Canberra innovator launches Australian first

Amy M 19 March 2015
james long entry 29

Canberra innovator James Long has this month launched what he believes is Australia’s first crowd funded hacking prize.

It’s called Hack the Lobby, and it offers a $500 prize for the best hack that brands the lobby TV and LED of startup co-working space Entry 29’s venue with a startup’s logos and brand colours prior to meetings.

James explains that the goal is to both “incentivise innovators to hack an awesome solution” and to “create a slick look for Entry 29’s startups to impress our visitors”.

The prize money is crowd sourced from Entry 29 startups and anyone else who is interested in contributing. Entry 29 startups who back the project will have priority over other startups when there are conflicting bookings, while external backers get to feel good about supporting local innovation.

James says that they have raised $200 so far, with just a few days to go.

The idea is inspired by innovation incentive prizes such as XPrize, which offer rewards – sometimes in the millions of dollars – to develop solutions in areas where the market has failed, such as space tourism. And while his first foray into incentive prizes is considerably smaller by comparison, James says it serves as a proving ground for a much larger idea, which is a platform for crowd funded incentive prizes.

From there, he’d like to develop a crowd funded prize to incentivise people to develop an all-electric heavy rigid truck.

“There are other electric trucks out there, but they’re normal trucks with big batteries. I want to encourage people to develop an electric truck from the ground up, like what Tesla did when they developed the electric car,” he says.

“There seems to be a market failure because truck manufacturers don’t seem to trust suppliers will create the technologies that they need, and suppliers don’t trust manufacturers to buy those technologies. There’s an opportunity there.”

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