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.