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The Earnin Hackathon: An Opportunity for Creativity

August 27, 2020

At Earnin, we understand that great ideas come from anywhere, which is why we set aside time for employees to create and develop new projects that they’re passionate about. Last month, we hosted our first fully virtual Hackathon! For those that don’t know, the Hackathon is an opportunity for employees to explore out-of-the-box ideas, and then spend company-sponsored time to build out those ideas with a team behind them. With the new iOS 14 features just announced at the 2020 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference and Android 11 release by Google, hosting the Hackathon at the end of July was the perfect time for Engineers to experiment with new features and come up with innovative solutions.

What Went On During the Hackathon

Before the Hackathon, we held a Meet and Greet Day, where the team leads gave a short pitch on their idea in hopes of gathering potential teammates and getting people excited. All in all, we had 58 participants and 19 demos. Once the teams were set, they were given a full day to flesh out and work on their ideas. Three days later, we had our Demo Day, the time when every team presented their project and showed off the work they’ve done!

Judging and Productization

After the demo presentations, our executive judges decided on the top three winners based on creativity, demo quality, potential impact, and presentation. Upon review, the judges liked the demos so much that they ended up creating several additional awards: Best Presenter, Best Productivity, Best Craftsmanship, and Best Innovation. Even better, the leadership team was originally only going to commit to one project, but they liked so many of them that we will be productizing 30% of the projects!

Challenges of Hosting a Virtual Hackathon

Being that this was our first virtual Hackathon, it did come with some challenges. Most of the excitement of a typical Hackathon comes from in-person interaction and festivities. It was also a struggle for some team leads to find teammates solely through Slack, our online communication channel. Even with these challenges, teams created amazing demos.

Tips and Tricks for Hosting a Virtual Hackathon

For those looking to host their own virtual Hackathon event, we have a few tips and tricks to help drive engagement and make the event better for everyone. First things first, clearly communicate to everyone that a Hackathon is coming. People can’t get excited for a Hackathon if they don’t know that’s actually happening. Secondly, always include swag to incorporate something more tangible associated with Hackathon, and to drive company spirit. For teams, since the Hackathon is only a day, it can be useful to have a Video conferencing line open throughout the day to make it feel like everyone is working together in an office environment. Teams can also create Slack channels early to bounce ideas off of each other prior to the actual Hack Day.

Future Improvements

In order to improve future Hackathon events, we sent out a survey to all the participants and received some valuable feedback and suggestions. Many suggested that we extend the Hackathon from one day to multiple days or a week, even potentially starting on a Friday so people can continue to iterate over the weekend. Another awesome suggestion was to have an overarching theme for the ‘Hack Week’ to give a framework of what ideas to come up with.

If you’re an engineer looking for a mission-driven company that cares about cultivating creativity and is willing to invest in your out-of-the-box ideas, join Earnin. See our open roles here.


Photo by: Ameen Fahmy

1Restrictions and/or third party fees may apply,, see Earnin.com/TOS for details.

2Disclaimer: Balance Shield cash out is subject to your available earnings and daily pay period max. Other restrictions and/or third party fees may apply. For more information visit Earnin.com/TOS.

3NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Must be 18 years of age or older and a legal resident of the U.S. or DC. Games begin each Sunday starting 12/6/20 at 9:01 p.m. ET and end the following Monday at 9:00 p.m. ET with the last Game ending 12/19/21. To download the App, view the Official Rules, odds disclosures, prize details, and alternate means of entry, visit https://www.earnin.com/wewin/. Void where prohibited. $10,000,000 grand prize payable over 29 years. Sponsor: Activehours, Inc. (d/b/a Earnin), 200 Portage Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306.

4Disclaimer: Up to 2 days early is based on comparison with traditional banks. Exact timing is dependent on your employer's payroll policies. For more information on eligibility and requirements of Earnin Express, visit Earnin.com/TOS.

5Source: Internal analysis conducted by Earnin on December 10, 2020.

1Restrictions on use of Services and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for details.

