How PupWalkr won the Worldpay Challenge at the ATDC Hackathon

Author: Romu Gaboriau

Q&A with 2017 ATDC Hackathon winning team: PupWalkr

Last weekend, entrepreneurs, designers, and developers came together to compete for more than $100,000 in cash prizes at the ATDC FinTech-RetailTech Hackathon competition. Each year, Worldpay sponsors the hackathon as part of their non-profit Financial Technology Program. This year, Worldpay challenged teams to develop an innovative application or solution that enhances either a consumer’s purchasing experience instore or online, or provides benefit to small or medium size business owner.

The winner of this year’s challenge was team PupWalkr!

The winning team this year was PupWalkr, an on-demand dog-walking service that provides convenience, flexibility and peace of mind to hard-working dog owners with busy schedules. PupWalkr was created by longtime friends David Choi and Alex Han. I had the opportunity to speak with them and find out more about their business.


Q&A with 2017 ATDC Hackathon Winner, PupWalkr

Why did you create PupWalkr?

“PupWalkr was started out of necessity. Alex and I worked long hours, had dogs, and needed a way to take them out. Have you ever seen what an apartment looks like after two 70-lb. dogs have been in it all day? At the time, all other companies on the market were incredibly outdated. So we made our own.”

What brought PupWalkr to the ATDC Hackathon?

“This is actually a funny story. We didn’t go to there to compete at first. We had already launched PupWalkr, but the booking interface wasn’t where we wanted it to be. We went to the hackathon to meet developers and look for a technical co-founder for the business. When we got there on Friday and heard about the challenges, we ended up pitching our idea for a project of creating a brand new booking software for small businesses.”

“We originally worked on building an automated financial tracking software by integrating with the Worldpay API, but decided to pivot on Saturday morning after our team grew to 8 members. We then decided to recreate PupWalkr’s a booking interface by building an entire database from the ground up that integrates with Worldpay’s API.”

What was the problem you aim to solve during the Hackhaton?

“The biggest hurdle for companies like Pupwalkr is that most accounting software assume revenue is recognized as soon as walks are booked, but sometimes it takes months for all the walks to be complete. Recognizing all revenue upfront doesn’t give me a good representation of a company’s financial health.”

“Using Worldpay’s API, we were able to automate that process and use a subscription-based model that will allow us to recognize revenue based on triggered events. On top of that, we also created a voice ordering system using Google Voice recognition API.”

How did it feel to win?

“At first, we were so tired! We put together about 250 hours of labor over the weekend across the entire team. Besides that, it felt great to win the popular vote, and even better winning the Worldpay challenge. Up to an hour before the end, the software wasn’t working properly, but we fixed it and it worked like a charm during the presentation. The Worldpay tech team went into their database and confirmed our API calls were going through. We put so much work into it, it was amazing to figure that out and solve a complex problem.”

Now that the hackathon is over, what’s next?

“Well, we might actually used Worldpay from now on. Going through their APIs, it is significantly superior to the other products we know. For example, the UDF (User Designed Field) allowed to add specific variables to different users which was perfect for our revenue recognition delay. We also have so much development work we’ve built over that weekend, we’ll have to go through that and start improving the technology. We’ll also start using some of the developers we met on specific projects and maybe hire one of them as our CTO.”


David and Alex went home with $5,000 cash prize and four hot desks at Prototype Prime for three months.

Learn more about PupWalkr dog walking service.


About the Hackathon

The ATDC FinTech-RetailTech Hackathon is the competition for entrepreneurs, developers, designers, and innovators who seek to take their ideas to the next level. Participating teams competed for cash, gadgets, and professional-services prizes. This year’s theme centers on two industries in the midst of disruption: finance and retail. The competition is designed to bring together entrepreneurs, developers, designers, and innovators who thrive on tackling challenges, solving problems, and working in teams to create the next big disruptive FinTech or RetailTech idea.

About ATDC

The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology and the state of Georgia’s technology startup incubator. Founded in 1980 by the Georgia General Assembly, which funds it each year, ATDC’s mission is to work with entrepreneurs in Georgia to help them learn, launch, scale and succeed in the creation of viable, disruptive technology companies. Since its founding, ATDC has grown to become one of the longest running and most successful university-affiliated incubators in the United States, with its graduate startup companies raising $3 billion in investment financing and generating more than $12 billion in revenue in the state of Georgia. To learn more, visit

About the Worldpay Challenge

Worldpay challenged teams to develop an innovative application or solution that enhances either a consumer’s purchasing experience instore or online, or provides benefit to small or medium size business owner. Worldpay is dedicated to accelerating innovation and making Georgia the capital of FinTech. Worldpay created the Financial Technology Program at the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) of Georgia Tech.


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About the Author

Romu Gaboriau is a Digital Marketing Manager at Worldpay US. In addition to working with successful startups, Romu has been using Inbound Marketing expertise with clients of all size in diverse industries to deliver long-term. Passionate about user experience, social media, and marketing innovation, Romu has been able to use his international background to create unique marketing visions. French is his native language and dedicated is his state of mind.  


Written by:   ,  20 Nov 2017