Unearthed, the hackathon for the resources sector that aims to make Perth the best place in the world to do resources innovation, is being held on March 20-22. We spoke to Zane Prickett to find out more.
Zane’s one of the original founders of the Unearthed event, and his enthusiasm for the projects still shines through his conversation about it.
The first Unearthed event that happened last year was a great success and proved that real innovation can happen from this sort of collaboration. The winning team, Newton Labs, have taken their initial prototype “Boondie detector” on to a full-scale pilot (using industrial accelerometers instead of an iPhone!) with a large mine and have every chance of making this a commercial success. This is pretty much the goal of every hackathon, so a great result for the team and for Unearthed.
To help this happen the team behind Unearthed have also launched an accelerator for resource-industry tech startups that can invest in promising teams from the event. They make no promises about investing in the winning team(s), but if an idea looks like it could get traction with the industry, they can help. This fund aims to invest in around 8-12 companies each year, and to aid in this they’ve recruited the incredibly experienced Larry Lopez to their board to advise them on innovation investment.
The event will also be expanding to the other Australian cities; Brisbane in May, then Sydney in September and Melbourne in November. It’ll be interesting to see how the event changes as it goes national and what influences it from the national exposure.
To achieve all this, the list of supporters and sponsors has grown, in both numbers and size. The list hasn’t been finalised yet, but the sponsor list so far is:
- Dept of Industry
- Iluka Resources
- acQuire Technology
- University of Western Australia
- Amazon Web Services
- Spacecubed (of course!)
Events like this grow with each repetition, gaining momentum and support as they age, so this is an impressive list for only the second year, it’ll be interesting to see how big this can get…
In terms of format, the event is staying the same as last year. The event kicks off on Friday evening with an introduction and speakers – there’s no “team forming” stage because all the teams need to be pre-formed. Teams work on any problem they like, but there are a number of industry problems that are posed as challenges for the teams by sponsoring resource companies. Data relevant to the industry in general and the specific challenges is available during the event, this time it will all be in csv format so there’s less data wrangling involved. The event ends on Sunday afternoon with the teams pitching their projects and prizes being handed out. The prizes are along the same lines as last year (real Gold Coins!) but bigger to reflect the increased support.
You need to be able to code, design or data-analyse to take part in the event, if you’re interested then sign up for early bird tickets here and head along to the information session beforehand to work out your team (date to be advised)
We have some free tickets to give away, so comment below on your experience of the last event or why you think you deserve a free ticket to the next one and we’ll email you a free ticket if we agree…