Chicago's 1st Beacon Hackathon!


Can you seamlessly merge the physical and digital worlds?

Prove it.




#ChiBeaconHack is coming...









What is a Beacon?

Beacons are small wireless sensors that you can attach, stick, or place to any location or object. They broadcast tiny radio signals which your smartphone can receive and interpret, unlocking micro-location and contextual awareness. Apple trademarked “iBeacons” which sets a standard for hardware performance.



What can Beacons be used for?



Think personalization, coupons, engagement, way finding and proximity,



Think seat upgrades, concession stand and bathroom alerts, interactive engagements.


In The Office

Think conference room reservations, employee ice breakers, and team building exercises!


What will Chicago think of?


What do Beacons look like?


Gimbal Series 10

Gimbal Series 10


  • Uses standard CR2032 replaceable battery
  • Typical battery life of 3 months in its default configuration
  • Compatible with iBeacon™ technology
Gimbal Series 21

Gimbal Series 21


  • Typical battery life of 18 months
  • Uses four standard AA alkaline batteries
  • Internal on/off switch
  • External button and LED light for battery status
  • Compatible with iBeacon™ technology

Will Beacons be given to us?

They sure will be! Come hack on the latest Beacon technology.


YES!!! The total purse will be $3,000. Cold hard cash to the top 3 teams!


Judging Criteria

Specifics will be announced on March 6th.


Purpose and value.


Originality of idea.


Customer validation.


Completeness of app.


Eric Zabinski

Eric Zabinski

CEO, OmniChannel Digital

Eric Zabinski is the founder of OmniChannel Digital, a mobile personalization and engagement platform for grocery stores used to delight in-store shoppers via the retailer’s mobile app. He is also the founder of DermBids, a service where people can get laser tattoo removal quotes just by picture from local tattoo removal providers.

Eric is a 2013 Fellow in the Startup Leadership Program. A highly selective, 6-month world-class training program and lifetime network for outstanding founders and innovators. He has extensive experience advising clients across many types of industries ranging from small businesses to multi-billion dollar international companies.

He is a former associate board member at Chicagoland Affiliate of Susan G. Komen and was a winner of Chicago Startup Weekend 2014 – FishBit.

Chris Phenner

Brad Jaehn

VP Product, Gogo

Brad Jaehn is the VP of Product at Gogo, where he leads Product Management, User Experience, Business Development, and Front End Development. Prior to joining Gogo, Brad founded BonVoyou, a flash sale travel site featuring luxury and boutique travel products that was acquired by HauteLook in 2010. Brad has also previously held general management and product management roles in the retail space at and

Before moving into the retail space, Brad spent the last decade with leading travel technology companies including and G2 SwitchWorks. At Orbitz, Brad was an early member of the launch team and held a number of roles including director of product management and director of business operations.

During his career, Brad has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Roosevelt University, where he taught graduate courses in Internet Marketing. He is also a renowned speaker and evangelist in the local and national agile community.

Brad received his BA from Cornell University.


Anoop Tiwari

Sr. Director for Strategy,

Anoop Tiwari is Sr. Director for Strategy and Business Development team at where he was worked for past decade. His team focuses on long-term strategic planning, partnerships & alliances, M&A, competitive intelligence and internal research & analytics projects. Anoop completed MBA from Purdue University in 2005 and prior to that, he has worked in technology sales and business development in India. Anoop is a proud technology & analytics geek and gets excited about its potential impact on business and delivering value to customers and making things better. Anoop is passionate about internet and its impact on business & society.

Anoop has been active in working groups of various trade associations, sits on advisory boards for a few start-ups, and supports a non-profit focused on children’s education. When schedule permits, he enjoys reading, sketching, and poetry. Anoop lives in western suburb of Chicago with wife who is a floral designer and three year old daughter who keeps them both very busy.

Paul Simon

Outdoor Advertising Executive

Paul Simon is an entrepreneur, lawyer and business mediator. He has spent over 25 years forming, managing, and advising companies primarily in out of home advertising media, business services and commercial real estate. Paul joined billboard operator Universal Outdoor when it operated 600 signs in Chicago and Milwaukee. After an aggressive acquisition program, an IPO and other private and public equity and debt offerings, Universal operated more than 33,000 sign faces in 25 cities when it merged into Clear Channel Communications.

Later, Paul co-founded The Wall Street Journal Office Network. Currently, Paul serves as President of Business Mediation Network, an Oak Brook based company he founded, which trains and provides experienced business people to serve as mediators of business disputes as an alternative to litigation.

Paul Simon received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a law degree from Northwestern University.

