Vancouver Startup Week Hackathon team joined by Silicon Valley entrepreneur

Sep 24 2016, 4:17 am

A tech developer based in San Francisco and a team of Vancouver-based volunteers are taking Vancouver’s Startup Week Hackathon to the next level this weekend.

Huan Ho, who grew up in Canada, says he founded his own startup, Rallyteam, after going to a hackathon and now he wants to give back to other people.

“So they can do the same journey, work on something they’re passionate about and make a product that’s going to change the world,” said Ho.

Ho, whose team spent four months working with Vancouver-based organizers on the event this year, says hackathons are a great way to build amazing new products in a short period of time

“It’s amazing what people can do in one weekend,” said Ho. “People come with ideas and dreams to a hackathon, they find other people who are passionate about the same thing.

“And on Sunday, people present these amazing projects on stage and it’s like ‘Holy crap, I can’t believe this was created over a weekend!’”

‘I love this city’

Ho is particularly passionate about the tech scene in Vancouver, and he hopes the hackathon leads to even more startups popping up here.

“I love the city,” said Ho. “There’s such a thriving tech scene here, Vancouver is going to become the Silicon Valley of Canada. It’s a matter of time and people helping grow it.”

Vancouver Startup Week, which is run by a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization, launched only three years ago, the first ever week of its kind in Canada.

In that short time, it has grown exponentially, offering more than 70 different events, organized by more than 100 community partners.

Unfortunately, the Vancouver Startup Hackathon, which is sponsored by the BC Lottery Corporation, is already sold out, even after organizers doubled the size of the event.

Nevertheless, Ho, who quit his job in the energy sector only weeks after attending the hackathon that changed his life, urges anyone with an idea to go out and take a chance.

“For me, it was difficult to move away from the comfort of my corporate office,” he said. “But I said, ‘Screw it’ and took a risk and it’s been an awesome.

“Dip your toe in the startup world first by doing a hackathon, to see if you like it. I loved it and I got sucked in.”

Editor’s Note: This story originally implied Huan Ho stepped in to save the Vancouver Startup Week Hackathon at the last moment. However, this was not the case – Ho worked with a team of local volunteers for months to hold a successful event together – and the story has been edited to reflect that.

Jenni SheppardJenni Sheppard

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