The fifth annual 59 Days of Code competition in Fresno turned out to the final one, because organizers say it accomplished what it set out to prove: that the Valley has "the talent, the role models and the capital founders needed for technology ventures in our area to succeed."
This year, 25 competitors created tech innovations from apps to video games over 59 days. Each team either started from scratch and competed in the Zero Code category or improved an existing product in the category In Progress.
About 2,500 people attended the all-day showcase Saturday at the Fresno Convention Center, said founder Irma Olguin. Teams set up booths to showcase their products, and attendants could vote for their favorite in real time, similar to voting for "American Idol," she said.
This was the second year Ian Jones, 19, competed in 59 Days of Code. He said it's harder than you'd think to gauge the amount of time it takes to build code for an app. "It's hard for members of a small team to create their own stake in a high-stake game," he said.
Last year, Jones created an app called Transline, which calculates the amount of time left for a bus to arrive at a stop.
This year, he and three other teammates created an app called The Know, which allows a user to follow his or her favorite products.
The top award of $10,000 cash and $50,000 in services for Zero Code went to One Sense, a location-aware marketing platform to connect attendees, exhibitors and event organizers.
The founder of One Sense, Matt Tymn, says he is a natural problem-solver and has been an entrepreneur since he was a youngster. One Sense is a viable product for trade shows, he said.
"I do a lot of listening," he said, which helps him provide answers to companies that seek him for consultant work.
He and his partner, Ron Lugge, plan to keep forging forward Monday on launching One Sense after winning the top award in the competition.
PlaceAVote.com won for In Progress and People's Choice, collecting $7,500 cash in total for both awards, as well as $40,000 in services for the In Progress win, Olguin said. PlaceAVote.com is a website where users can interact and weigh in on political issues by casting votes, with the results provided to their elected representatives.
Jones, who participated in 59 Days of Code twice, said he liked the opportunity and hopes to bring a similar tech conference to Fresno next year. He and his team hope to bring to the city an independently organized Tedx event, similar to Ted Talks, that focuses on technology.
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