How these ‘Hackathon Wizards’ are Nurturing Future Technopreneurs in India?
“We’ll build a company together after college!” Remember having this discussion with your college friend but never got a chance to do something about it?
Well, one duo stuck to their promise.
They are neighbors, best friends, and alumni of the same college- University College of Engineering, Trivandrum, University of Kerala.
Throughout their college years, they did some cool things. Together, they built a team, created blockchain-based solutions, shone across global hackathons, and became the ‘talk of the town’. Then, life happened, and they signed up for full-time jobs.
But their full-time jobs couldn’t compel them to give up on their vision and today, they are nurturing the future generation of technopreneurs in India.
Meet Ananthan and Azhar- the brains behind AbleAlly
Like regular first-year students, Azhar & Ananthan also went to college with hopes to get practical exposure and grow their hands-on skills. Ananthan was coding from the age of 13 while still in school and Azhar was fascinated with design from his school days.
In their first year itself, they realized they’ll have to break a sweat themselves due to lack of practical exposure and opportunities in college.
So, Azhar and Ananthan started looking for options and eventually found the exciting world of Hackathons.
And Team AbleAlly aced the ‘Hackathon Game’ throughout their college years.
Throughout the college years, AbleAlly participated in several hackathons. They were runner ups in global hackathons organized by prestigious organizations like Babel Cover, DORAHACKS, NASSCOM, International Blockchain Congress, TCS and Allianz.
“We were introduced to Blockchain right before our first hackathon. And it made sense — we wanted to learn, experiment and solve real-life problems using technology.” — Ananthan
Together, they built their first tech team consisting of five people — Azhar took care of Product Design & UX, Adarsh Ratna JS, Vignesh Gopan & Sharath Vinod took care of the frontend/backend coding while Ananthan took care of the strategy and management.
That’s how AbleAlly was born.
AbleAlly ideated three production-ready blockchain projects for hackathons- a blockchain-based certificate issuing validation system for universities (BIoCERT), a smart health care system powered by hyperledger fabric and a compliance management system.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t continue with the product development due to personal commitments after college.
But the desire of making an impact in real-life kept tinkering their minds. And when the whole world went into lockdown, they started thinking again, leading to a moment of epiphany…
“The first time we participated in a hackathon, we didn’t know what to do exactly. We want to change that for aspiring technopreneurs in India” -Ananthan “A lot goes into building a tech team for developing a product according to hackathon specifications. Then there are compliances, preparations, guidelines, and processes that one needs to keep in mind if one wants to participate in a national or international hackathon,” — Azhar
The idea was close to home -building a guiding ecosystem that they couldn’t find through their college years.
With AbleAlly, the duo wants to encourage students for building their teams, participating in hackathons and creating tech startups that cater to real-life problems in India.
Students don’t get sufficient practical exposure which leads to a gap between what the industry needs, and the student is taught. Hackathons are a great way to work on real projects and get much-needed practical exposure and recognition. Ananthan & Azhar want students to broaden their outlook and think beyond getting a job. They hope to motivate engineering students towards creating solutions and generating employment for others, rather than looking for employment opportunities, themselves. Through all this, they envision creating a generation of technopreneurs in India who solve real-life problems and contribute to the #AtmanirbharBharat mission (self-reliant India). AbleAlly prepares students to #GetReadyForHackathons and helps them become a technopreneur. Azhar Sham
About AbleAlly’s Founders
Ananthakrishnan U S (Ananthan)
A full-time software developer, Azhar has a keen interest and sharp eye for design & UX. After passing out from UCEK, he works at a Leading MNC in Trivandrum. He was a proactive member of Students Developer Club during his college where he built AbleAlly along with Ananthan. He specializes in Design Systems and Blockchain Technology.
Ananthakrishnan started coding while still in school and his obsession took him to the world of Hackathons. His strong management skills and execution capabilities made him a Team Manager for several hackathon events for his team.
His keen interest in project ideation, blockchain technology and expertise in prototyping helped the AbleAlly team to present and ace several national and international hackathon events. He went on to consult several startups in education sphere after his college as an independent consultant along with working in a full-time role.
Resources & Links
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Originally published at https://blog.bizlitesolutions.com on February 23, 2021.