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Better than Hoped

Hack for Hope, an entrepreneurial collaboration between two longtime rivals, bring together more than 600 individuals in 89 teams to problem-solve in the era of COVID-19.

April 22, 2020
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Sometimes in a crisis, the right idea for the moment comes along. Such was the idea for an online hackathon called Hack for Hope.

Traditional rivals USC Marshall School of Business and UCLA Anderson School of Management united earlier this month to fuel a search for solutions to problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The joint effort, an online hackathon called Hack for Hope (https://uschackforhope.com), empowered 89 teams and more than 600 individual students and community members from both schools to find connection and make a positive contribution.

“We thought an online hackathon might allow our students to connect with the possibility of making an immediate, meaningful and positive contribution to our communities. They, and the community spirit of Hack for Hope, exceeded even our expectations.”—Elissa Grossman, Director of the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and professor of clinical entrepreneurship

“Many if not all on the organizing team feel the Hack for Hope was among the best things we’ve done in our careers,” said Elissa Grossman, Director of the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Orfalea Director’s Chair in Entrepreneurship and professor of clinical entrepreneurship. “We thought an online hackathon might allow our students to connect with the possibility of making an immediate, meaningful and positive contribution to our communities. They, and the community spirit of Hack for Hope, exceeded even our expectations.”

Each team was asked to submit a two-minute video describing the problem and their solution. Judges awarded a total of $38,500 in prize money to the most promising projects—specifically to fund prototype development, proof of concept work or community outreach directed at students or workers in need of extra support at this time.

For additional details and to view the team videos, visit https://hackforhope.devpost.com/.

The top teams included:

    • GOLD MEDAL ($10,000)
      • Masks for Hope (USC & UCLA together)
    • SILVER MEDALS ($5,000)
      • Adoptimize (USC)
      • Harbor Health (USC)
    • BRONZE MEDALS ($2,500)
      • Bridge (USC)
      • DalyTally (USC & UCLA)
      • Corevent (UCLA)
      • ShieldLA (UCLA)
      • HaveNeed (USC)

Hack for Hope called to entrepreneurs, creators, web developers, mentors and volunteers across the region to come together to identify problems arising from the crisis and create solutions. The only requirement was that at least one team member be a UCLA or USC student, alumnus, staff member or faculty member.

The event invited teams to form and solve problems caused by the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic along two tracks: Hack for Now, in which participants try to develop prototypes ready for rapid deployment or production, and Hack for the Future, where participants try to anticipate opportunities likely to emerge in the post-COVID-19 world. Teams developed ideas ranging from health and wellness, online education, communication and connections to vulnerable populations, entertainment, and small and larger businesses.

Partners in Hack for Hope included Twitter, Product Managers Association of LA (PMA.LA), the UCLA Biodesign Program, Artificial Intelligence Los Angeles (AILA) and theapollo.media.