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UC Berkeley, HEC Students Tackle Travel Issues At Hackathon

Bridging two continents and universities, 95 visiting students from the leading business school in France, Hautes Etudes Commercial de Paris (HEC), teamed up with 30 University of California, Berkeley Engineering students on April 18, 2015 for a travel idea hackathon, sponsored by Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies, Technology Transfer Program.

Visiting HEC graduate level students spent time in the Bay Area visiting several universities and accelerators in Silicon Valley. On Saturday, they partnered with Berkeley students for the hackathon, organized by Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology Student Association Vice President Arjun Ghai and HEC student Romain Lapeyre.

“We really enjoyed hosting this diverse group of students,” says David Law, program manager for Tech Transfer’s Learn2Launch program. “They came up with some amazing ideas.”

After student teams were given an envelope with a picture or an item, they thought about travel problems and developed a solution that related to their item, with access to student and faculty mentors at the event.

They were judged on their identified problem, their solution, how well it related to the item from the envelope and their creativity. Judges included David Law, Ken Singer (Managing Director, CET), Olivier Younes (Affiliate Professor, HEC), Tal Lavian (Industry Fellow, CET) and Stephanie Lawrence (Founder, Traveling Spoon).

Two awards were given; one for the best market-ready solution and one for most creative idea. Team Wefi created a Wi-Fi access service for those who are travelling. As many people don’t have plans that allow for international use or a SIM card, this service would allow people access to existing Wi-Fi networks in place with this service. This innovative idea was selected as the best market-ready solution.

Team Neil Card, developed a solution that would act as a bitcoin based debit/credit card that would eliminate costly currency conversion fees for travelers. This solution was selected as the most creative.

Both teams were awarded prizes by the sponsors: Tech Transfer, CRN, Traveling Spoon, HEC and CET Berkeley.