Nationwide preps for first external hackathon

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Nationwide will hold a hackathon at the Plug & Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale, Calif., May 19 and 20. Conceived in partnership with AngelHack, an organization that helps companies and other groups hold the two-day competitions for developers and entrepreneurs, the company is looking to broaden its appeal to digital innovators in Silicon Valley.

There will be three challenges over the two days that entrants can participate in:

  • Connected Businesses: Creating a solution that integrates IoT and the corresponding data that can inform small or medium business owners on how to improve and create more efficient businesses
  • Buying Your First Home: Creating a product that will help millennials prepare for buying their first home.
  • A Community on Your Side: Building a solution that brings Nationwide members in the same community together during a catastrophe

Each challenge will have its own $5,000 winner, and a Grand Prize winner will receive $10,000. All four winners get to travel to Nationwide headquarters in Columbus, Ohio to present to the company's executive team.

I will be on the judging panel for this event, along with the following leaders:

  • Seth Flory, VP IT Strategy and Innovation , Nationwide
  • Erik Ross, AVP Venture Capital, Nationwide
  • Jack Hemion, Solutions Architecture, Amazon Web Services
  • Diane Schrader, Founder + CEO, thirdACT

Flory and Ross told me that Nationwide has held several internal hackathons, which have resulted in solutions being brought to bear in different parts of the enterprise. The company will still hold those, but is looking to get even more new ideas into its ecosystem. That's why it connected with AngelHack.

"We've sought out a partner in AngelHack to help us connect to Silicon Valley's whole hackathon ecosystem," Flory says. "We leveraged them and their network to find folks invested in this process."

Personally, I'm looking forward to getting a look at this side of the insurance innovation process. After the event, I'll share my thoughts on this blog.

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