• HackerNest posted an article
    Inspiring. Amazing. Brilliant. This is DementiaHack - the world's foremost dementia hackathon. see more

    Inspiring. Amazing. Brilliant. These are just a few of the words our attendees used to describe the third DementiaHack on March 4-5 in Toronto.

    At a completely sold out, standing room only event at MaRS Discovery District, over 300 participants forming more than 60 teams worked for two straight days to craft and create tech solutions to problems facing the dementia community. In attendance were co-chairs Jordan Banks of Facebook Canada, and Kevin McGurgan of the British Consulate, and Toronto Mayor John Tory to help kick off the event.

    Split into four challenge sets, DementiaHack was once again the place to be for anyone passionate, interested, and curious about how to improve the lives of people living with dementia, their caregivers, healthcare professionals, and researchers.

    Mayor John Tory delivered the opening remarks at MaRS! Then an esteemed roster of Mentor Judges adjudicated the Science Fair Demos to choose the best of the best from each challenge set.

    The challenge set winners then performed a live, on-stage demo to the entire crowd of their peers and VIPs including VCs, heads of industry, and subject matter experts. Each team was given 3 minutes to demo, and 2 minutes for questions from the judges. The Finals Judging panel consisted of leaders from the dementia and Alzheimer’s community and Toronto’s tech ecosystem.


    Finals Judges


    David Weigelt  |  Vice President, Innovation, Home Instead Senior Care

    Gerry Gallagher  |  Acting Director General, Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention, Public Health Agency of Canada

    Dr. John Preece  |  Sector Development Officer, Life Sciences, City of Toronto

    Megh Gupta  |  Senior Associate, OMERS Ventures

    Phyllis Fehr  |  Board Member, Ontario Dementia Advisory Group

    Robin Tooр  |  Chief Technology Officer, HackerNest

    Ron Riesenbach  |  Managing Director, Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation

    Salim Teja  |  Executive Vice President, Ventures, MaRS Discovery District



    List of winners here:


    Grand Prize Winner


    Memo is a personal assistant that passively collects and analyzes patient data through natural voice. Memo also collects the frequency of patient’s repeated questions allowing researchers to measure the patient’s cognitive ability.


    Challenge Set 1 Winners

    Bright Guide is a cognitive assistance tool that helps families tend to persons living with Dementia. Bright Guide provides secure audio-video recording and playback to create instructions for activities of daily living. This reduces caregiver stress for having to repeatedly verbalize caregiving steps. In earlier years of Dementia the care recipient can use this system independently.


    Challenge Set 2 Winners

    Rescue is the dependable and ultra-responsive go-to platform providing the professional care giving service sought by primary and often sole caregivers for their loved ones struggling with mid to late stage dementia in a moment’s notice. The platform can also provide on-demand help for institutions who may need a skilled PSW to fill in at the last minute.


    Challenge Set 3 Winners

    Connect Dem is a platform that connects volunteers who are looking to give back to the community through services with long term care homes (caring for dementia patients). The volunteer would help out with caring for dementia patients while the care homes will be able to make an informed choice about which volunteers are good choices for which patients.


    On behalf of Facebook and The UK Government, HackerNest would like to thank each and every participant who joined us, shared their passion and tech experience, all our mentors and judges, all our sponsors and community partners, our amazing volunteers, and the staff of MaRS Discovery District for an incredible weekend.


    A special thank you is required for our presenting partners, Facebook and the UK Government for their enthusiasm, dedication, and amazing contributions to the DementiaHack cause. We couldn’t have done this without you.


    Props to DementiaHack 2017 Winners!

  • HackerNest posted an article
    Tackle challenges around customer experience, transparency, and support for children and parents see more

    On the heels of CourtHack 2016’s success in Salt Lake City, HackerNest and the National Center for State Courts are partnering once again to bring you CourtHack 2.0! The event will take place April 22-23, 2017. This year, we’re in the tri-state area in New Brunswick, New Jersey at the New Jersey Law Center. Once again, carefully-curated challenge sets will aim to provide those living in the United States with greater access to justice.

    Last year, over 75 participants formed 16 teams across four challenge sets. The winner, Robot Lawyer, created a text-based app for navigating and filing court appeals and claims. For their amazing work, they took home $5,500 cash and a trip to Las Vegas to the e-Courts Conference, where they demoed for industry professionals. You can watch them present here.

    CourtHack 2.0 aims to bring together over 100 technologists, legal professionals, and business leaders to tackle challenges around customer experience, transparency, and support for children and parents in the legal system, and more. Hackers will be able to pull from anonymized data and have access to mentors from the National Center for State Courts and other subject matter experts.

