Zuventurez takes a fresh spin on their traditional business competition layout

In partnership with Azusa Pacific’s Engineering and Computer Science Department, Zuventurez hosted their first short-term competition, Hackathon, last weekend in Wilden Hall. The winning team of the entrepreneurship competition received a $500 stipend.

The competition sparked inspiration among its contestants, even with its tight deadline. The teams had three days to code a product from scratch that not only solved a problem, but also had a positive social impact. Afterwards, each team presented their ideas in front of a panel of judges.

Justin Rohweller, a senior computer science major, took first place with his creation of the “Philosophical App.” This app allows users to explore the possibility of a higher being, built on Rohweller’s idea of “choose[ing] your own adventure engine.” Game developers can use the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure (CYOAE) method to easily add steps in a JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), a data-interchange format which can be used in cross-platform development.

Rohweller decided to participate in Hackathon when it was first mentioned because he thought it would be a good challenge to try and develop an app in such a short amount of time.

“I came up with the idea of my app by listening and talking to my philosophy professor: Josh Rasmussen,” Rohweller said. “Basically the app walks the user through a survey, which, using, their answers, proves logically that there is a God, in a philosophical sense.”

One of the biggest challenges Rohweller faced during his development was fatigue in addition to rushed coding that was “not up to the standard” he would have liked.

The app community is a competitive industry that is constantly changing, with many apps falling off the market radar after just a few years.

“I predict the app will be on the app store in one way or another for a fair amount of time, although I did not initially plan for it to be,” Rohweller admitted. “Some features I see for the future are continuing to finish the back-end so we can harvest data from the quiz results, publishing it to Android and IOS, and cleaning the code up even to the point where I can quickly produce other similar kinds of apps, like text-based quizzes or games for example.”

Rohweller went home Sunday night with the $500 reward.

The runner-up team, “Crypto Currency” led by senior David Bartholomew, junior Peter Cusack and junior Sean Billideau created a new currency system for the APU IMT Computer Store by using cryptocurrency. The cryptocurrency is transferred into a website that allows users to fund and give money instantly.

“The project, in simple terms is a Crypto Crowdfunding website. If you’ve heard of blockchain technology, it was the core thing we were trying to leverage, specifically the Ethereum blockchain,” Bartholomew said. “Our website we built allows people to crowd-fund campaigns, similar to gofundme, indiegogo, Kickstarter, etc. The main kicker is it utilizes an Ethereum smart contract to make sure campaign goals are met. Through the public Ethereum blockchain, we can verify donations and create a system we call ‘karma.’ This allows users to be held accountable for donations to campaigns they have made and have a proved rating system.”

Bartholomew’s inspiration came from his love for “decentralized technologies and crypto in general,” alongside his teammates’ similar interests.

“My teammates Peter and Sean share similar interests so we backpacked off of each other’s ideas really well. I have always been inspired to create something that can help people,” Bartholomew said. “I think crowdfunding is something that can easily be used for good. Plus, the crypto industry has a huge market value now and there needs to be more platforms that allow the money to be used for good.”

In the future, Bartholomew hopes to make a positive impact with his technological skills.

“Whether that’s at a desktop job doing programming stuff or it’s across the world implementing new systems to aid poverty,” Bartholomew said.

Team Crypto Currency won $175 for second place.

Jay Sherer, the Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Zuventurez, was very pleased with the first and second place teams.

“Justin won because he executed on the idea and had a functioning minimum viable product,” Sherer said. “The second place team has an amazing, innovative idea around using cryptocurrency for a good cause. The top teams were phenomenal.”

Sherer explained Zuventurez’s main focus in light of Hackathon.

“Our goal is to support entrepreneurs,” Sherer said. “Sometimes that means supporting developers, sometimes it means supporting social workers. Great ideas and courageous startup founders come from every school on campus, and with Zuzenturez, PITCH, INCUBATE and events like this Hackathon, we get to support those ideas and build a bigger, stronger startup community here at APU.”

If you would like more information about Zuventurez, check out their website at zuventurez.com.