26 Letters Acquires Hack the Gap

26-letters-aquires-hack-the-gap.png

We are excited to announce that 26 Letters has acquired Hack the Gap!

We couldn’t be happier about 26 Letters being our new home. One of our main goals in creating Hack the Gap was designing a space for women and non-binary folks to step out of the mainstream tech culture and hack together. We imagined this space to be free of the micro aggressions that women, non-binary, transgender folks, and BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) face in tech everyday. A place to step out and connect with others and realize, “wow, I’m not alone.” An oasis. A reset. A community of people with similar experiences in tech to connect with each other.

We created a hackathon designed for women and non-binary people to hack and build stuff. A hackathon is like a sporting event for nerds and builders. Pitch a problem you want to solve, form a team and build a thing that proves our your concept and idea in less than 48hrs. A place to stretch your mind, learn new skills, work against constraints, think differently and have an experience with a group of people that is more bonding than a networking happy hour.

At our hackathons, we make sure there’s healthy food choices including vegan, GF, halal, good coffee, fresh fruits and veggies. Demo Day is family friendly and offers childcare, too. This isn’t your energy drink stay up all night kind of hackathon.

Testimonial after testimonial, we heard how much Hack the Gap gave people a refreshed outlook on their career, a connection to a new job, a stronger network (oh hey, a lot opportunities come from our network), new skills and a chance to stand on stage and show off all of their technical skills uninterrupted. Over the last five years, we gave over 350 women and non-binary people a mic to amplify their voice and show their technical abilities.

And we’re not going to stop there. We’re joining 26 Letters to amplify more voices and keep working toward a more inclusive and diverse tech community full of companies with inclusive and diverse cultures.

One key aspect of Hack the Gap’s message is to stop putting the blame on the pipeline. The pipeline is the idea that the lack of women in tech is because women aren’t interested in tech or signing up for degrees in tech fields because they’re not interested in the work. That’s simply not true. Just like men, some women and non-binary folks love tech and some don’t. It’s not about gender. It’s about culture. Creating an inclusive environment is critical to keep women and non-binary folks interested in technology stay in the tech industry.

We’re doubling down on this by joining 26 Letters. 26 Letters focuses on increasing equity and inclusion in all areas of an organization by taking an approach of addressing system bias and providing individual development opportunity. They work with companies to use data to understand areas of opportunity within their organization and action plans to address those challenges. Furthermore, they provide learning content for personal and professional growth on key topics related to increasing diversity, equity and inclusion. Caroline Karanja, the founder and CEO of 26 Letters, was a first year participant of Hack the Gap, a judge, and has backed Hack the Gap since the beginning.

Looking forward to seeing you at the next Hack the Gap hackathon! Which will be announced soon, so make sure you’re on the mailing list and be the first to know about it.

 
Caroline Karanja, CEO + Founder of 26 Letters, and Kristen Womack, Co-Founder of Hack the Gap

Caroline Karanja, CEO + Founder of 26 Letters, and Kristen Womack, Co-Founder of Hack the Gap

 

Kristen Womack

Kristen Womack is a mother, feminist, runner, yogi, product leader and volunteer in Minneapolis.