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Announcing the Disrupt NY Hackathon judges and API workshops

TechCrunch TechCrunch 6/05/2016 Matt Burns

The TechCrunch Disrupt NY Hackathon kicks off tomorrow at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, and we’re honored to welcome the hackathon’s stellar judges.

Nicholas Chirls

Nick Chirls is a partner at Notation Capital, a pre-seed fund based in Brooklyn that focuses on partnering with technical founders at the infancy of an idea. He previously led the seed investing business at betaworks. He likes Brooklyn based pizza.

Kathryn Finney

Kathryn Finney is the founder and Managing Director of digitalundivided (DID), which invests in the success of Black and Latina women founders by providing them with the network, coaching, and funding to build, scale, and exit their high-growth companies. DID runs the BIG Innovation Center, home to the BIG Accelerator, a 16-week program for high potential startups led by Black and Latina Founders. She is also a General Partner in the Harriet Fund, the first pre-seed venture fund investing in high-potential Black and Latina women-led startups.

One of the first social media “stars,” Kathryn sold her site, The Budget Fashionista, in 2014. She was the editor-at-large at BlogHer, a platform representing 40 million-plus women influencers.

An honors graduate of Yale University and Rutgers University and Eisenhower Fellow, Kathryn received the Champion of Change Award in 2013 from the White House for tech inclusion. She’s also listed in Marie Claire’s 10 Women to Watch in 2016, Entrepreneurs Magazine’s “Woman to Watch in 2016”, New York Business Journal’s Women of Influence Award, SXSW Black Innovator and more. She’s inducted into Spelman College’s “Game Changers Academy.”

On February 26, 2015 she was honored by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer with the “Kathryn Finney Appreciation Day.”

Jean Lauer

Trained as an architect with a decade-plus of experience in planning and design, Jean founded Sweeten, the first-of-its-kind residential renovation marketplace, matching homeowners with local design and construction experts based on the budget, location, and style of each project. Sweeten has raised $4.3 million in funding, tripled in size in 2015, with more than $300 million in renovation deals posted.

During her time as the Senior Manager of Global Architecture at Coach Inc., Jean built and managed web platforms for the design and construction of Coach stores internationally and received the company’s Chairman’s Award for her work. Jean graduated from The Cooper Union with a Bachelor of Architecture and was selected as one of 9 recipients of the 2011 Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Jean also co-founded and chairs the African American Student Union (AASU) at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, dedicated to supporting African Americans in architecture, real estate, and urban planning.

Charlie O’Donnell

Charlie O’Donnell is the sole Partner and Founder at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures. The fund makes seed and pre-seed investments and was the first venture firm located in Brooklyn where he was born and raised. Brooklyn Bridge invested in the first rounds of Canary, Orchard Platform, Tinybop, Hungryroot, Clubhouse, Ringly, and goTenna among others. He has also funded two companies, GroupMe and Docracy, out of the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon.

Previously, Charlie worked on the investment teams of Union Square Ventures and First Round Capital. He bikes to work, in Gowanus, has done six triathlons, four marathons, and runs the kayaking program in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The longest he has consecutively been outside of the five boroughs of New York City is three weeks.

Saron Yitbarek

Saron Yitbarek is the founder of CodeNewbie, the most supportive community of programmers and people learning to code. She’s also host of the weekly CodeNewbie Podcast and a program manager at Microsoft for Tech Jobs Academy, a technical training program for talented New Yorkers ready to launch their tech career. You can follow her @saronyitbarek.

API Workshops

Want to learn a bit more about the tools available at the hack? Take a deep dive into a few APIs in a classroom-style setting.

Microsoft – Saturday 2:00PM

Want your app to access user files, contacts, calendar or mail data? How about build a solution that extends Outlook, Word, Excel or Powerpoint with your own UX and code? Or connect 3rd party apps & services like Trello, Twitter, Github into the conversations of Outlook users and groups? The Office developer platform can make this happen for you. Come learn more about Office 365 APIs, Add-ins and Connectors – we’ll show you how they work and provide pointers to help you get started quickly. Learn more @,

Twilio – Saturday 2:30PM

Twilio makes it easy to connect the people you care about in the languages and frameworks you already know. Come learn how to quickly build apps with Twilio SMS, Voice, and Video.

Hackathon Schedule

Saturday, May 7, 2016

12:30pm – Registration opens (come fed or bring a brown bag lunch, beverages served)

1:30pm – Hacking Kickoff and Opening Announcements

2:00pm – API Workshop: Microsoft

2:30pm – API Workshop: Twilio

7:00pm – Dinner

Midnight – Pizza and beer, courtesy of

Sunday, May 8, 2016

7:00am – Breakfast served

9:30am – Hacking concludes and hacks submitted to wiki

10:00am – General public welcome to enter to attend hackathon presentations

11:00am – Hackathon presentations begin

2:00pm* – TechCrunch and Sponsor awards presented

*Final awards may be held earlier or later depending on duration of hack presentations.

Please note, times are subject to change

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