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Grindr announces Hack4Equality winners

Vicc and Marlon

Vicc Alexander and Marlon Lopez | Photo: Gillian Perry

LOS ANGELES – Grindr, in partnership with HackerNest, have announced that Vicc Alexander and Marlon Lopez are the Grand Prize winners of their seven-week Hackathon, Hack4Equality, dedicated to solving crucial issues within the LGBTQ community. The winning concept, presented at the live demo day final, hosted at Grindr’s Los Angeles headquarters, aspires to end public LGBTQ discrimination with their application, LooBot. LooBot connects those without wifi-access to gender-neutral restrooms and charging outlets nearby simply by sending a text to (424) 785-2026. Loobot was awarded prizes totaling $40,000, which will go towards expanding the service by integrating shelters, housing accessibility and soup kitchens. The concept also won the LGBTQ Homelessness category prize.

“Nothing beats building something for fun, while knowing that you can potentially improve the lives of millions of individuals,” noted Vicc Alexander of LooBot. “Our motivation behind everything we do is to make the world a better place, and with LooBot it’s no different. With better stability and new feature additions we can make sure that even those without the latest technologies can still be connected to the resources they need most. We really hope more companies and cities around the world take a page out of Grindr’s book and make it their mission to host Hackathons and events that bring together people from all walks of life, and help foster creative solutions to real problems.”

For the past seven weeks nearly 300 developers, designers and advocates were aided by open data from The White House’s Opportunity Project to build innovative applications that will tackle LGBTQ Homelessness, Transgender Visibility and Economic Empowerment, Sexual Health Services and PrEP, and International LGBTQ Inequality. This is the first time government census data from the Opportunity Project and the City of Los Angeles were cross-referenced with never before seen anonymous Grindr data to shed a light on these LGBTQ issues.

“It takes an idea and some passion to effect change,” said Grindr Founder and CEO, Joel Simkhai.  “I am so grateful to all of the Hack4Equality participants and pleased to provide them with an opportunity to change the world as well as help the LGBTQ community become more accepted globally.”

Additionally, workshops were hosted and participants engaged with mentors from community partners that include: AllOut, The Center for Open Data Enterprise, Out In Tech & Out in Tech LA, OutRight, Trans*H4CK, LA LGBT Center, True Colors Fund, It Gets Better Project, City of West Hollywood, National Coalition of STD Directors amongst others.

The collaborative efforts between the participants, mentors and partners led to dozens of bright ideas. Sunday night, the finalists took the stage to showcase their innovations in front of a panel of judges, which included Grindr CEO, Joel Simkhai, AngelHack, CEO, Sabeen Ali, DoNotPay Founder, Josh Browder and YouTube Personality, Kat Blaque and Dinah Stephens, Senior Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, amongst others.

Stephens states: “Technology has created amazing opportunities for Planned Parenthood to reach people in different ways, and we’re continually looking for innovative approaches to get them the information and care they need. We are glad that Grindr was one of the ways we can reach of LGBTQ patients and better understand how we can care for them.”

Additional winners of this weekend’s Hackathon included:

  • Runner Up: Kristening.me, an application that simplifies transgender name and identity change documentation. Developed by Janet Jeffus and Alice Radulski, who also won the Transgender Visibility and Economic Empowerment category.
  • LGBT International Issues category winners: SpeakOut is a political advocacy platform that empowers citizens to share their personal stories and see the personal stories of others who are impacted by LGBT legislation. Through the appliation, it amplifies the users voices and also encourages them to contact their elected representatives. Developed by Chun-Wei Chen and Leonard Hyman.
  • Access to Sexual Health Services & PrEP category winners: HeyBud is an AI and Human powered chat bot that answers sexually related questions, presents users with access to health-related resources and automates complex on-boarding paperwork/processes required for health treatment, developed by Savalas Colbert and Eddie Aguilar.

For more information visit Hack4Equality.com.


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Posted by on Sep 30, 2016. Filed under Entertainment News, Online Only, Section 4A, Top Highlights. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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