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What is a Hackathon? (Ultimate Guide)

Niamh Conneely

Marketing Executive

Read Time: 20 minutes

Posted on January 17, 2024

What is a Hackathon? (Ultimate Guide)

Welcome to our ultimate guide on hackathons, where we explore these exciting and innovative events in detail. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about hackathons: from their basic definition and structure to the varied participants who make hackathons successful. We’ll discuss the benefits for companies and individuals involved, provide insights on planning and managing a hackathon, and even look at the different types of hackathons.

Whether you’re new to hackathons and eager to participate, a business looking to sponsor, or just curious about the world of hackathons, this guide is your one-stop resource for all things hackathon, including examples of famous products that started at these events.

What is a hackathon?

Simply put, a hackathon is an event, often spanning several days, where people come together to solve problems or seize new opportunities. It’s good to note, while most hackathons are organized by tech companies, other industries may also participate in arranging hackathons.

The definition and meaning of a hackathon

The term hackathon comes from “hack” and “marathon,” it is an event characterized by an intense burst of collaborative problem-solving, usually extending over several days. The primary goal is to create a working prototype or proof-of-concept for a product or feature in a short amount of time. While the focus is on building and innovation, hackathons also offer participants the chance to enhance their skills, network, and have fun. These events attract a diverse range of talents and are valued for creativity, collaboration, and rapid problem-solving in a dynamic environment.

The anatomy of a hackathon

In a hackathon, participants usually focus on a specific topic or technology. Participants work in teams to solve challenges or create something new in a short time. These events are often like competitions where teams try to come up with the best solution. Along the way, they get help and advice from experts. In the end, teams show their projects to judges, hoping to win prizes and recognition. This mix of teamwork, competition, and learning makes hackathons exciting and rewarding for those who take part.

Who participates in a hackathon?

Hackathons are unique events that attract a wide range of participants, each bringing their own skills and perspectives to solve problems and innovate.

A diverse and inclusive community of participants

Hackathons are known for their diverse and inclusive environment, attracting a wide array of participants. These participants often include (but not always limited to) software developers, designers, product and project managers, innovation managers, entrepreneurs, among others.

The specific demographics of participants can vary depending on the hackathon’s industry focus and objectives. Some hackathons target a specific group while others are open to all interested individuals. This diversity encourages a rich environment for creativity and problem-solving, making hackathons a great event to attract new ideas.

Participants in external hackathons

External hackathons often involve sponsors and partners like technology companies, startups, venture capital firms, and academic institutions. These participants not only provide resources such as support, prizes, and mentorship but also engage in these events to recruit talented individuals, invest in promising ideas, and build industry relationships. This participation enriches the hackathon experience and offers valuable opportunities for both organizers and attendees.

Participants in employee hackathons

In employee hackathons, an organization’s various departments collaborate. The core team builds the project, but other teams are also involved to support the event. Here are the different roles and how they participate in employee hackathons:

  • Software developers: Focus on coding and building the hackathon project
  • Designers: Work on the user interface and experience aspects
  • Product managers: Provide insights on product feasibility and market fit
  • Project managers: Ensure that the project stays on track and deadlines are met
  • Innovation managers: Bring new ideas and ensure the project’s innovative aspects
  • HR: Ensure participants are in good standing and manage engagement
  • Legal advisors: Oversee compliance with legal and regulatory requirements
  • Senior leadership: Offer strategic direction and judge the outcomes
  • Marketing team: Handle messaging, outreach, and promotion of the hackathon

Employee hackathons support cross-functional goals, with each department playing a vital role. Marketing enhances awareness, engineering provides technical insight, product teams focus on user experience, and HR boosts morale and engagement. Senior leadership adopts innovation and aligns projects with business goals.

It is important to note that even without all these departments, a hackathon can be successful. For instance, marketing teams can use no-code platforms to build hackathon apps, reducing the need for software developers and designers.

Hackathons need sponsorship

Securing sponsorship for a hackathon offers multiple benefits. For the organization, it can mean financial support and access to resources. Sponsors gain visibility and engagement with their community, which can be valuable for branding and recruitment. Participants benefit from these resources, enhancing the overall experience and potential outcomes of the hackathon. Typically, the responsibility for securing and managing sponsorships falls to the marketing or events department within an organization.

