The Mashup Challenge: $100,000 At Stake

Reprinted with permission from Net Squared

Net SquaredDo you have an idea for how a mashup could be a tool for social change?

Do you look at all of the data available online, and imagine ways to combine and connect it to increase awareness about an issue?

Do you see projects like or and think, I’ve got an idea for something like that, I just need a little help getting it off the ground?

If you answered yes, then join the NetSquared Mashup Challenge! We’ve created the Challenge because we believe you have great ideas for how data can create insight, and we want to create a platform to facilitate those kinds of mashups being built. Plus, we’ve got cash prizes to award to the folks who come up with the most innovative mashups for social change.

There are three parts to the Challenge:

  1. Applications
    Individuals working to create change will share with the NetSquared Community what change they are trying to make, as well as the information/data sources they believe can be married to help create that change. Applications will be available online February 1 and accepted until March 14, 2008.
  2. Recruiting and specification-building
    The Net2Team will reach out to web-savvy collaborators to help translate your idea into a Mashup Project.
  3. Mashup Development
    Teams will start building the mashups.

The week of March 17th, similar to last year, the NetSquared Community will vote for what they think are the most innovative mashups that will create the greatest impact.

On March 24 the top 20 mashups will be announced, and the winners will be invited to attend this year’s NetSquared Conference (N2Y3) in San Jose, CA May 27-28, 2008. Each of the top 20 mashups will get an allowance for travel (including airfare to and from the Conference, along with a hotel room for two nights).

At the Conference, project teams will have an opportunity to display and discuss their mashups, and attendees will vote to select the top three. All twenty projects at the Conference will receive a share of $100,000 in prize money. The share will be determined by voting at the Conference.

If applications aren’t available till February 1st? What do I do now?

  • Read more about the Challenge at
  • Ask the Net2 Team questions about the Challenge during the online Gabbly chats we’ll be having next this week (Update: next one is Friday, Feb 1, 2:00-3:00pm PST).
  • Post your questions, ideas and suggestions in the comments below, in a blog post on the Net2Blog or your on own blog, or email us at [email protected]. Please use the tag, “net2mashup”, without the quotation marks, to help us find your post.

A final note: We’ve never hosted a Mashup Challenge before, and when you mash things up, it can get a little messy. We hope you’ll have patience with us when there are bumps in the road and we’re trying to figure out how to smooth them out.

That said, let’s start mashing it up!

Nate Ritter lives in Austin, Texas (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

4 Comments on "The Mashup Challenge: $100,000 At Stake"

  1. Britt Bravo says:

    Thanks for spreading the word, Nate! Note: The Gabbly chats are actually this week. The next one is Friday, February 1 from 2:00-3:00pm PST at

  2. So Nate, does this mean we’ll be spending a few lunches discussing possible entries? :)

  3. nate says:

    Chris, I’d be happy to. :)

  4. Hi Nate,

    I saw that you were writing about the Netsquared Mashup challenge and I wanted to share a little bit about our Mashup Challenge entry: You can read more at

    The question behind the project is this: with peace on the horizon after 20 years of war in northern Uganda, and the big NGOs soon heading off to other war zones, who is going to support community organizations and northern Ugandan civil society as it transitions to peace time?

    By mapping information about ongoing community-led philanthropic partnerships in northern Uganda, helps American citizens aggregate their resources to support post-conflict transformation.

    We hope to facilitate collaboration among American donors and volunteers by providing a digital tool that:

    •maps project locations so you know who’s working where
    •tags information about the specific issues projects and organizations seek to address
    •links tagged and mapped projects to the facebook and LinkedIn profiles of participating donors or volunteers

    If you’re interested in supporting us, please visit and vote for us here:


    Nathaniel Whittemore
    Director, Northwestern University Center for Global Engagement
    globalengagement at gmail

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