An online hackathon at the Life360 hackathon ended up costing more than it was worth.
The $30-a-person hackathon for the Life 360 group of schools in the United States ended up losing more than half of its $10,000-a.head purse in less than two weeks, the company said Monday.
“It’s the biggest hackathon in the world,” said founder and CEO Matthew Barbell, who organized the event, which is designed to encourage people to think differently about their digital life.
“And for that, I’m very proud of it.”
Barbell said the event was meant to be a celebration of innovation.
But when organizers realized it would cost more to host the event than they expected, they decided to go ahead with the event and host it online instead, he said.
“We figured we could do it online, but it was a bit more expensive to do that and also we didn’t want to lose the opportunity to connect with our students online.”
The event, sponsored by Life360, had about 400 people in attendance and was hosted by the nonprofit company LiveConnect, which Barbell co-founded with other partners.
LiveConnect has also run the Life3D hackathon.
“I don’t think we had a very good response to this event,” Barbell told the Financial Post, adding that he and his co-founders thought they had created something unique and memorable.
“Our students and our employees, they wanted to participate, and I think that was one of the reasons we chose to run it online,” he said, explaining that the hackathon was more about giving people the opportunity for self-expression than about selling product.
The event was held at a private school in Atlanta.
The website LiveConnect announced the event in October, which led to a flurry of online fundraising.
But the event only received $1,300 in donations and only had a few thousand people registered to participate.
At the time, the event had only received about $10K in funding.
The hackathon did not have a direct connection to the school’s campus, which was located in nearby Ponce, according to LiveConnect.
Barbell and his partners were also asked to remove the names of people participating from the event.
They also had to provide the names and phone numbers of people who had signed up for a ticket to the event or could be reached via email, LiveConnect said in a statement.
“To make this a more transparent event, we removed all information from the website about who had attended and who could attend, including names, addresses, social media handles and email addresses,” the company added.
LiveAlerts, a company that sells tickets to live events and hosts the hackathons, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Barbs’ partners and the company have been criticized by other hackathon organizers who have criticized LiveAlert for selling tickets that are not sold out, including organizers of the Boston Marathon.
Livealert has also been criticized for failing to notify organizers that they would be selling tickets online at the same time as the event so that they could get in on the action, according a report from Mashable.
The company is trying to raise $10 million to run the hack in 2018, but has raised about $5 million to date.
Live365, a social network that hosts the Boston hackathon, did receive $7.5 million from LiveAlert, according, the Boston Globe.
Barbers, who is the founder of Life360 and a former Google employee, told the Boston Herald that he thought the hack was a positive step toward encouraging people to rethink the digital world and the ways they interact with it.
“This was one that I thought was going to be kind of fun, but I didn’t think that it would be as impactful as it turned out,” Barbers said.
He added that he was encouraged by how quickly the hack reached its goal, and that he hoped it would become more popular.
“At least in this age of social media and video, I think we’re kind of in a golden age right now of getting people to change their habits, and this is just one example of how we can change the world for the better,” he added.