Chris Phenner

Chris Phenner

VP Programmatic, Gimbal

Chris is VP of Programmatic for Gimbal, the leading provider of beacons and geofencing to agencies, brands, platforms, retailers and out-of-home networks.

Prior to Gimbal, Chris was EVP of BD at Thumbplay (acquired by Clear Channel), BD Manager at CNET (acquired by CBSi), Director of BD at Napster (v1), and BD Manager at Chris began his career in Chicago as Marketing Programs Manager for Spyglass (Mosaic browser).

Chris has a B.A. in Political Science from Miami University, an MBA from a joint Berkeley-Columbia MBA program and is the original author of the “business development” article on Wikipedia. Chris is also co-author of U.S. Patent Number #8,401,974.

Chris has moderated and contributed to panels at Adobe MAX, Google I/O, Digital Media Wire, Internet Week & Social Media Week.

Jeremy Porter

Consultant, Deloitte

Jeremy is a management consultant for Deloitte Consulting, the industry-leading services provider to many of the world’s most admired brands, including 70% of the Fortune 500. His career has been cross-industry with significant work in retail innovation, technology strategy and Cloud orchestration. Many of the clients he has advised are in the Fortune 50. Jeremy is a contributor to communities regarding Cloud, innovation, entrepreneurship, startups, social impact, and microfinance. He is well read on retail trends, technology trends, design thinking and change leadership. Jeremy has a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Business Economics & Public Policy from Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He was a winner of Chicago Startup Weekend 2014.
Brandon Mendoza

Brandon Mendoza

Director of Product Design, Allstate

Brandon is Director of Product Design, Connected Car for Allstate, the largest publicly held P&C insurer in the USA. In this role he is responsible for the strategy and product lifecycle of Allstate’s Connected Platform.

Prior to Allstate, Brandon was Director of Product, API Platform and Mobile Apps for Gogo, Product Manager at Bing Maps and a Graduate Fellow, Product Management at BMW.

Brandon has a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Information Systems from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts in International Business from Fort Lewis College.

Brandon’s passions include family, sensor networks and foreign languages.


When and Where?


“Space by Doejo” 444 N Wabash Chicago IL – Visit Website

Friday March 6th @7PM to Sunday March 8th @7PM


SPACE by Doejo

“Space by Doejo” – Visit Website




  • 6:30 – 7:00 pm – Registration & Dinner
  • 7:10 – 7:30 pm Greetings, Introductions, Hackathon Goals & Judging Criteria
  • 7:30 – 8:00 pm Pitches Start. Optionally line up to give your informal 1 minute pitch.
  • 8:00 – 8:30 pm Voting & Team Formations
  • 8:30 – 10:00 pm  Gimbal Office Hours & MVP Submissions
  • 8:30- 9:00 am – Simple Breakfast
  • 9:00 – 12:00 pm – Development
  • @9:00 – Workshop –  Gimbal Xcode
  • @10:00 – Workshop – Urban Airship Integration
  • 12:00 – Lunch
  • @12:00Workshop – Solstice Mobile : SmartOffice App Demo
  • 1:00 – 6:30 pm – Development
  • 6:30 pm – Dinner
  • 6:30 – 10 pm – Development
  • 8:30 – 9:00 am – Coffee Only
  • 9:00 am – 12:00 pm – Development
  • 12:00 – Lunch
  • 3:00 – 4:30 pm – Presentation Prep & Tech Check.
  • 5:00 – 6:45 – Final Presentations (15 teams, 5 minute presentations, 1 minute Q/A, 1 minute for setup
  • 7:00 pm – Judging & Awards
  • 7:30 pm – Go Home!




Xcode Integration by Gimbal - Saturday @ 9:00 am

More info coming.

Urban Airship & Gimbal Integration by Urban Airship - Saturday @ 10 am

More info coming.

Smart Office by Solstice Mobile - Saturday @ 12:00 pm

Join us to hear a team from Solstice Mobile present how they use beacons and sensors to enable contextual experiences for clients and employees in their office space. They will showcase their internal application, SmartOffice, that provides a platform to connect physical spaces with virtual interactions, allowing any environment to be transformed into a contextual experience. John Wanek, Mobile Product Consultant, will discuss how they have used the SmartOffice app as an R&D opportunity and how they leverage the capabilities of physical beacons and sensors within the office.


  • John Wanek, Mobile Product Consultant
  • Max Ollivier, Technical Consultant
  • Jeremy Conkin, Technical Senior Consultant
  • Jillian Offutt, Technical Analyst

Organized By


OmniChannel Digital Logo - Grey




Solstice MobileGimbal UA







Or go directly to this event on Eventbrite.

Contact Us

5 + 10 =