What are the benefits of a hackathon?

Hackathons are powerful tools for innovation and collaboration. They offer unique opportunities for learning, skill development, and problem-solving, benefiting organizations and sponsors

Benefits for companies who run hackathons

Companies hosting hackathons stand to gain significantly. Hosting a hackathon positions a company as a forward-thinking leader in technology, attracting talent and creating a culture of collaboration.

  • Innovation: Encouraging creative solutions to challenges
  • Talent discovery: Identifying potential employees with exceptional skills
  • Enhances collaboration: Strengthening teamwork within the organization
  • Brand building: Improving company visibility and reputation in the community
  • Feedback and insights: Gaining valuable insights into new solutions and user needs

Benefits for companies who sponsor hackathons

Sponsoring hackathons offers companies unique advantages. It’s a strategic move that extends beyond mere financial support, allowing companies to embed themselves in their community.

Sponsoring companies also enjoy numerous advantages such as:

  • Increased brand awareness: Enhancing visibility among a like minded audience
  • Networking opportunities: Connecting with industry leaders, innovators, and potential clients
  • Access to new ideas: Gaining fresh perspectives and innovative solutions in your field
  • Community engagement: Building relationships within the community
  • Marketing and recruitment: A way of attracting new talent and building relationships

Hackathons for participants

For participants, hackathons are opportunities for personal and professional growth. This section guides you through key aspects like generating ideas, choosing a team name, and finding a suitable project for the hackathon.

How to generate ideas for your hackathon?

Generating ideas for a hackathon can be approached in various ways:

  • Explore current trends: Look into emerging technologies or trending issues in your field
  • Solve real problems: Identify common problems in your community or industry that could benefit from a technological solution
  • Personal interests: Consider what excites you or your team personally. Passion driven projects often yield innovative results
  • Brainstorming sessions: Organize sessions with your team to discuss and evolve ideas
  • Research and inspiration: Look at past hackathon projects or technology forums for inspiration

How to find a team name for your hackathon?

Choosing a team name involves creativity and consensus:

  • Reflect team identity: Consider a name that represents your team’s unique characteristics or the project theme
  • Brainstorming: Have a fun brainstorming session with your team
  • Keep it memorable and relevant: A catchy, relevant name is more memorable and can make your team stand out
  • Avoid complex names: Simplicity aids in recall and ease of communication

How to find a project for a hackathon?

Selecting a project requires balancing ambition with feasibility:

  • Assess team skills: Align the project with your team’s skills and knowledge
  • Market needs: Consider what is needed or missing in the market
  • Innovation and feasibility: Aim for a project that is innovative yet achievable within the hackathon’s time frame
  • Scope appropriately: Ensure the project is neither too broad nor too narrow
  • Research previous successes: Look at past hackathons for what types of projects have done well

What are the stages of a successful hackathon?

A successful hackathon generally includes these stages:

Stage 1: Planning

  • Goal setting: Utilize SMART targets for clear, measurable, and achievable objectives. Effective goal setting is crucial for defining the hackathon’s focus and measuring its success
  • Stakeholder identification: Identify key individuals and groups who will contribute to or benefit from the hackathon. This helps in aligning the event with organizational goals and ensuring necessary support
  • Create a detailed plan: Consider aspects like theme, logistics, participant engagement, and judging criteria. A comprehensive plan ensures smooth execution and addresses potential challenges
  • Communication strategies: Develop a communication plan to keep stakeholders informed and engaged. This includes promoting the event, regular updates, and post-hackathon communications

Step 2: Pre-launch

  • Announce the hackathon: Effectively market your hackathon to attract the right participants
  • Participant engagement: Engage with potential participants early to build excitement and commitment
  • Legal compliance: Ensure all legal requirements are met, including participant agreements and intellectual property considerations
  • Prepare for presentations: Guide participants on presentation formats and expectations

Step 3: Hosting

  • Manage logistics: Oversee the event’s logistical aspects to ensure a smooth experience
  • Document the event: Capture the event through photos, videos, and notes for future reference
  • Support participants: Provide necessary resources and mentorship to participants during the event

Step 4: Closing

  • Award winners: Recognize and reward the best projects and participants
  • Share outcomes: Publicize the results and success stories from the hackathon
  • Conduct a retrospective: Review the event to identify successes and areas for improvement

Each stage is essential for the smooth execution and success of a hackathon.

