When I heard that SendGrid was one of the API sponsors for Hack the Midwest on June 2nd and 3rd in Kansas City, I jumped at the chance to represent us there.  Although I was actually born in Kansas City, it had been nearly ten years since I’d been back, and I was super excited to see what the tech and startup scene had to offer.

Nearly 100 local hackers showed up to demo their skills at the competition.  Teams came in all shapes and sizes –  some from local startups, others comprised of groups of local tech enthusiasts.  There was even a father-son pair that ended up taking home some awesome prizes!

Out of the 27 teams that demoed at the end of the hackathon, 11 of their hacks were powered by SendGrid!  Picking the best one was a fairly daunting challenge, since each of them was impressive in its own right.  Here are some of my favorites:

  • Qup.tv  – Get email alerts when new items are added to the Netflix catalog and queue them up in one click (Best in Show App)
  • MailB8 – Easily post emails to your various social networks
  • Commuticate – Get email and SMS alerts when there are incidents on your driving routes (Best Multi-API App)
  • Booky Book – Tools to track and motivate children’s literacy (Best Large Team App)
  • MyStalkerGirlfriend – Keep track of your significant other via GPS positioning and get email alerts for movement (Best Small Team App)
  • Make My Day – Plan out your day in just a few clicks and email yourself the itinerary

The prize for the best app powered by SendGrid went to Derek Kean for his hack, SpotNumber.  SpotNumber enables profitability and inventory tracking for real-world sellers on platforms like Etsy or Ebay.  He was inspired by his mother, who sells a lot of stuff on Etsy and, as of the end of the event, she’s his first paying customer!

Overall, I’d say that the first ever Hack the Midwest went over very well.  You can get a full recap of all the teams that demoed on the Kansas City IT Professionals blog.  Really looking forward to next year’s event and more awesome stuff from the Kansas City tech scene.

Swift is a developer evangelist at SendGrid who is based out of NYC. He is one of the founders of Hacker League and tweets as @SwiftAlphaOne. Follow him there and check him out at http://theycallmeswift.com.