InterTech announces LGBT events app Owt as winner of gay hackathon

PinkNews logo on pink background with rainbow corners.

Owt, a mobile app providing an alternative source of LGBT events to “non-stop cheesy pop gay bars,” has been crowned the winner of Europe’s first gay hackathon.

The app, which was created by Daniel Wynne-Powell and Oliver Jones, won the award courtesy of InterTech in Facebook’s London offices.

The event was backed by Microsoft, Google, Dell and Facebook as well as various LGBT organistions including PinkNews.

InterTech, the cross-industry LGBT network and winner of the PinkNews Business Network of the Year award, brought together 30 developers who worked to build seven products ranging from a geo-location community listings guide to a gay-themed platformer video game.

The winners wanted to find a solution to the “non-stop cheesy pop gay bars” and do something different to help the LGBT community.

The system collates all of the LGBT events from sports to politics currently occurring in London with the aim of it being rolled out internationally.

It was developed by in collaboration with members of a Soho based IT outsourcing company.

The judging panel consisted of London Assembly Member Tom Copley, Facebook engineer Alice Lieutier, PinkNews and Clarity PR director Benjamin Cohen, and Alex Woods, the editor of TechCityNews.

The runner-up app, Talk-To-Sam, is a real-time chat solution for LGBT support organisations, which helps them to extend their reach while reducing costs.

Developed by Yalin Solmaz and Sharif Salah, it works as a Chrome plugin helping vulnerable people to safely connect online to the help they need.

Facebook engineer Jackson Gabbard said: “One of Facebook’s company goals is to make the world more open and connected. I’m really excited to have facilitated and participated in and event where tried to solve problems that prevent people from being who they are.

“InterTech has done an amazing job of pulling together a group of talented people under the banner of improving the world for LGBT people. Facebook has always been a strong supporter of LGBT causes and it makes me really proud we’ve continued this at our London office.”

Also speaking at the event, Labour Assembly Member Tom Copley said: “This event represents two of the outstanding features of London- it represents how tolerant and opening city we are to people regardless of their sexual orientation and it also represents that we are now one of the tech capitals of the world.

“I’m so pleased that we are here at Facebook to build these great applications.”

Welcoming the hackathon, Helen Grant, the UK Minister for Equalities said: “The Internet has revolutionised the way that people get information and connect with others. I congratulate InterTech and Facebook for having held this event.

“It is fantastic to see large companies are coming together to design devices and services that that could enhance the lives of LGBT people across the world.”