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GlobalHack Competition Grabs Sponsor for First Hack-a-Thon

"People are seeing there's some interesting things going on in St. Louis."
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calhoun2 Michael Calhoun
A native St. Louisan, Michael Calhoun grew up listening to the Voice...
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Gabe Lozano says you can call it the “Super Bowl of Geeks.”

And just like the big game, GlobalHack, the million-dollar series of hack-a-thons calling St. Louis home, is starting to attract sponsorship interest. TopOPPS, a company which analyzes ‘big data’ to advise sales teams, is fronting the $50,000 prize for the first iteration of the competition.

The teams participating in GlobalHack will all receive their assignment at the start of the weekend — January 31st through February 2nd — and work through non-stop to come up with their best solution.

The non-stop part is no joke. In fact, GlobalHack’s website touts that the caffeine is “on us.”

“We want to see what people can do in 48 hours,” Lozano told KMOX’s Michael Calhoun.

The assignment just happens to be a problem that the sponsor needs solved, although Lozano, who also founded the locally-based start-up LockerDome, says GlobalHack sponsors are also hoping to get a glimpse of some of the country’s best and brightest.

“They’re not looking just to start building prototypes of some of the things they’re thinking about,” he explained. “They’re looking to attract talent.”

A hack-a-thon is a group of computer coders congregating to collaborate. LockerDome hosts regular “Code Until Dawn” events at its Washington Avenue headquarters, at which local programmers go to get work done around other like-minded people.

In addition to the quarterly GlobalHack events — each with a sponsor, a problem and a $50,000 prize — an annual convention will award $1 million in non-dilutive capital to winning group in exchange for their opening an office in St. Louis.

EARLIER: LockerDome Founder Announces Million Dollar Innovation Competition >

250 people are expected for the first hack-a-thon, which will be at Union Station downtown. The annual big one will likely be at a local arena, like Scottrade, Family or Chaifetz.

Lozano says GlobalHack is just another route to raise awareness of St. Louis innovation.

“People are paying attention. It’s not just an echo chamber here. People are seeing there’s some interesting things going on in St. Louis.”

Contact reporter Michael Calhoun: mrcalhoun@cbs.com; @michaelcalhoun

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