Zillow participants in the Seattle Startup Weekend GOV include, (bottom row, from left): Erin Lantz, Scott Rasmussen, John (Seattle city official), and Udayan Deshpande. Standing, from left: Alec Matias, Eric Tucker and Yusake Tsutsumi.

Last weekend, Zillowites put on their thinking caps and participated in Seattle Startup Weekend GOV – a three-day event challenging Seattle’s smartest minds to crunch data sets and figure out ways to make the information more accessible to consumers. More than 50 hours of blood, sweat, and speed-typing later, a flurry of great ideas for apps and services using open public data emerged — all with the goal to enhance the lives of those who live, work, study, or play in the great state of Washington.

From left to right, Zillowites Yusake Tsutsumi, Alec Matias, Eric Tucker and Udayan Deshpande.

Nearly 40 ideas were pitched on Friday night, 15 made the cut over the weekend, and about a dozen made it to presentations on Sunday. While the competition was fierce, the camaraderie and drive was electric and contagious.

Teaming up with government officials and students from UW and Seattle Central Community College, Zillow shared first place with Art Rover, a social gaming app that helps discover public art, and second place with .

Among the 130 participants, the Zillow task force on site included developers Udayan Deshpande, Alec Matias, Yusuke Tsutsumi, designer Eric Tucker, senior mobile program manager Jay Al Hashal, business development specialist Scott Rasmussen, and Erin Lantz, director of Zillow Mortgage Marketplace.

If you missed the event last weekend, you still have the opportunity to pitch in. Mayor McGinn and his team are actively seeking new ideas at and WA Chief Information Officer Bharat Shyam has made a commitment to respond to requests for more public data. Just tweet your requests with hash tag #needdataNW.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the next Seattle Startup Weekend event, held on May 18, where both Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries and Jay Al Hashal will be serving as mentors.

Zillow's Jay Al Hashal (second from right) poses with other participants from the Seattle Startup GOV event.

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