General hackathon structure

A general hackathon structure involves these elements:

  • Team formation: Participants form teams, often with a mix of skills and expertise
  • Idea generation and pitching: Teams brainstorm ideas and pitch them, selecting the best one to develop
  • Development phase: Teams work on their projects, building and refining their ideas
  • Mentorship and support: Throughout the event, mentors and experts provide guidance and support
  • Final presentation and judging: Teams present their projects to judges who evaluate based on set criteria
  • Awards and feedback: Winners are announced, and feedback is provided to all participants

This structure ensures a balanced approach to creativity, teamwork, and technical development.

Types of hackathons

Hackathons come in various types, each with a specific focus or objective. Some common types include:

  • Internal employee hackathons: Aimed at enhancing innovation within an organization
  • External hackathons: Open to the general public, often focusing on community or industry-wide challenges
  • Industry-specific hackathons: Target specific sectors like healthcare or finance
  • Theme-based hackathons: Focus on particular themes like sustainability or education
  • Virtual hackathons: Conducted entirely online, enabling wider participation
  • University hackathons: Organized by or for students, focusing on learning and innovation

Each type caters to different goals and audiences, providing unique opportunities for collaboration and problem-solving.

Planning a hackathon event

Planning a hackathon event involves thorough preparation and strategy. It requires careful consideration of various aspects like communication, rewards, and overall event management to ensure a successful and impactful experience.

Developing a hackathon communication plan

A successful hackathon needs an effective communication strategy. A well-executed plan will draw in more sponsors and participants of a higher caliber, providing access to diverse resources, leading to a successful event with a high potential for implementing the winning concept.

Here’s a structured approach to developing a robust communication strategy for your hackathon:

Early communication initiatives

Begin by showcasing the relevance and capabilities of your organization to potential participants. A shared mission and transparent selection criteria are crucial in attracting participants and refining submissions. Keep in mind the challenges of securing approvals within an organization with competing priorities. Ensure a buffer of at least two weeks for the review and approval process of promotional materials by stakeholders, including legal teams.

Designate a communication leader

Nominate a team member to oversee all hackathon communications. This individual will be responsible for formulating and implementing the communication strategy and building partnerships essential for planning and executing the hackathon.

Form a cross-functional team

A hackathon is a collaborative effort involving multiple functions. This includes marketing for outreach, product management for industry insights, engineering for technical expertise, HR for participant verification, senior leadership and SMEs for judging, and legal for compliance. Early engagement with these stakeholders is vital, along with continuous communication throughout the event’s planning and execution.

Communication strategy outline

Channel selection

For engaging participants effectively, it’s crucial to identify and utilize the most suitable communication channels. This involves a thoughtful blend of traditional and innovative mediums. Consider leveraging:

  • Company intranet and email: Utilize these for official announcements, updates, and regular communications. They are effective for reaching a broad internal audience
  • Internal messaging apps: Platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams can be used for more immediate, informal interactions and updates
  • Social media: Platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook can extend reach beyond the organization, attracting external participants and sponsors
  • Dedicated event website or landing page: This can serve as a central hub for all information, updates, and resources related to the hackathon
  • Webinars and virtual meetings: These tools can be used for kickoff meetings, Q&A sessions, and ongoing engagement
  • Printed materials: Posters and flyers can be useful in office spaces to remind and inform employees about the event
  • Newsletters: Regular newsletters can keep potential participants informed and engaged in the lead-up to the event

Remember, the specificity of your intended audience and the nature of the ideas you’re soliciting should guide your choice of channels.

Implement communication templates

Select appropriate communication templates to maintain outreach efficiency. Remember, launching is just the beginning. Continuously follow your communication schedule for various stages of the hackathon, including teasers, leadership messages, launch announcements, and regular updates.

Leverage your network to build a community

Maximize the impact of word-of-mouth within and outside your organization. Engage potential participants, especially those new to hackathons, through interactive initiatives like live Q&A webinars. This will not only enhance engagement but also improve the quality of submissions for future innovation challenges.

