• Harshil Garg

Co-Founders Interviewed By CBS at MissionHacks

On October 5, 2019, the Co-Founders of 18Tech Ventures, Arnav Joshi, and Nikhil Sharma, were interviewed by KPIX CBS SF Bay Area News Station for receiving a Jefferson Award for promoting technology innovation through their work at 18Tech Ventures. Joshi and Sharma, along with Harshil Garg, the Director of Outreach at 18Tech Ventures, attended MissionHacks, a 12-hour hackathon in Santa Clara, CA, and the interview took place at the event. According to MissionHacks organizer Mihit Shukla, “18Tech was a huge help, they helped us raise a significant amount of money and provided very quick and helpful support. Working with them was a pleasure!”

CBS Anchor, Sharon Chin, interviewed Joshi and Sharma, along with MissionHacks Executive Director, Yash Jain, and a hackathon participant, Grace Huang.

Huang told CBS, “I get to freely create something that I like fall in love with and design something that uses my computer science skills,” and Huang was able to create a project about neighborhood crime security at the event as well as the various hackathons she has attended. Now, Huang serves as the Director of Operations for FrontierHacks, a 24-hour hackathon in San Francisco.

Jain told Chin, “As high school students, I found it really impressive that they were able to create such a large-scale organization that’s so successful,” and Jain, a sophomore at Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward, CA, plans on organizing another hackathon, PiHacks, to be taking place on Pi Day (3/14) in 2020.

Sharma told, “There’s a lot of college hackathons … there were a lot students 18-and-under who weren’t getting the same opportunities.” Joshi and Sharma met at The Harker School in San Jose, CA, in their freshman year of high school, and they have attended many hackathons in the area. Joshi noted, “Our main goal is to inspire innovation,” and Joshi continues to help other students organize hackathons, and he also helps hackathon participants further develop their ideas. Sharma and Joshi organized their high-school’s hackathon, HarkerHacks, in June 2018, but upon realizing the difficulties of organizing the event, they started 18Tech Ventures. After realizing that it’s not only difficult for the hackathon organizers to run their event but also difficult for hackathon attendees to further develop their ideas into the real world after the event, 18Tech Ventures started its startup track in late 2018, where it helps some enthusiastic students further develop, patent, and launch their ideas into the real world.

Organizer Hridhay Monangi mentioned, “They gave us advice on how to run the event and how to go about sponsorships.” Additionally, organizer Gokul Narayan noted, “They helped us raise a significant amount of money and even came to the event to make everything run smoothly.”

Shukla, Monangi, and Narayan are sophomores at Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, CA, and after running their first event, MissionHacks, which proved to be really successful, they plan on organizing another hackathon called HorizonHacks.

Garg mentioned, “I was really proud at how much devotion these organizers had to their event, and I was really glad at how well only four sophomores were able to organize such a successful event.” Garg, a sophomore at the Harker School in San Jose, CA, continues to help run hackathons throughout the world, along with Joshi, Sharma, and the rest of the 18Tech Ventures team.

18Tech Ventures later realized that there exist so many high-school hackathons, but there is no competitive aspect that unifies all of these events into a single tournament. They realized that there is no motivation for hackathon attendees to attend multiple events. Therefore, 18Tech Ventures started the US Hackathon League, a tournament of independent high-school hackathons throughout the nation in which participants are awarded a certain number of points based on how many events they attend within the league, and how well their project is at each event. Garg along with Arun Sundaresan are the Co-Commissioners for the US Hackathon League, and 18Tech Ventures Director of Marketing, Sinaya Joshi, is the Director of Marketing for the US Hackathon League.

Overall, after helping MissionHacks run such a successful event, 18Tech Ventures aims to help run more hackathons worldwide. 18Tech Ventures believes that hackathons are great ways for innovative students to showcase their innovation and programming skills, and in the past two years, partly through support to these events from 18Tech Ventures, the number of hackathons in the San Francisco Bay Area has quadrupled. 18Tech Ventures hopes to further increase the number of hackathons and help more innovative students launch the next big technology ideas!