NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Recently, three Rutgers alums have closed a deal from Intel for the acquisition of their creation, a website and program that oversees the administration and smooth operation of events dubbed as "Hackathons".
Founded in October 2011, Hacker League's mission statement summarized their program as "mobilizing a worldwide community of developers-at-large to hack our planet for the better."
Programmers and Rutgers alumni Mike Swift, Abe Stanway, a 2011 hackNY Fellow, and Ian Jennings, a 2010 hackNY Fellow, sold the two-year-old company in December of 2013 to technology giant Intel for an undisclosed amount.
Hackathons, also known as "hackfests" or "hack days," are gatherings where programmers collaboratively write code in an extreme manner over a short period of time, generally no longer than a week. While working on a particular project, the idea is for each developer to have the ability and freedom to work on whatever they wants.
While students at Rutgers University, the company's founders decided to create a side project that dealt with solving the problems of hosting hackathons, a field that consisted of mostly independent rules of arbitration detemined by the various hosts of the hackathons.
Since then, Hacker League has powered hundreds of Hackathons, providing the tools and resources that an organizer can use to manage and throw their event. It also archives for historical references all of the things that software developers build and implement at Hackathons.
Mashery's acquisition with Hacker League shows that parent company Intel is interested in harnessing the power of development processes like Hackathons to support budding developers and innovative players in the programming sector.
With pressure to do well for the participants and program operators alike, Swift, Stanway and Jennings developed software to provide more options and streamline the fundamentals of Hackathons to become more enjoyable experiences with clear outlines and stated goals.
"Personally, I feel like I accomplished everything I wanted with Hacker League," Jennings told the Rutgers School of Communication and Information, his alma mater. He is also a graduate of East Brunswick High School.
"When we first started the company, we kept saying, ‘It wasn't a hackathon unless it was a Hacker League hackathon.’ Just a couple of years later, every event I went to was using the software. It's a household name among developers."
With a track record of powering 460 events worldwide, Hacker League and Mashery, a subsidiary of Intel, were able to come in contact through mutual events, and today the company hosts some 80 Hackathon events annually.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and was an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick in 2018.