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The Start Up Phenomenon

Hackathons have been the catalyst that are giving start-ups a boost towards becoming a legitimate business and igniting the interest of large corporations to invest in them. Small 2 to 3 person teams with a simple idea can turn into an overnight success, get bought over by large corporations and be the next rags to riches story. One person start-ups isn’t unheard of either as was seen in the recent Big App Challenge competition.

Microsoft, DellEMC, Google and IBM fall into a special category of companies who are looking to be the next big thing to revolutionize the world of IoT. Their problem? Change. Due to their enormous size and protocols that keep them running, they aren’t able to make the change quick enough to become that next big thing quick enough.

They instead do the next best thing. Incorporate or buy over the start-ups who, from their home garage, or bedroom computer, figured out a way to solve the problems in todays world and overcome constraints of large corporations and are able to quickly implement the necessary protocols to launch their product.

History tells us of numerous times the start-up has scorched the trail of success, leaving large corporations in their wake. Seems the lesson has been learnt. Merging and combining products to create a holistic eco-system is what these large corporations a striving for now.

No longer turning a high nose to the modest start-up, these multibillion dollar corporations are becoming part of the innovation industry and embracing the change that has become the way of the world in recent times.

How do hackathons fit in? Many of these start-ups are getting noticed through participating in hackathons that provide the foundation for them to create their platforms, launch their product and get noticed by the big guns. Not to mention win lump sums of cash.

One such infamous platform encouraging hackathons is Kaggle. Through their platform, the internationally known website helps individuals get started with Python or R, study benchmark models and code shared on Kernels, read interviews with top data scientists on No Free Hunch as well as learn machine learning with the free InClass platform.

The hackathon competitions on Kaggle, which offer prizes ranging from USD 150,000 to USD25,000, offer DIY classes, forums to help the first timers to gain knowledge from more experienced players and tutorials that walk through first timers submissions.

Apart from that, users can also analyse open data sets, explore and create their own datasets. First time users are encouraged to use machine learning to begin their growth in becoming a hacker.

The Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has been running numerous hackathon competitions to set in motion the start-up phenomenon locally, right up to introducing those winning hackers to venture capitalists and kick-start their idea.

MDEC will also be launching the ASEAN Digital Analytics eXchange (ADAX) office that will help cater to start-ups looking to get personalized assistance and run diagnostics or garner advice through the experts provided at the office.

It’s become ever clearer as the technology and digital age grow in globalisation, that the individual is becoming a force to be reckoned with. Through the internet, one person is able to affect tremendous change by having a good idea. With the right guidance now provided both as open source and through local governments, more opportunities are available to the general public to affect change and create a better tomorrow.