Zillow has opened registration for its second annual HBCU Housing Hackathon for students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The hackathon will be held in partnership with United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and Amplify 4 Good with the goal of helping HBCU students develop critical tech and business skills as they compete for nearly $90,000 in cash and prizes, while also gaining the opportunity to interview for paid internships.
The hackathon starts September 9th and is a week-long virtual competition. According to Zillow, the students will learn about the real estate industry, Zillow offerings, housing data, and various application programming interfaces. They will then work together in their teams to develop and pitch tech solutions to help consumers overcome obstacles on their journey to find a home. At the end of the challenge, team finalists will pitch their solutions to a panel of judges with includes Zillow vice president Eric Bailey and Watch The Yard founder and CEO, Jonathan Rabb, with top teams receiving cash and prizes for themselves and their universities.
The first-place team will receive a $20,000 cash award, split among its members, and Zillow will donate $25,000 to its school’s computer science program. Second- and third-place teams will receive $12,000 and $6,000 cash awards, respectively. Students from the top three teams also will receive new laptops and textbook gift cards. All eligible hackathon participants interested in a role at Zillow will have an opportunity to interview for an internship.
Teams can have as many as four members, and although registration is open to HBCU students in any degree program, each team must have at least two members enrolled in computer science, computer engineering or a related program. Students interested in participating in the Zillow HBCU Housing Hackathon should visit www.zillowhbcuhackathon.com to learn more and register.
Last year’s Zillow HBCU Housing Hackathon drew 150 students, representing 17 HBCUs. A team of four Morehouse College students won first place and a $20,000 prize for creating “Reliby,” an app that uses machine learning to predict increases in rent and utility costs at a specific address over time, thus giving renters early warning about looming affordability challenges.
Zillow also donated $25,000 to Morehouse College’s computer science program as part of the first-place prize.
Chad Womack, Ph.D., vice president of National STEM Programs and Initiatives at UNCF, will be on the panel of judges for the HBCU Housing Hackathon. Womack also co-founded Black Tech Ventures, a venture tech firm created to empower African American tech innovators and startup entrepreneurs, with a focus on fostering an entrepreneurial mindset on HBCU campuses.
“The UNCF is proud to be back for a second year, partnering with Zillow on such an impactful program for our students,” said Womack. “Our HBCU campus connections allow us to reach students who may not otherwise consider such a challenge. We’re working to diversify the talent within STEM industries, and programs like Zillow’s HBCU Housing Hackathon help us do just that.”
Registration for the hackathon closes Sept. 6.
To learn more and register, visit www.zillowhbcuhackathon.com.