    Our hackathons feature mentors of the highest caliber because we want to give each team the best shot at not only taking home a prize, but also at forming a viable business based on their solution. Partnering mentors up with teams helps ensure that the projects they’re working on are relevant and useful. HackerNest helps push hackathon projects towards market readiness.

    Registration for CourtHack 2.0 is now open! Spots are limited, so be sure to secure yours early. We’ll see you in New Jersey on April 22!

    Here’s a glimpse of how some of our planning meetings go (can’t wait for more of them!):

  • HackerNest posted an article
    an initiative by The White House that seeks to expand access to opportunity see more

    On Thursday, October 6th, our CEO, Shaharris, and Lead Engineer, Teresa, traveled to Washington, DC to demo Opportunity.HackerNest.com at the White House. HackerNest is proud to have been given the chance to work on The Opportunity Project, an initiative by The White House that seeks to expand access to opportunity for all Americans through government open data.

    The Opportunity Project puts data and digital tools in the hands of families, communities, and local leaders to help them navigate information about the resources they need to thrive. As a participating organization, HackerNest built a tool that maps government jobs and job/training centers relative to public transportation and shows macro salary data to help users navigate potential careers in government.


    The White House Fact Sheet is available hereExcerpt: 


    The Department of Labor identified a national priority to connect people experiencing unemployment with jobs and apprenticeships. The following teams built tools for job-seekers and employers to address this challenge:

    • HackerNest’s “Opportunity.HackerNest.com” uses the data from DOL's OpenSkills API and the Office Personnel Management’s USA JOB’s API to help users identify and navigate potential careers in federal government.

    • LinkedIn’s “Training Finder” uses DOL data to surface education options that lead to in-demand careers for job seekers.

    • Pairin’s “JobSeeker” uses DOL’s new OpenSkills API to match individuals to the jobs in their area that provide the greatest opportunity for personal and professional success based on their skills and experiences.

    • Ushahidi’s “Job Postings” combines crowd-sourced job postings and DOL data, to allow organizations to easily share job opportunities and job-seekers to receive timely SMS and email alerts of jobs in their areas.


    Here’s what the featured projects looked like:

    While waiting for the opening remarks and speakers to kick off, Shaharris and Teresa happily snapped a photo with Megan Smith, ex-Googler and current United States Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President. 

    During the expo-style demo exhibition, Shaharris and Teresa walked numerous government officials through the project, including Megan Smith (referenced above) and John Thompson, Director of the United States Census Bureau. Much of their valuable feedback will be compiled and incorporated into Opportunity.HackerNest.com as well as future job and economy-focused projects our team works on.

    ”Megan Smith called our project ‘super cool’ - we’re terribly proud of that,” says Shaharris. “It feels pretty amazing for our tiny Canadian nonprofit to have been recognized and invited to the White House to demo for a room of such tremendously accomplished and distinguished leaders.” HackerNest’s involvement in this profoundly ambitious initiative proved inspiring, important, and memorable. We’re proud to have built a tool that helps Americans map out their commutes and their careers; honored to have been included in the ranks of such an impressive cabal of innovative companies and nonprofits working on worthwhile causes.

    To see what we’ve built, visit opportunity.hackernest.com. For more information on The Opportunity Project, visit opportunity.census.gov.

  • HackerNest posted an article
    The answer to this question is technology. see more

    Our populations are aging. Our populations have always been aging, yes, but it’s no secret that as large numbers of people age – and, notably, live longer – our governments, communities, and healthcare providers need to evolve to suit these new realities.

    By and large, our hospitals and senior care facilities are not equipped to care for the amount of new patients who require services. Yes, there are care homes and facilities specifically for those living with dementia and Alzheimer’s, however the cost of these options is sometimes, if not often, the barrier to receiving care. Additionally, rural and smaller communities often have incredibly well-trained staff, but dedicated care centres and facilities are often too far from family and community and are therefore not attractive options for those living with dementia.

    So, we face a dilemma – our healthcare infrastructure was not designed to manage this large a population (564,000 people in Canada are currently living with dementia) of people requiring such specific care. The focus, then, often becomes “How do we keep elderly people safe and comfortable in their homes for a longer period of time?” and “How do we provide an excellent standard of care to all those who need it, regardless of income/money or geography?”

    We think the answer to this question is technology.

    As we witness the rise of inclusive design, wearable technology, and healthtech, we see more and more practical, adoptable solutions to common problems. This showcases the impact of technology and applies new, outside-the-box thinking to ongoing challenges. While many in healthtech and tech spaces are working to address issues facing our seniors and aging populations, there’s a stigma surrounding elderly people and technology that can often deter technologists from focusing on the challenges they face.

