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Hacking For Homebuilding Winners Announced

October 25, 2021

These excerpts are from an article written by Jennifer Castenson and published by Forbes on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. Read the original article.

Last year the team launched the inaugural Hacking for Homebuilding event that was strictly a student competition that had 14 teams and 36 participants. This year, the event opened to the public and grew to 16 teams and 46 participants. Plus, the industry partners increased from 5 to 15 year over year.

This year’s entrants were presented with problem statements that their innovation should solve for that ranged from more sustainable construction solutions to job site security. A first round of pitches were presented in September and then the top three in each track were selected by a panel of industry judges to pitch during the finals of Boise Entrepreneur Week on Thursday, October 21.

Betsy Scott serves as the executive director of programs and engagement at the Housing Innovation Alliance, a member-based organization connecting stakeholders and opportunities for a better housing industry, and was a judge at the event. She was impressed with the innovative solutions that were presented after just two weeks with the problem statements.

“It was great to see the tech companies taking more of an interest in the housing space outside of the consumer focused proptech that we have seen recently,” Scott said. “The group really put effort into solving the problem statements and digging into the issues around them.”

The six winners were announced during that event, and this year’s winners in the public track include Flashpoint Building Systems, Revonate, and CrewNotes by BetaCanon. The student track winners are VandalEyes, SiteSeer and NeighborWood Surplus. The winners walked away with cash prizes up to $10,000, along with a strong network to help them launch.

VandalEyes and SiteSeer focused on jobsite security to protect contractors and builders from things walking off the jobsite, which increases the cost of the home and delays. Miller points out that it can even mean that the general contractor loses the job or goes out of business. VandalEyes is a multi-pronged solution with security kit installation, a monitoring app that utilizes crowdsourcing to monitor the site, and a centralized system designed for trailers with GPS and cellular monitoring capabilities.

“VandalEyes solution was interesting because it was an approach and the builder would integrate their own equipment into it,” Scott said. “It looked at all parts of the ecosystem of theft, combining notification of the owner, police and also closed the loop and connected back to the insurance. It would deter theft and get better rates on insurance. It was very impressive for a student group, it seemed like a professional business group.” Read the full article.

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The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at


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