Hackagong - There's Something in the Water Down There

Updated on August 3, 2016 by UpGuard

We've been saying it for a while now here at UpGuard but there's something pretty special about Australia's Wollongong when it comes to tech. Talented engineers abound in this not so sleepy New South Wales coastal idyll.

We're constantly bumping into rockstar Wollongongians in tech circles, from old hands like Geoff McQueen, Valley slayers like Grabblers Stuart Argue and Anthony Marcar right the way through to precocious (yet humble) newcomers like Peter Watts of Swarm.fm fame. The Gong simply has a knack of churning out tech talent.

With this in mind when we had the chance to get involved as sponsors of this year's Hackagong we were not only excited but also very honoured for the opportunity to rub shoulders with the next generation of the Gong's finest.

Leo handing out the UpGuard Audience Award to "Check My Site"

Leo, our intrepid CTO, ventured down to be part of the action as well. What he saw left him very impressed. With teams working on a diverse range of ideas spanning gaming, consumer retail, consumer web and enterprise there was no shortage of ideas, innovation and enthusiasm in the room.

The gong (so to speak) ended up going to the Kickstart Kristmas crew with their solution for avoiding the age old problem of unwanted Christmas gifts by allowing giftees to select their gifts of choice and gifters to pool their resources to purchase them.

The other teams all did an awesome job. We hesitate from unfairly highlighting too may others due to the overall high quality but an honourable (dishonourable?) mention has to go to the melon.im crew for their "messaging for felons" platform. Loved it.

As cliched as it may sound the true winner on the day was the Wollongong tech scene. Kudos to the community and the Wollongong University for continuing to punch above their weight in this area.

Shout outs to Nathan Waters for making it all happen, Dawn Routelege for showing the support of the NSW Government and Nic Cubrilovic for MC'ing. Great to see more Sydney support in the form of Kim Heras (PushStart) and Lachlan Hardy (Microsoft).

Congrats again to all the teams. We look forward to showing our support for the Wollongong tech scene again soon!

Cheers.

PS: Are you from Wollongong and a UI/UX gun? We're hiring.