Skip to content

Startup Hackathon - Z Hacks 2020

Z Hacks logo

This year, we partnered with Santa Cruz Works to bring you Z HACKS 2020

In the inaugural year for Z Hacks hackathon, in the midst of the pandemic, fires, social injustice, and cracks in US democracy, we were stunned by the massive response. 370+ participants from 9 different countries created 64 projects. All participants are attending school (K-12, college). Z Hacks 2020 closed with 62 team projects by 378 participants from all over the world.

There were three categories for prizes, Pandemic, Environment, and Social Justice. There were also bonus prizes for Think Care Act and Get Virtual. Below are the winners you can view all the submitted projects at Z Hacks 2020 Project Gallery.

Congratulations to this year's winners!

People's Choice

Love is Love

This poster is the first of many posters that could be made to promote LGBTQ rights and to create an inclusive environment to students in today's schools, beyond being inclusive to only their cultural backgrounds. As a school counselor in training, I would promote this poster and others in my office and lessons, as possible, to promote these issues. It can be made as part of a lesson plan for school counselors, educators, etc. as a visual supplement to diversity, anti-discrimination, anti-bullying, etc. lesson plans. Posters such as these can be displayed during important LGBTQ history months and dates. Using digital imaging programs, such as Photoshop, it can be edited and built upon for personalizing purposes.

divider bar

Social Justice Category Winners:


The prolific Wang sisters and brother won People's Choice at Cruz Hacks 2020, and then they win at Z Hacks 2020. THis project was inspired by rare disease their brother has. The call-to-action for young people to help others is heart warming and brilliant.


A spoken work (video) about equality of rights and privilege of Democracy. People: black, white, red, brown, poor, rich, singers, stutters, Christians, Muslims, Atheists. Everyone.


A platform which is basically built for the deaf and mute people to help them in communicating and making their online classes interactive.

divider bar 2

Environment Category Winners:


NutriGreen is a revolutionary lifestyle platform designed to help you pursue healthy eating habits while striving to care for the environment. Essentially, NutriGreen combines a useful dieting tool with environmental consciousness seamlessly in one application.


Floods are one of the most dangerous and frequent natural disasters in the world. This is a web app that uses advanced machine learning algorithms to predict future floods based on weather forecast data - precipitation, wind speed, humidity, temperature, maximum temperature, cloud cover - while allowing users to effectively visualize current and upcoming floods.


Food shortages during COVID-19? BigFridge is an app where individuals can contribute to the macro planning of food supply by providing information of what they have in their own household stocks and what they will need in the coming months. When all food stock is gathered in the BigFridge’s pool, Big Data is provided to food producers, big grocery chains and local governments.

3rd page divider

Pandemic Category Winners:


According to a study, there is a surge in global online education in response to COVID-19. JustLearn is a platform for passionate volunteers who have experience in a certain skillset to upload their classes to our platform. It is also a platform for those who have lost their jobs to learn and equip themselves with new skills relevant to jobs that they are interested in.


KAYR drew inspiration from the care-mongering movement that grew around the world in light of COVID-19. KAYR provides a platform to connect those who want to help with those who need it. It provides a user interface that is much cleaner than Facebook threads or social media , allowing for users to easily post when they want to offer help or need a hand, filter across these posts & communicate with those that may be a match.

Back to School

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, school is now online. One problem with having school online is taking attendance as it is tedious and takes quite some time especially for university classes with lots of students. This app uses facial recognition network that identifies who is attending a meeting. The time and the person’s name is then inputted to a database where teachers can easily see who came on time to class and who didn't by accessing the data base.

4th page divider

Think Care Act Category Winners:


With this app, you can create a diary (BEST/WORST) event and evaluate yourself based on characteristics provided and now down how you can use your best self to work on your worst self. It gives you an overall outlook score based on the responses you provided it with.

Think Care Act App

“We have used the best and worst exercise and turned it into a beautiful app, HHH’s work was really inspiring to make this app really intuitive and easy to use.” Team Wizard

Peer Rate

This is an implementation of the idea #1 of Think Care Act. It allows peers to evaluate each other. User could host a room, give the room code to his friend, and after they all entered that room, they could evaluate each other through a drag and drop UI.

5th page divider

Get Virtual


COVID-19 has been on a rampage all across the globe since the past 5 months. From less than a million cases in February, and currently having more than 10 million cases across the globe. With increasing reach of technology, relevant information can be extracted from concerned authorities. This information can be used in resource allocation to balance load on various authorities. Providing information can keep people informed about the current scenario and have a calming effect. CareQuest aims to bring order to the chaos caused by COVID-19. To do so, CareQuest services extracts information from its custom network of registered hospitals and government sources which is used in resource allocation and service recommendation with the aim of load balancing.

6th page divider

Contract Community

Peer Rate

This is an implementation of the idea #1 of Think Care Act. It allows peers to evaluate each other. User could host a room, give the room code to his friend, and after they all entered that room, they could evaluate each other through a drag and drop UI.

Hackathon team discusses and works together.
Hackathon team displays project.
Hackathon pitches
Hackathon teammates work together
Hackathon teammates work together
Hackathon team displays project.
Close up of Hackathon Project
Professors discuss at Hackathon

Startup Hackathon 2019 Winners

1st Place


Winning team: Res-Q

We created a nonprofit startup, Res-Q, that will solve these issues in two ways: First, it will connect evacuees to pre-existing medical resources and disaster relief organizations like the American Red Cross. However, since not everyone wants to live in these overcrowded communal living spaces after a catastrophe, we wanted to provide victims with an alternative. That is why our primary focus is to connect them to nearby businesses that will offer discounts and benefits to verifiable evacuees. Businesses that are screened by and registered with Res-Q have several incentives. First, and most importantly, these companies can contribute to easing the financial and physical discomfort of victims. This is an opportunity for corporate benevolence and community involvement. But they also can grow their customer base, increase revenue, and receive tax write-offs.

The Application will display a map of resources available for shleter, food, medical services and other benefits for affected people displaced from natural disasters. Users will be able to login and verify their Address as being inside the affected areas. The verification will be shown to businesses and vendors along with their state IDs to make it easy to determine who is an affected person.

2nd Place - It's a tie!


2nd place team: Sprig

Sprig makes it easy to participate in the green movement by effortlessly helping you select a native tree species fit to your planting site, directing you to a nursery who can provide the sapling, and instructing you in planting the tree.

Sprig will run on your smartphone device and automatically use your location to filter appropriate species and require minimal user input to refine the search to trees which are most suited to your environment.

Map the Crime

2nd place team: Map the Crime by Jakkd

The Map the Crime app by Jakkd essentially uses google maps to show our users a map of the area with an overlaid heat map of salinas that shows where in the city the crime rates are higher so that users can route safer walking paths.

Institute for Innovation and Economic Development

(831) 582-3230