    Many of us have an ‘I taught my parent/grandparent how to use a smartphone’ story; however, writing off seniors as tech-illiterate is a huge mistake with immeasurable consequences. If tech exists – or can be developed! – that makes senior care, dementia and Alzheimer’s care specifically, easier, safer, more efficient, then we should promote it!

    Instead of sticking with the attitude ‘elderly people won’t use this’, we should be thinking “How can I solve this problem with technology elderly people can use?” Not to mention, myriad caregivers including family members, personal support workers, nurses, doctors, specialists, and more who could be tremendously impacted by using new technologies.

    We often turn a blind eye to problems that aren’t directly our own; if you’ve never had a loved one living with dementia or Alzheimer’s, or don’t work in healthcare, it’s easy to avoid thinking about solving problems they face. Most technology revolves around making life more convenient, and that conversation often puts younger people/families at the forefront. But we should know and do better, so let’s not allow technology to abandon our aging populations.

    DementiaHack, the world’s foremost dementia hackathon, returns to Toronto March 4-5, 2017. Register now to create impactful solutions that could – quite literally – change lives.

  • HackerNest posted an article
    HackerNest is pleased to announce a fantastic new partnership with the U.S. Department of State to p see more

    HackerNest is pleased to announce a fantastic new partnership with the U.S. Department of State to produce their Fishackathon global hackathon series. To see the U.S. Department of State’s original, full release, click here.


    The U.S. Department of State’s Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships (S/GP) is pleased to announce a new partnership with HackerNest, a nonprofit organization and movement that builds local tech communities worldwide, to carry forward Fishackathon.
    First organized by S/GP to coincide with the “Our Ocean” conference in 2014, Fishackathon is a public-private partnership hackathon that aims to capitalize on the expansion of digital solutions to address sustainable fishery challenges. Hundreds of technologists and entrepreneurs around the world spend a weekend competing to build practical tech solutions to endemic problems defined by fisheries experts. Panels of distinguished judges evaluate these demos to select winners from each participating Fishackathon city, awarding the very best team the coveted Global Grand Prize.


    Five cities across the United States took part in Fishackathon’s first year. By its third year, Fishackathon had expanded its reach to aquariums, tech hubs, and participants in more than 40 international cities. Fishackathon 2016: The third annual hackathon series was in 43 cities, 27 countries, 6 continents.


    A veteran producer of blockbuster cause-hackathons with partners that include Facebook, Airbnb, and the UK and Canadian Governments, HackerNest has run tech community-building events in 33 cities across 14 countries on five continents. The organization’s global reach and mission of economic development through tech proliferation make it uniquely well-positioned to continue growing the Fishackathon crowd-sourcing model and brand.


    HackerNest and S/GP will launch Fishackathon 2017 on the weekend of November 18-19 in celebration of World Fisheries Day on November 21.


    For more information, please visit—

    Fishackathon: fishackathon.co | @Fishackathon

    HackerNest: hackernest.com | @HackerNest | fb.me/HackerNest

    Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships: state.gov/s/partnerships | @GPatState | fb.me/GPatState

    For media inquiries, please contact Anita Ostrovsky at OstrovskyA@state.gov or HackerNest at fishackathon@hackernest.com.

  • Ryan Sykes posted an event
  • Ryan Sykes posted an event
  • HackerNest posted an article
    Mayor Tory proclaimed July 26th as ‘Tech Community Day’. see more

    Attendees to last month’s HackerNest Toronto July Tech Social had a special treat -- a great showing of Toronto Mayor John Tory, Councillor and former Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, members of the British Consulate in Toronto, as well as others from Toronto’s City Council. Over 500 people came to the Tech Social to watch as Mayor Tory proclaimed July 26th as ‘Tech Community Day’. Tech Socials are about building ‘real’ community -- by bringing people from all factions of the tech ecosystem together who, despite working and living so close together, would otherwise never meet. If you haven’t been to one, this short video shows you what it’s like!





    We are honoured to be a part of the vibrant and growing city and were thrilled to be the official recipient of the proclamation scroll for ‘Tech Community Day’ from Mayor Tory.

    In addition to such distinguished recognition, we were also awarded a scroll for our contributions to the city and its communities from Council Member Norm Kelly (you’ll remember him as defender of Toronto in the world-famous feud between Canadian rapper Drake and American rapper Meek Mill via Twitter. Read more about him on wikipedia!).

    Though Tech Community Day may just be on July 26th, our organization strives to place continued emphasis on building communities across Canada, the United States, and internationally every day, every month, every year. 

    If you’re interested in helping at our volunteer-run Tech Socials and want to be part of your local, vibrant, tech ecosystem in an engaging and authentic way, fill out this form and we’ll be in touch.

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     January 11, 2019
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