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GlobalHack Gives Away First $50,000 Prize

"It's pretty cool," said Sean Kooyman, who came into town from southern California
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TopOPPS founder Jim Eberlin talks with participants in the GlobalHack hackathon on February 2, 2014. (Michael Calhoun, KMOX)

TopOPPS founder Jim Eberlin talks with participants in the GlobalHack hackathon on February 2, 2014. (Michael Calhoun, KMOX)

calhoun2 Michael Calhoun
A native St. Louisan, Michael Calhoun grew up listening to the Voice...
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Developers came from far-and-wide for the first edition of the GlobalHack competition — but, as it turns out, the winning team didn’t have to travel much at all.

A team of Washington University students won the $50,000 prize for solving a problem posed by the title sponsor. The cash is in exchange for their code and intellectual property.

200 or so developers came to St. Louis from as far as California and New York for the competition.

“It’s pretty cool,” Sean Kooyman, who came from southern California for the hackathon, told KMOX News on Sunday. “There’s a lot more going on here than I thought. It seems pretty lively and pretty vibrant.”

Caffeine was a common ingredient in every project.

“The weekend was a little crazy,” said Amanda Kosty, who moved to St. Louis from California and now works for a local start-up. “I think I was expecting  more sleep than I got.”

What dreams did she have for the money?

“Everyone sees the possibilities to use that money to expand their business, or subsidize what they already have going on, or help fund the next venture for them,” she said.

GlobalHacks are slated to be held every quarter with a different sponsor posing a different problem, as well as an annual “global technology conference in St. Louis” with a $1 million prize.

The sponsor this first go-round was big-data sales company TopOPPS. Also lending financial support to organizers were Bank of America, Union Station, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, Arch Grants, and Vertical Realty Advisors.

In a news release, TopOPPS founder Jim Eberlin said he sponsored a GlobalHack event because “an opportunity to have hundreds of the nation’s best developers working on your product non-stop for 48 hours is priceless.”

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

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