Microsoft Internal Hackathon with Seattle Accelerator Startup Rallyteam
We’ve said it before: startups accepted into our accelerator programs gain access to top mentors, tech and marketing experts, office space, and numerous other valuable resources.
But one of the more exciting benefits for startups participating in the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator is the ability to collaborate with engineering teams at Microsoft. Rallyteam is one of 14 startups currently in the Seattle cohort—their product is a service that enables companies to match employee skillsets to projects in order to foster employee development, networking, and leveraging of existing skills.
Liane Scult, Community PM on the CXO team and responsible for the ASG chapter of The Garage is our Microsoft sponsor for Rallyteam and used their service recently for a Hackathon event. Hackathons are fun and dynamic, but not without challenges. So we tried out a new tactic to match projects with the right hackers. Rallyteam deployed a Microsoft-internal version of their service and integrated it with Active Directory to help people form diverse teams organically, allowing them to work with people outside their workgroup or location. Teams were encouraged to recruit a mix of disciplines from Engineering, UX, Design, and Business Development. We got some great participant feedback: “I really enjoyed the integration of Rallyteam, it brought out a different side of collaborative hacking that's usually hidden. Making opportunities available and teams easy to join were very refreshing, as the usual hackathons I've attended tend to niche up and have people cluster with their colleagues.”
Rallyteam enabled teams to find people with the skillsets they needed to complete their hack challenges: “Our team was able to connect with and find resources to further the concept, as the idea was outside of the scope of our own engineering team. This would have been much harder to accomplish […] as we lacked the means to reach a wider audience outside of our immediate org.”
So what did Rallyteam get out of the deal? Tons of user feedback. Huan Ho, founder and CTO, is grateful for all of the input—“it’s a great opportunity for us to get our product in front of customers and get all these great suggestions and feedback.”
We’ll continue to try new ways to connect people, extend their network, vet their ideas, build their business cases, find the right contacts to help with their projects, and support them as best we can to turn their ideas into realities. Meeting up, training, and network-building is the essence of The Garage year-round. And working with startups from the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator programs is certainly one path we’ll continue to explore!
Rallyteam is currently in Beta and is offering a select number of innovative companies a spot in their pilot program. If you are interested, please email email@example.com for more information.