Awards for hackathon participants and winners

To truly motivate and inspire participants in a hackathon, offering meaningful and theme-relevant rewards is key. These incentives should resonate with the participants, spurring their creativity and dedication. Here’s a breakdown of popular incentives you can consider:

  • Monetary rewards: Cash prizes, while not always the primary motivation, are universally appealing and can be utilized by anyone, regardless of their professional background. However, they might lack the ongoing connection to the event that other rewards provide.
  • Tech gadgets and subscriptions: Offering cutting-edge tech items or subscriptions can be highly effective, especially if targeted towards a specific group, like software developers. Gadgets like tablets, smartwatches, or laptops, as well as subscriptions to software tools or educational platforms, not only serve as a token of appreciation but also continue to provide value beyond the event. They create a lasting association with the hackathon experience.
  • Additional paid time off: For internal company hackathons, extra paid time off days can be a highly valued prize. Ensure this is coordinated with HR and the management of the participants.
  • Recognition awards: Tangible symbols of achievement, such as trophies or certificates, may not be the main incentive but add a special touch to the recognition. They create memorable moments and offer a cost-effective way to prolong the positive association with the event.
  • Opportunities for growth: Offering winners access to mentorship, resources, or funding to further develop their projects can be extremely appealing. This type of reward aligns well with the goals of participants who join hackathons to advance their skills and career prospects. This applies to both internal company events and external hackathons where exposure to recruiters, investors, or startup teams can be invaluable.
  • Visibility and promotion: Showcasing winning projects on various platforms like the event website, social media, or other channels can significantly boost the visibility and recognition of the winning teams. This form of promotion is a powerful incentive, as it provides participants with a platform to showcase their skills and achievements to a wider audience.

Each of these rewards can be tailored to the specific theme and audience of your hackathon, ensuring that they not only attract participants but also encourage them to bring their best efforts to the event.

A hackathon, with its complexity, requires meticulous planning and execution to ensure success. This guide combines industry insights with additional strategies to manage onsite, hybrid, or virtual hackathons.

Onsite hackathon management

  • Thorough venue preparation: Beyond the basic setup, consider the flow of traffic and how participants will move between different areas. Ensure all necessary tech support is on standby for immediate assistance
  • Participant and staff briefing: Along with the pre-event email, consider a quick orientation session at the start of the event to cover essentials and answer any last-minute queries
  • Creating an engaging environment: Introduce interactive elements like live polls or brainstorming sessions to keep the energy high. Encourage collaboration by setting up communal areas where teams can share ideas and resources

Hybrid hackathon management

  • Seamless integration of virtual and onsite elements: Use a dedicated team to manage the virtual component, ensuring that remote participants have the same level of engagement and access as those onsite
  • Inclusive activities: Design activities that both virtual and onsite participants can equally partake in, such as virtual breakout rooms or combined team challenges.
  • Effective use of technology: Invest in reliable tech that bridges the gap between virtual and physical spaces such as a hackathon app. Ensure that virtual participants can interact with onsite attendees seamlessly.

Virtual hackathon management

  • Robust digital platform: Choose a platform that supports various functions like project management,live presentations, polls, surveys and questions. Ensure it’s user-friendly and accessible to all participants
  • Engaging and interactive sessions: Host virtual coffee breaks, informal chat rooms, and interactive webinars to create a sense of community among participants
  • Clear guidelines and support: Provide detailed guidelines on the use of digital tools and ensure technical support is readily available

Top tips for all hackathon types

  • Proactive communication: Regular updates, reminders, and clear instructions are vital. Use multiple channels like emails, app notifications, and live announcements
  • Task management and tracking: Utilize project management tools to help teams track their progress and stay on course
  • Social media engagement: Utilize live-tweeting, story updates, and participant interviews to enhance online visibility and engagement
  • Transparent judging criteria: Clearly communicate the criteria beforehand and ensure they are consistently applied to maintain fairness
  • Acknowledgment and rewards: Alongside major prizes, acknowledge efforts with certificates or digital badges that participants can share on their professional profiles
  • Post-Event feedback and reflection: Collect feedback through surveys or focus groups. Reflect on what worked and what could be improved for future events
  • Networking opportunities: Facilitate networking sessions where participants can connect with mentors, industry experts, and fellow innovators
  • Sustainability practices: For onsite events, incorporate eco-friendly practices like digital handouts instead of printed materials.

