Twilio Checks In at the Foursquare Global Hackathon

I entered General Assembly at 10 AM on the morning of September 17, 2011 in full Twilio regalia, ready to get hacking with the crème de la crème of Foursquare developers. To my amazement, up on the projector screen was a live feed of the in-progress hackathons overseas in Tokyo and Paris. Akshay and the Foursquare team set things off with the ground-rules, some brief demos, and the hack pitches. There were teams working on games, CRMs and everything in between. Regardless of their projects, the passion of these hackers was clear – they were here to meet awesome people, learn something new, and build slick apps on an even slicker platform.

After a solid 30 hours of hacking and a rush to submit their apps to the Foursquare database, the demos began. First, we were shown the awesome people’s choice winners from Tokyo and Paris, who had finished their hackathons hours before New York due to the time difference. New York produced a solid showing of about 30 hacks, including some awesome Twilio hacks. After some brief deliberation and tallying of the votes, the New York people’s choice winners were announced: PlaceFace, DigiDJ, and How _____ are you?

Grand Prize Winners

Foursquare Global Hackday belt

Over the course of the next week, the Twilio team and Foursquare team deliberated on the best global hacks using their APIs. Foursquare announced their global Grand Prize winner on Wednesday: Plan your next trip, who will be receiving the awesome title belt and having dinner with Foursquare Co-Founder Naveen. The two grand prize runners-up were Sqavenger and Intersquares, who will be featured on a brand new Platformer Badge.

Twilio + Foursquare Mashups

The top global Twilio + Foursquare mashups were difficult to pick given the amazing pool of entries that we saw, but we eventually decided on the following apps:

Grand Prize Winner – VenueMachine

VenueMachine is a hack built by Barnaby Malet and Namit Chadha that lets venue managers monitor their locations and receive an SMS notification if an influential person checks in, determined by their Klout score. It literally tells you when your favorite blogger is drinking your kool-aid so that you can get out of the kitchen and pitch them with your latest idea. What really stood out about this app was how polished it was. VenueMachine is fully functional, well-designed, and has a deeply thought out website. Congratulations on your prize, a meeting with Union Square Ventures!

Check out their demo video:


Sqavenger is not only one of our top world Twilio hacks, but also a world People’s Choice winner. It was built by Justin Hurley, Justin Zhu, Brian Martin and Rich Hong, another team with a knack for design. Their app lets you build scavenger hunts on Foursquare to play with your friends, who will all receive hints and updates via SMS. Personally, I’m looking forward to finding Blackbeard’s Treasure by following their well-laid out plan.

Check out Twilio’s interview with them:


Fourhealth, built by John Schrom and Tony Webster, helps you find healthier meal options at restaurants you check into. They also chart your progress, helping you keep track of your food choices and even suggesting healthier alternatives via SMS if you check in to an unhealthy restaurant.


BimbimbapBimbimbab, one of the New York People’s Choice Winners, is another beautiful app that enables users to raise money and awareness for their cause through community pledges. It helps keep track of your goals through Foursquare, collects pledges with Venmo, and sends updates using Twilio. The awesome thing about this app is that it actually monitors your goals for you using Foursquare. For example, if you pledge to read more, it wont hit your friends up for donations until you’ve checked into the library 10 times.


Postsquare, built by Chris Bennett and Kyle Patterson, helps businesses keep track of their customers using Foursquare and Twilio. It produces powerful analytics on your customers, notifying you of your top visitors and most active consumers, notifying you via Twilio so that you can engage them and help your business grow.

Thanks to all of the hackers who came out to build awesome Twilio and Foursquare apps and a huge thanks to Akshay and the Foursquare team for putting on an awesome event, great job!

Feel free to contact me at any time to tell me about your awesome hacks at or @jonmarkgo on Twitter.