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WaterlooHacks: 175 students, 46 hours, lots of code and little sleep

Brian Zubert  Director, Thomson Reuters Labs, Waterloo Region

Brian Zubert  Director, Thomson Reuters Labs, Waterloo Region

On the evening of Friday, January 22, students from the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University came together at for a hackathon at Communitech. The innovation centre in Waterloo, Canada helps companies start and grow their businesses and, in this case, brought bright minds together for a weekend filled with innovation, code, and sleep deprivation. By Sunday, those still standing put their hacks to the test, showing off their hard work in the pursuit of prizes, recognition, and glory.

WaterlooHacks also gave students an opportunity to take in a session with two local startup heroes: Ted Hastings, founder of Rebellion Media and president of Perk, and Ted Livingston, co-founder and CEO of Kik Interactive.

Building careers

Brian Zubert, head of Thomson Reuters Labs™ – Waterloo Region put out a challenge to the hackers:

“You look for insights in finance and big data, and we’ll connect you with the who’s who of Bay Street [Toronto’s version of Wall Street].”

While most hackathon sponsors offer up cash or electronics as prizes, Thomson Reuters Labs decided to do something a little different. Winning teams of the Thomson Reuters hack would have the opportunity to work with the lab to evolve and build upon their solution, visit with Thomson Reuters in Toronto, and to present their solution to two of Thomson Reuters top Canadian customers, helping further their careers and/or start a new business.

Thomson Reuters at Communitech
The Thomson Reuters Labs – Waterloo team at Communitech.

Assisted throughout the weekend with a presentation on big data, access to Thomson Reuters resources including Eikon and App Studio, along with onsite business and technical mentorship, students were supported in all aspects of their hacks.

Helping team GooseHackers
Helping out a team calling themselves GooseHackers, getting them setup with Eikon accounts and access to App Studio.

The winning hack

Pulling in data on cost of living, salary, employer rankings, quality of life, and population density, the winning hack was delivered by Vaughan Hilts and Scott King of team Acre. With only a dozen of hours of sleep between the two of them over the course of the weekend, they built an app to help people find a place to live where they can do the job they love, in a city that meets their needs.

Team Acre
Winners of the Thomson Reuters hack, team Acre, with Brian Zubert (far right)

The award was presented by Thomson Reuters Clayton Feick. The next steps for Acre is to build upon their hack with additional data sources, create analytics of searches generated by users, and give their maps a facelift with the help of Thomson Reuters UI libraries.

We can’t wait to see the final result.

Learn more

Visit to learn more about Thomson Reuters Labs and innovation activities around the world.

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