The Best Hackathon Ever Held

Over 1,000 developers took us up on scholarships to the LAUNCH Festival last week, and many asked us, "Why don't you have a Hackathon?"

Since so many folks have demanded it, we've decided to host a hackathon. But, like all things we do, we want to make it awesome and groundbreaking -- we do live in the "age of excellence" after all.

So, our goal is to host "The best hackathon ever held."

We did some brainstorming, and here is what we came up with:

1. A killer prize: I'm personally putting up a $25k *investment* in the winning project at a $1M valuation -- or $10k in cash. ( Hint: take the investment and let's raise a bigger round on AngelList together!). Going to hit up my friends to put prizes up as well.

2. Exposure: the top five projects will get to the main stage -- a full 10% of the team competing.

3. A prestigious award similar to our LAUNCH 1.0 and LAUNCH 2.0 prizes. The 'LAUNCH Alpha' award will given to the best project from the five that makes the main stage.
4. VIP service: Participants can email at any time and get waiter service -- including a 15-minute chair massage (who wants to sponsor that!)

5. No distractions: This will not be an open hackathon. You have to apply to get in, and you have to actually build stuff.

6. Challenging: This will be a 48-hour hackathon. The feedback we've heard is that most are too short to make something killer, and elite folks would like to push a little harder. So, we'll try two days from Saturday at noon until Monday at noon.

7. Gift bags/schwag: We're having sponsors spend a little cheddar on putting good stuff in the bags (i.e., items worth $25 or more) -- not garbage.  

8. Awesome mentors floating around each day. I'm thinking angel investors, founders and perhaps even a couple of respected bloggers. Folks who might stop by your pod for coffee and to bounce off some ideas. Also, great for networking.  

9. Designers: We want to try and get a designer on each team if possible. We live in a design-driven world these days. We think this could make the finished products a step function better.

10. Partnerships: We're planning on building partnerships to draw the best to the event. To that end we've partnered with AngelHack already. We would like to add a couple of more.

11. Free: We're not charging folks to participate.

Q: What else could we do to make it awesome?
Other details we're formulating:

a) Teams of four
b) 50 teams
c) Some teams will be pre-formed, others will be formed onsite during the first three hours.
d) The 10 sponsors will be able to host 20-minute talks, but attendance is obviously optional
e) A nap area will be provided, but folks are free to leave and get some sleep

If you're interested in participating please fill out this brief form. Official LAUNCH Hackathon page here.

Thanks to NewAer and TokBox for being our first two partners. If you're interested in joining them, email

One more thing -- we’re half-way to covering the $700k it costs to put on the LAUNCH Festival.

A huge thank you to --
* Bing (
* MailChimp (
* Wilson Sonsini (
* Google for Entrepreneurs (
* Sourcebits (
* Yammer (
* DFJ (
* Media Camp (
* CRV (
* Tagged (
* Webconnex (
* Zelkova (

Please support our awesome partners! Email to add your company.

all the best, @jason & The LAUNCH team