Cracking The Code

GoogleThe Cracking the Code Hackathon took place in New York City on January 30, 2015. At the hackathon, 75 technologists, entrepreneurs and news media professionals formed teams to develop technology solutions to help close the digital news gender gap and to compete for $10,000 in Google prize money. A panel of judges selected three winning prototypes (and one honorable mention), and awarded four teams cash prizes to develop innovative apps tackling the obstacles women face in the digital news startup industry. Solutions addressed a range of challenges including but not limited to access to seed funding, gender bias in the pitching process, network building, mentorship needs, and scaling up.

Startups use hackathons to drive innovation. We can use this approach to help women entrepreneurs in digital news around the world to achieve success.

The hackathon:

  • Provided participants with experience that they can replicate with their peers in their organizations and communities.
  • Created a community of practice focused on enabling and increasing women’s participation in digital news entrepreneurship.
  • Built prototypes that can be turned into real world products or services.

The hackathon encouraged participants to write awesome code and build prototypes for web applications, mobile apps, tools and other resources.

Projects were evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Usefulness – potential to help women digital news entrepreneurs achieve startup success
  • Creativity – new ideas and creative design aimed at maximizing impact
  • User-friendliness – employs principles of user-centered design
  • Technical difficulty – reflects high level of technical skill


All hackathon activities took place at One UN New York Hotel, located at 1 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017.


Thursday, January 29
8-10 p.m. Brainstorming session and preliminary team formation

Friday, January 30
7:30 -8:30 a.m. Registration and networking breakfast
8:30-8:45 a.m. Welcome and introduction
8:45-9:30 a.m. Team formation
9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Team work*
6-7 p.m. Team presentations
7-7:30 Judging (Meet the judges)
7:30-8 p.m. Announcement of winners and closing remarks

*Boxed lunches and refreshments will be provided throughout the day while teams work.