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Winners Take Home More than $30,000 in Prizes at Canada's Largest Competitive Hackathon Canadian Open Data Experience Presented by XMG Studio Inc. and the Government of Canada

CODE challenged participants to unlock the potential of freely available open data to solve problems and increase productivity for all Canadians

TORONTO, March 31st, 2014 /CNW/ - Friday, March 28th was a big day for budding Canadian tech entrepreneurs and innovators Carlos Saavedra and Jason Ernst as they walked away with the OpenText Grand Prize at the Canadian Open Data Experience (CODE). As one of 15 teams from across Canada invited to the Grand Finale, Saavedra and Ernst pitched their submission newRoots to a panel of industry judges and a live audience of enthusiasts, fans and investors, and ultimately walked away with the $25,000 top prize. The Grand Finale event marked the culmination of Canada's largest competitive hackathon presented by XMG Studio Inc, a Canadian app and mobile game developer and the Government of Canada.

"I am thrilled to congratulate the finalists and the winners of Canadian Open Data Experience. The event showcased some of our great Canadian talent, and these apps demonstrate how we can unlock the potential of Open Data," said the Honourable Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board and official facilitator of CODE. 

Fostering innovation and creative use of open data, CODE awarded:

  • $25,000 for the CODE Grand Champion: Electric Sheep with newRoots. newRoots matches new Canadians with cities that will give them the greatest opportunity to maximize their potential and be successful, productive citizens of Canada. Learn more about newRoots here.
  • $5,000 for the CODE Runner Up: Team Quantified with the submission A Healthier Commute. A Healthier Commute provides users with personalized and specific feedback about the costs of their daily commute, calculated with open data and Google APIs, to encourage people to consider ways to improve their trip to work. Learn more about A Healthier Commute here.
  • $1,000 for third placed team SYLM with the application Deep Breath. Deep Breath displays air quality data from local monitoring stations and nearby large facilities emitting pollutants for given locations. Learn more about Deep Breath here.
  • $1,000 for the CODE Fan Favourite as determined by an open voting on the CODE website, was also awarded to Electric Sheep with newRoots.

The goal of the Grand Finale was to connect the Canadian entrepreneurs directly to investment firms and venture capitalists to ensure their apps (or ideas) are brought to market. Investors from Extreme Venture Partners, Stem7 Capital, Royal Bank Capital Markets, Middlefield Capital Corporation, Business Development Bank of Canada, Omers Ventures and the Ontario Venture Capital Fund dotted the lively audience looking for the next big open data app. Hopes are high that a number of the top 15 teams will receive the funding needed to bring their applications to market.

Previously, the more than 900 participants had developed and submitted a staggering 110 apps to take part in this first national open data coding competition. The applications were evaluated on criteria such as the degree of innovation, the level of usefulness, art and design polish as well as the use of open data and stability, all under the theme of "Solving Problems and Increasing Productivity Through the Use of Open Data". The top 15 entries were chosen to participate in a face off in front of a panel 5 industry Judges: Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board and Official Event Facilitator of CODE; Robert Herjavec, Shark Tank TV Host and Chief Executive Officer of The Herjavec Group; James McGourlay, Senior VP, Global Customer Service OpenText; Gerri Sinclair, Corporate Director and a Strategic Innovation Consultant as well as Principal of The Gerri Sinclair Group; and Dr. Mohamed Lachemi, Provost and Vice President Academic Ryerson University. After conferring, special guest and VIP judge Tony Clement announced the winners and awarded the prizes.

As supporters of the open data movement, OpenText, IBM, OneEleven, McKinsey & Company, Google, TriNimbus and GitHub generously supported CODE and contributed to making open data innovation a reality in Canada.

For more information about the event please visit

About XMG Studio:
XMG Studio Inc. is an award-winning developer and publisher of mobile games. Founded in late 2009, XMG has developed a track record for innovation excellence in mobile gaming including the release of critically acclaimed games downloadable on your iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices. Based in Toronto, XMG is one of the largest indie mobile game studios in Canada. Named as one of the top global mobile games developers to watch by popular media, XMG is focused on providing creative expression through gameplay for all fans of fun.




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