By blending these advanced strategies with traditional approaches, you can ensure a well-rounded, inclusive, and efficient hackathon that maximizes participant engagement and achieves your event goals.

Selecting and announcing winners

The process of selecting winners involves several critical steps, from ensuring participant eligibility to effectively communicating the results. Here, we outline a structured approach to navigate this crucial phase, providing a comprehensive guide to manage this process seamlessly and celebrate the achievements of your hackathon participants.

Step one: Perform due diligence

  • Ensure eligibility with HR: Before finalizing teams, collaborate with HR to confirm that all members are in good standing and eligible to participate. This is essential to maintain fairness and adhere to company policies
  • Managerial approval for participation: Verify with managers that team members are available for the event. It’s advisable to do this well in advance to manage any necessary staffing adjustments
  • Prepare backup teams: In cases where the number of teams is limited, have pre-approved backup teams ready to step in if needed

Step two: Align on evaluation criteria

  • Reaffirm established criteria: The criteria used for judging should be transparent and previously communicated to avoid surprises and ensure understanding among participants
  • Strategically weight questions: Design the evaluation process to reflect the importance of various aspects of the projects. This helps in categorizing ideas based on their potential impact and feasibility
  • Incorporate critical evaluation points: Adding a high-value question can effectively filter out ideas that do not align with key organizational goals

Step three: Connect with finalists

  • Confirm participation of finalists: Notify the finalists and ensure their availability for the final presentations, whether in-person or virtually
  • Ensure judges’ availability: Reconfirm the judges’ schedules and have backup judges ready if necessary
  • Set clear expectations for the event: Communicate the event details, including date, agenda, and expectations for participants and judges

Step four: Announce the winners

  • Develop a comprehensive communication plan: Utilize pre-designed templates for announcing winners and key messages about the hackathon results
  • Craft the announcement email: Include details such as reiteration of the evaluation criteria, congratulations to winners, appreciation for all contributors, and encouragement for non-winners. Provide clear instructions for prize collection and outline next steps for the winning idea
  • Offer diverse prizes: Consider a range of awards such as cash, gift certificates, mentorship opportunities, tech gadgets and subscriptions
  • Acknowledge all participants: Even small tokens of appreciation can significantly boost morale and show gratitude for everyone’s efforts

Step five: Close the event

  • Celebrate and share: Host a closing celebration to acknowledge the hard work of all involved. Capture and share these moments on social media and internal platforms
  • Send a final thank you: Express gratitude to teams, stakeholders, and judges, providing updates on the winning idea’s future
  • Update the hackathon homepage: Post-event, refresh the hackathon’s web page with results, photos, and a summary of the event’s success

By following these steps, you ensure a fair, transparent, and engaging conclusion to your hackathon, leaving participants feeling valued and motivated for future collaborations.

Managing a virtual hackathon

A virtual hackathon is an event where individuals or teams collaborate to create, innovate, or solve problems, typically within a specific time frame, using digital tools and platforms. Unlike traditional in-person hackathons, a virtual hackathon takes place entirely online. This format has gained popularity due to its accessibility and the ability to connect participants from different geographical locations.

Advantages of a virtual hackathon

  • Reduced costs and overhead: Virtual hackathons significantly lower expenses related to venue, logistics, and physical setup. Most investments are channeled into digital tools and infrastructure
  • Customizable participant environments: Attendees enjoy the flexibility of working from their preferred settings, enhancing comfort and productivity
  • Diverse participation: The absence of travel costs and geographical barriers allows for a more varied and global participant base

Essential components for a virtual hackathon

  • Robust digital infrastructure: Key to a successful virtual hackathon is a strong digital backbone. Tools for communication, collaboration, project tracking, and presentation are vital
  • Effective communication tools: Video conferencing and chat platforms are essential for face-to-face interactions and quick messaging
  • Collaboration utilities: Digital whiteboards and wireframing tools enable virtual brainstorming and interface development, crucial for remote teamwork
  • Project management software: Tools like Jira and Asana help in keeping teams organized and focused on tasks, both during and after the hackathon
  • Secure file sharing: A reliable file-sharing system is necessary for exchanging large files securely
  • Centralized information hub: An easily accessible repository for event-related information, such as rules and schedules, enhances the participant experience

By embracing these strategies, organizers can effectively manage virtual hackathons, ensuring they are engaging, inclusive, and productive, while harnessing the benefits of a global talent pool.