2Balance Shield cash out is subject to your available earnings and daily pay period max. Other restrictions and/or third party fees may apply. For more information visit Earnin.com/TOS.

3Tip Yourself Account funds are held with Evolve Bank & Trust, Member FDIC and FDIC insured up to $250,000. Tip Yourself is a 0% APY and $0 monthly fee service. Other restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for details.

1Lightning Speed may not be available to all Community Members. Cash Outs may take up to thirty minutes, actual transfer speeds will depend on your bank connection. Restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for details.

2Restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for details.

3Balance Shield cash out is subject to your available earnings and your daily pay period max. Other restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for details.

4NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Must be 18 years of age or older and a legal resident of the U.S. or DC. Games begin each Sunday starting 12/6/20 at 9:01 p.m. ET and end the following Monday at 9:00 p.m. ET with the last Game ending 12/19/21. To download the App, view the Official Rules, odds disclosures, prize details, and alternate means of entry, visit WeWin Game & Sweepstakes Official Rules. Void where prohibited. $10,000,000 grand prize payable over 29 years. Sponsor: Activehours, Inc. (d/b/a Earnin), 200 Portage Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306.

5Tip Yourself Account funds are held with Evolve Bank & Trust, Member FDIC and FDIC insured up to $250,000. Tip Yourself is a 0% Annual Percentage Yield and $0 monthly fee service. Your Tip Yourself Account and any Tip Jars are not Savings Accounts. For more information/details visit Earnin.com/TOS.

6Up to two days early is based on comparison with traditional banks. Exact timing is dependent on your employer’s payroll policies. For more information on eligibility and requirements of Earnin Express, visit Earnin.com/TOS.

7Your Max on Earnin Express is up to 80% of your payroll or $1000, whichever is less. The 80% is dependent on you routing your full paycheck to Earnin Express. For more information on eligibility and requirements of Earnin Express, visit Earnin.com/TOS.

8Learn how we collect and use your information by visiting our Privacy Policy.

1Disclaimer: Restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for more details. Lightning Speed may not be available to all Community Members. Cash Outs may take up to thirty minutes, actual transfer speeds will depend on your bank connection.

2Disclaimer: Lightning Speed may not be available to all Community Members. Cash Outs may take up to thirty minutes, actual transfer speeds will depend on your bank connection. Restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for details

3Disclaimer: Community Member must have had at least 1 successful debit with Earnin. Limit to 1 Max Boost per pay period. A boost will not adjust a Community member's daily max. Restrictions may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for more details

*Disclaimer: Balance Shield Cash Out is subject to your available earnings and daily pay period max.Other restrictions and/or thirdparty fees may apply. For more information visit Earnin.com/TOS

1Restrictions may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for more details. Tip Yourself Account funds are held with Evolve Bank & Trust, member FDIC and FDIC insured up to $250,000. Tip Yourself is a 0% Annual Percentage Yield and $0 monthly fee service. Your Tip Yourself Account and any Tip Jars are not Savings Accounts. For more information/details visit Earnin.com/TOS

2Disclaimer: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Must be 18 years of age or older and a legal resident of the U.S. or DC. Games begin each Sunday starting 12/6/20 at 9:01 p.m. ET and end the following Monday at 9:00 p.m. ET with the last Game ending 12/19/21. To download the App, view the Official Rules, odds disclosures, prize details, and alternate means of entry, visit https://www.Earnin.com/wewin/game-rules/. Void where prohibited. $10,000,000 grand prize payable over 29 years. Sponsor: Activehours, Inc. (d/b/a Earnin), 200 Portage Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306.

3Disclaimer: Restrictions Apply. See Earnin.com/wewin/pool-rules/ for more information

*Disclaimer: Up to 2 days early is based on comparison with traditional banks. Exact timing is dependent on your employer's payroll policies. For more information on eligibility and requirements of Earnin Express, visit Earnin.com/TOS.

**Disclaimer: Restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for more details. Lightning Speed may not be available to all Community Members. Cash Outs may take up to thirty minutes, actual transfer speeds will depend on your bank connection.

*Survey conducted in February 2020 with 889 participants.

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