Throughout the open call for FinCapDev 2014 Competition proposals, FinCapDev will host two FinCapDev Hackathons—Powered by U.S. Financial Diaries: one in San Francisco over the weekend of February 8 & 9, and one in New York City over the weekend of March 29 & 30. Here’s a quick overview of what they’re all about…

What is FinCapDev? 

$100,000 prize purse. Startup cash. Technical resources. Expert consulting. FinCapDev is a mobile app development competition that helps millions of underserved Americans make smarter financial choices and achieve better access to financial services. The open call for FinCap Dev 2014 Competition proposals starts  in mid-January 2014.

And what are the hackathons?
In short, FinCapDev hackathons are two-day events at which entrepreneurs, designers, developers and innovators come together, collaborate and build things.

The hackathons are sponsored by PaynearMe, the electronic cash-transaction network that enables consumers to pay rent, transfer money, repay loans, buy tickets, make online purchases and do much more with cash.

What types of things? 
Hacks, prototypes or apps for mobile platforms that attack specific issues described in U.S. Financial Diaries cases that will be presented at each hackathon. Your hack should help underserved Americans make smarter financial choices and achieve better access to financial products and services.

What are the U.S. Financial Diaries cases? 
U.S. Fiancial Diaries is a research project tracking more than 200 low- and moderate-income households over the course of a year, and collecting highly detailed data on household financial activity. For these hackathons, you will hack to solve the financial challenges faced by different households that are profiled in U.S. Financial Diaries cases. We will use two out of the six published cases at each hackathon. San Francisco hackers will use the Rodriguez family and Johnson family cases, and New York hackers will use the Hossain family and Adrian family cases.

Who can participate?
In short, anyone who’s at least 18 years old. If you’re passionate about using technology to solve problems for financially underserved Americans, FinCapDev Hackathons is for you. Participants range from entrepreneurs, designers, developers, computer scientists, anthropologists, artists… the list goes on. You can come on your own or you can come with a team. Anyone is welcome and we will have a place for everyone.

Where are the hackathons held?
In both San Francisco and New York City, FinCapDev Hackathons will be held at a WeWork venue. In San Francisco, we’ll be in SoMa. In New York, on March 29-30, we’ll be at The Lounge@WeWork, 173 Lafayette St. (UPDATE: The San Francisco hackathon happened February 8-9. Go here for full recap.)

Is there a registration fee?
Yes, it’s $20 per person in advance, $30 at the door, day-of. But here’s the fun part: your registration fees (and everyone else’s) go towards the Hacker’s Choice Award prize pot.  The Hackers’ Choice Award will be an as-voted-by-the-audience prize that goes to the participating team that gets the most love.

Speaking of prizes…
In addition to the Hackers’ Choice Award, here’s the prize breakdown:

  • Grand Prize: $3,000  plus a guaranteed Finalist slot in the FinCapDev 2014 Competition (which includes a $7,500 cash stipend and access to technical and expert resources to further development, plus a shot at the $50,000 FinCapDev 2014 Competition Grand Prize).
  • Runner Up Prizes (2): $1,000.
  • All winners will also receive access to Yodlee’s API.

Do I need an idea in advance?
Not at all. We will present the specific U.S. Financial Diaries cases and answer your questions day-of. You’re also welcome to form a team on site on Day 1.

Do I have to be at the hackathon the whole time?
Certainly not. But all coding and work related to the FinCapDev hackathon must be done over the course of the weekend. That means no starting in advance, before the hackathon begins. Honor system, people!

What should I bring?
Essentials: laptop with power cord, mobile phone with charger.

What does FinCapDev provide?
First and foremost, food and caffeinated beverage! (We’ll also have non-caffeinated beverages.) FinCapDev will also provide a comprehensive overview of the specific U.S. Financial Diaries cases that you’ll be hacking for. Expert mentors will be wandering in and out of the hackathons as well to help you out and answer questions.

Any other rules? 
Comprehensive FinCapDev hackathon rules can be viewed here.

When are submissions due?
All must be completed by 5:00 PM local time on Day 2 of a given FinCapDev hackathon in order to qualify for judging.

What about presenting and judging?
Participants will pitch a live demo of their app before a judging panel at the end of the Hackathon event. Judges will select winners based on certain enumerated criteria; see complete Hackathon Rules for details. The peer-selected “Hackers’ Choice” award will be chosen by voting by participants in the public Hackathon area at the time of judging.