How to run a hackathon for beginners?

Running a beginner-friendly hackathon can be a transformative experience for participants, and leveraging a platform like Fliplet can significantly streamline the process. Fliplet’s no-code approach makes it accessible for organizers of all skill levels to create custom apps that can enhance the hackathon experience.

Fliplet’s pre-built solutions for enhanced experience

Fliplet offers a range of pre-built solutions that you can start using right away. Or, you can use different pre-built screens from the range of solutions to create the perfect app for your hackathon. Some useful pre-built solutions that could be used for your hackathon include:

  • Event solution: Create an app for organizing and navigating the hackathon. Include features like an agenda, a directory of speakers and attendees, and real-time updates
  • Project management solution: Develop an app to help teams manage their projects, set priorities, and track progress
  • Community solution: Facilitate in-app chats and discussions, enabling participants to collaborate effectively and share files and documents

Fliplet’s key features to enhance your hackathon

  • Polls and surveys: Engage participants with interactive polls and surveys, allowing you to gather feedback and tailor the hackathon experience

  • Project and task management: Allow teams to create, assign, and prioritize tasks within the app, keeping their projects organized and on track
  • In-app chat and discussions: Enhance communication among teams and between organizers and participants, ensuring a collaborative environment

  • Customizable agenda and directory: Provide a clear schedule and a list of attendees, mentors, and speakers, making networking and time management easier for participants
  • Gamification: Introduce elements of gamification to make the hackathon more engaging and fun

  • Cross-device accessibility: Ensure that everyone can access the app, whether on mobile or web platforms, for seamless participation
  • Branding and custom content: Customize the app with your brand’s look and feel, and upload your own content to make it relevant to your hackathon theme

  • Drag-and-drop interface: The user-friendly interface of Fliplet empowers anyone in your organization to take an active role in app development

Leveraging Fliplet for your hackathon

Fliplet not only simplifies the app development process but also enriches the hackathon experience. Its versatility and ease of use make it an ideal choice for organizers looking to create a dynamic and inclusive event, especially for beginners.

By using Fliplet, you can ensure that your hackathon is not just a competition, but a comprehensive learning and development opportunity.

Examples of famous products and apps born at hackathons

Hackathons have been the start of many innovative and successful products and apps. Here are a few notable examples:


Founded by Wade Foster and Bryan Helmig, Zapier emerged from a Startup Weekend in Columbia, Missouri in 2011. It’s an automation tool that connects different apps to streamline workflows. Zapier, which began with integrations for 34 apps, now boasts integrations with over 4,000 apps and has reached a valuation of $5 billion​​.


This cloud-based call center solution was created by Tiago Paiva during a Twilio hackathon in 2011. Starting with the goal of winning a MacBook Air, Paiva developed what is now Talkdesk, a company valued at $10 billion as of 2021​​.


Founded by Siu Rui Quek, Marcus Tan, and Lucas Ngoo, Carousell is a consumer-to-consumer marketplace for selling various items. The idea was validated at a hackathon in Singapore in 2012, and by 2019, Carousell had reached a valuation of $550 million​​.


This app, which allows businesses to find and securely use legal documents, was a product of the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon in 2011. Created by Matt Hall and John Watkinson, Docracy raised significant funding following its hackathon success​​​​.


Born at the Startup Weekend Rio in 2011, EasyTaxi was initially conceptualized as a bus monitoring app by creators Tallis Gomes and Dennis Wang. It evolved into an e-hailing app covering a network of 30 countries and 420+ cities​​.


This Australian startup, founded by Nick Kamols and Brad Claire, aims to improve the quality of life in remote Indonesian villages with solar-powered battery packs created from e-waste. The idea was developed and launched into a full product in just four weeks after a hackathon concept​​.

These examples highlight the potential of hackathons as platforms for innovation, allowing ideas to quickly evolve into successful products and businesses.

