For Manhattan entrepreneurs John Kluge and Michael Lindenmayer, progress in solving the world’s sanitation crisis—helping the 2.6 billion people without connections to a public sewer, septic system or latrine—wasn’t happening fast enough. To move things along, the duo, co-founders of Eirene, a three-employee for-profit holding company that invests in large-scale social ventures, tapped partners including the Gates Foundation and the World Bank to organize a two-day hackathon in early 2013.
More than 1,000 hackers in seven countries will converge virtually, competing for internships and mentor-ships with water and sanitation companies, as well as a cash prize for the best idea. “It’s not just a bunch of plumbers and geeky engineers and social workers who are already passionate about this,” said Mr. Lindenmayer. “We’re bringing to the table people who have nothing to do with sanitation and have them apply their minds to deep data.”
…Apprenda, a cloud platform software firm with offices in Manhattan and Clifton Park, N.Y., finds that putting its developers head-to-head during its twice-yearly hackathons often yields concepts for new products. There is a time constraint—but unlimited coffee, pizza and beer.