AUSTIN, Texas —This June Pride Month, leaders in the Austin tech scene are doing their part to further LGBTQ inclusion in the industry.
Chris Velado’s team is developing what they refer to as “the queer Yelp.”
"Highlighting places that are friendly for whatever bathroom you want to use, if they’re going to service to same- sex couples, has there been any appropriate touching for women? These are various things that we think about in the LGTBQ [community] that play a factor, and so we want to expose that," Velado said.
More than 150 people from around the world took part in the hackathon this weekend. HomeAway is a leader in the vacation rental industry, with more than 2 million unique places to stay globally.
"We believe that you can’t have innovation without diversity. "It’s absolutely one of the crucial components that you need in order to come up with fresh ideas and in order to serve different customers from around the world," said HomeAway’s Christina Song.
In less than 72 hours, participants get to learn what it takes to turn thoughts into tangible businesses. By working with others, meeting founders, and having mentors, participants experience developing a business plan, networking, and raising startup funding. Some participants said beyond the technical skills, the event provides a safe space to share ideas, compared to other hackathons.
"They basically thought that their idea would be made fun of at a regular hackathon, because of what their idea was about. So, they didn’t feel like sharing it," said Brandon Monsees.
But that was not the case Sunday. Monsees’ team is trying to close the skills gap when it comes to finding employment.
"It makes me feel like I’m a part of something bigger than myself. It’s definitely helped me branch out more," said Monsees.
Startup Weekend HackOut is being organized in partnership with Techstars, StartOut and Lesbians Who Tech.