Popular hackathon examples

MIT hackathon

HackMIT is a prestigious, weekend-long event at MIT where over 1000 students globally collaborate on innovative software and hardware projects. It’s one of the largest undergraduate hackathons, focusing on various impact areas like sustainability and education.

Google hackathon

Google’s hackathon, particularly their Women Techmakers initiative, focuses on empowering women in technology. This hackathon brings together diverse minds to solve pressing tech challenges, promoting gender diversity in the tech field.

Microsoft hackathon

Microsoft’s hackathon is an annual event that encourages employees to collaborate on new ideas and solutions. It’s a platform for innovation within the company, generating creativity and teamwork among its global workforce.

Chicago hackathon

The Chicago hackathon focuses on bringing together local tech talent to solve city-specific challenges. It’s a space for innovators to contribute to the technological advancement of Chicago.

NYC hackathon

NYC hackathon, organized by Code Nation, emphasizes coding and professional development for high school students. It connects young coders with industry professionals, creating a learning environment for future tech leaders.

Hackathon Boston

Boston Hacks is a student-run hackathon at Boston University, encouraging creative problem-solving in technology. It’s a gathering of students and professionals, engaging in collaborative innovation.

UX hackathon

The UX hackathon focuses on user experience design, bringing together designers to improve product interfaces and customer experiences. It’s a niche event tailored for UX professionals.

AI hackathon

An AI hackathon, like the one organized by WOWDAO, concentrates on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Participants work on cutting-edge AI projects, pushing the boundaries of this evolving field.

Design hackathon

The Design hackathon, organized by ThinkLab, merges creativity and technology. It’s a platform for designers to explore innovative solutions in various design fields.

Conducting a hackathon event retrospective

Conducting a hackathon event retrospective involves reflecting on the hackathon’s successes and areas for improvement. It’s an opportunity to gather feedback from participants, volunteers, and stakeholders.

Key components include evaluating the event’s organization, participant engagement, and the effectiveness of various tools and technologies used. The process aims to identify what worked well and what could be enhanced for future hackathons. This systematic review helps organizers learn from the experience, ensuring better planning and execution for subsequent events.

Start your hackathon journey

In conclusion, hackathons represent a unique blend of creativity, collaboration, and technology, offering immense value to participants, companies, and sponsors alike. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced professional, using tools like Fliplet can significantly streamline the process of organizing and participating in these events. Hackathons not only enhance innovation and problem-solving but also provide a platform for learning, networking, and personal growth.

Niamh Conneely

Niamh Conneely is the Content Writer and Marketing Executive at Fliplet – an app building platform that enables anyone to easily create engaging and interactive mobile and web apps.

Niamh has experience in content creation and writing and has achieved two level 6 awards for The Chartered Institute of Marketing. She has developed skills to help organizations deal with the challenges of a fast-moving marketplace. Connect with Niamh on Linkedin.


What is a hackathon?

A hackathon is an event, typically lasting several hours to a few days, where individuals or teams collaborate intensively on software projects. The goal is often to create a functioning product or solve a problem by the end of the event.

Who can participate in a hackathon?

Hackathons are open to anyone but they are usually tailored to those interested in technology and innovation, including software developers, designers, entrepreneurs, and students. Skills level can vary from beginners to experienced professionals.

Do I need a team to join a hackathon?

While some participants join as a team, it’s common for individuals to attend alone and form teams with new people at the event. Hackathons often have team formation sessions to help solo participants find a group.

What should I bring to a hackathon?

Essentials include a laptop, charger, any necessary software pre-installed, and comfortable clothing. If the hackathon is overnight, consider bringing toiletries and a sleeping bag or blanket.

How are hackathon projects judged?

Judging criteria vary but typically include innovation, technical difficulty, design, usability, and the potential impact of the project. Judges are often industry professionals, tech experts, or event sponsors.

What’s the difference between a hackathon and Shark Tank?

The key difference between a hackathon and Shark Tank lies in their objectives and formats. Hackathons are collaborative events where individuals and teams focus on creating a working prototype or solution, typically in a tech context. It’s about building and creativity within a set time frame.

Shark Tank, on the other hand, is a business pitch competition where entrepreneurs present their business ideas to a panel of investors, aiming to secure investment and partnership. The focus is more on business viability and investment potential rather than collaborative creation.


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