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French Coders Cook Up Tianji Web App to Win Disrupt Beijing Hackathon

TechCrunch Disrupt Beijing hackathon winners: (L-R) David Ruiz, Mathieu Dardenne, and Guillaume De Lazzer

Three Frenchmen caught the judges’ eyes at the TechCrunch hackacthon to scoop the prize, despite plenty of international competition and local talent. Their winning ‘hack’ was a web app that tuned into the API of Tianji, China’s biggest business-oriented social network, and was deemed a winning combo of good-looking, useful, and easy to potentially monetize.

I caught up with the trio – David Ruiz, Guillaume De Lazzer, and Mathieu Dardenne – on the sidelines of the TechCrunch conference. They admitted that the idea for the web app only came to them on 6pm on Saturday evening – perilously close to the 8am Sunday deadline.

That’s when their alma mater, Epitech in Paris, inspired them to work together all night long on a focused project. Just like they did back in college. The three friends, of varying ages, all went to Epitech at some point – and now they all find themselves in various tech companies in Beijing.

The hackathon-winning web app was very much built with one website in mind. David says:

We worked with the Tianji API and we thought: Who wants to pay to use it? Maybe people who need to hire!

The web app allows users to input specific keywords related to a job position they’re hoping to fill, and then, with Tianji’s API, that sends a custom form to the people who match the search keywords. Those individuals on the professional social network might then fill out the form. Mathieu points out:

So then you can see the grade of each candidate, and you didn’t waste any time searching. It could be a Tianji feature.

Guillame says it got a good reception from the judges – among whom were Tianji’s API director, Freferic Leroy – who told them it was “innovate, and useful.” The trio get a prize of 5,000 RMB and a chance to work with that company to develop it further.


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