Starter Space Launches Regional Hackathon

The O’Connell Center will be the location for Starter Space’s first hackathon. The hackathon will be free to college students throughout the Southeast with interests in IT. Starter Space has visions of turning this event into the biggest event in the region and plans to expand it nationwide. Launchpad 2014, the hackathon, will be held Nov. 8 and Nov. 9.

Alejandro Ruperti, the project manager, is reaching out to universities from South Carolina to Miami. Launchpad will feature potential sponsors, speakers and judges who will be announced at Participants from the universities will form teams to build software or hardware products that they will pitch to a panel of judges to win a cash prize. Launchpad will differ from other hackathons by providing donated legal and mentoring services to winning teams. One of Gainesville local companies, SpinChill, came up with their beer-chilling device at the AngelHack ATL hackathon. Ruperti believes Launchpad will showcase Gainesville as a regional hub of talent and innovation. 

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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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