for CEL and Conjure, a CEL BITS Publication in 2012, also served as a Senior Editor.
Positions I have held:
General Secretary (2013-2014)
Coordinator and Senior Editor (2012-2013)
yet since I was one of the founding members, I got to wear many hats.
Getting Office Space on Campus and getting all the necessary equipment, logistics like furniture, marketing posters, stationary, and paperwork, creating Social Media Campaigns, people for CEL to be functional, helped aid design the CEL Logo and Conjure Logo.
Collarating with Chancellors to eventually CEL's Launch.
Defining OKRs and CEL Roadmap every year to define membership drives, marketing campaigns, recruitment campaigns, financial charts to break even at the end of the year, the timeline of the events to be organized for that year and the collaborations and talks for that year.
Found speakers in the field of entrepreneurship and organized more than 50 entrepreneurial talks and events including
TEDx BPDC (writing proposals for TEDx, doing logistics, marketing, registrations for the event)
The Indus Entrepreneur Talks
CEL Business Hackathons at Intrauniversity and Inter-university events like Business Quiz at Technofest'12
Established fund raiser initiatives and membership drives for CEL and was actively involved in planning events and registration drive (registered more than 60 members out of 120, through paid membership, singehandedly) in the first year through Gorilla marketing adoption technologies.
Driving Outreach events of CEL throughout the Campus, through talks and also on Social Media.
Providing mentorship, helping write Business Plans for startups on Campus to connecting them with Potential VCs and Investors
Helping introduce the course "New Venture Creation" on Campus to promote Entrepreneurship.
Recruited people for leadership at CEL.
Been instrumental in MoU signing with Institute of Management Technology & Incubators. Volunteered for SME World Summit.
CEL was the most famous and established organization on Campus, by the end of my graduation year.
Managing Director, CV Chamkao
(September 2014 - December 2014)
My career counselling service startup through the New Venture Creation Course, focusing on 4 years of counselling service to students on opportunities to be taken to build that stellar Resume, pertaining to each Student's Career plans. ( Link - http://yash04shah.wix.com/cvchamkao ). This Startup is based on the idea of my Education Research paper, published in INTED'14.
Paper – “A NOVEL APPROACH TOWARDS DEVELOPMENT OF A CAREER MENTORSHIP SOLUTION THROUGH ACTIVE ALUMNI-STUDENT INTERACTION AND COLLABORATION” published at INTED'14 (8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference), Valencia, Spain. (http://library.iated.org/view/SINHA2014ANO)
Founder, Bluetooth Messenger
This was something I built in my first ever product Hackathon. It is a messaging service to share text and media files through bluetooth.
The app had 10,000 downloads in first 3 weeks and over 40,000 downloads in 3 months and was trending on New and Rising Category worldwide for a long time. (Rank - 6)
For my love for Hackathons, here are some of of the examples of ways I have been involved with Hackathons, without being the participant.
Organiser & Mentor, Hack20 2017, UMass Amherst's Annual Data Science Hackathon. I co-organized it with UMass Graduate Researchers in Data as the chair of the Microsoft Student Partner Community at UMass. The technical part involved, hosting various sessions before and during the Hackathon on topics like Azure Machine Learning and Hackathons 101 as well as mentoring during the Hackathon as well as judging to give out prizes. We sponsored the "Best Use of Azure Machine Learning" Prize, "Best First Time Hackers Prize" and " best Female Hacker" prize. I was also part of outreach and marketing the Hackathon as well as getting mentors as well as registerations for the Hackathon.
Speaker & Technical Mentor, HackNEU 2017
HackNEU is Northeastern University's inaugural Hackathon. I spoke about "How to hack at Hackathons" at the opening ceremony & hosted the Idea Jam at the Hackathon, helping people brainstorm the next big idea & form teams. Later, I hosted another technical session on using Microsoft Cognitive services and building chatbots.
I also was serving as a technical mentor, helping people build out the next winning projects at the hackathon. (http://hackneu.com/)
Mentor & Judge, HackMIT 2016 - HackMIT is Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s headline hackathon, with over 1000 undergraduate attendees from around the globe. Over a 24-hour period from September 17th to 18th, hackers collaborate and experiment on software and hardware projects. https://hackmit.org/
Mentored students at Hack MIT by helping them troubleshoot errors while coding, pointing them in right direction while brainstorming Ideas for the hackathon as well as helped them in implementing various APIs & tools to build out those winning projects for the hackathon. Finally as the panel judges, aided in selecting winning projects for the Hackathon.