The first hackathon organized in the city of Ruse – Ruse Hack 2015 – was held from 29 to 31 May and proved to be success exceeding the expectations in terms of interest, number of participants and quality of the software product developed. The hackathon had the main topic “Application for the citizens and the business in Ruse” and it was intended to stimulate the development of products that solve problems of the city or make the live of the citizens more convenient and pleasant.

The organizer of the hackathon was the co-working space “Startup Factory” and the co-organizer University of Ruse provided the facilities for the participants. The goal of the initiative was to develop the entrepreneurship ecosystem and the IT community in Ruse by bringing together developers, designers, entrepreneurs and software engineers who had just two days to formulate concept for software product and develop it to working demo.

There were no restrictions about the technologies, frameworks, platforms and programming languages that could be utilized for the development of the applications. All the participants presented their prototypes on May 31 in front of jury comprising representatives of the sponsors and partners of the hackathon.

The first place in Ruse Hack 2015 won the platform “Ruse Problem Solving” for sending signals about problems and risks in the city. The innovation of the platform is in the social aspect of the service – users are able to see the submitted signals and vote if they are real and relevant. After a critical mass of users support the signal then it is approved and registered as actual problem.

The second place was awarded to the project “Easy Travel” – aimed at optimizing the usage of the transportation system in the city of Ruse. The mobile application takes the location of the user and provides information about close bus stops, number and destination of the transportation lines and the schedule of the buses. It is designed to serve real-time data if such is provided by the transportation companies.

The third place in Ruse Hack 2015 is for “Auto Help” – web and mobile application assisting drivers with engine troubles or incidents. The software product helps them find appropriate service nearby and contact it. The jury was impressed how the platform could be adapted for other sectors – for example medical services.

The sponsors and the partners of the hackathon awarded several special prizes – for youngest participant, for design and interface, for most accomplished product and for best team.

Almost 50 people grouped in 14 teams took part in Ruse Hack 2015. Most of the teams were formed before the hackathon and at least one member of the team had software development skills. The organizer “Startup Factory” will offer free working places for 3 months in its co-working space to selected teams. Further, “Startup Factory” will provide support to the participants that are willing to continue the development of their applications and turn them into market products.