Build Your MVP & Get Funded w/$100,000+ Investment Prizes!

Friday, February 27 - Sunday, March 1 | Fort Mason, San Francisco

This event is for developers & designers only!

How LAUNCH Hackon Works


  1. Around 200 teams, of typically four folks, start on Friday afternoon (Feb 27th) at 1:00 PM.
  2. These teams optimally consist of three developers and one UX/designer.  At our hackathon we don’t let in “business people” -- we only allow verified developers (by checking their code) and verified UX/designers.
  3. Why no business people? Because they have nothing to do at these events and wind up bothering folks. If you’re a business person, the “startup weekend” competitions are really the best for you.  
  4. The goal of our hackathon is for the teams to build something cool in 48 hours.
  5. On Sunday March 1 folks finish their code at 1:00 PM and we do three hours of judging.
  6. Judging consists of two people (typically one product/design and one technical) hearing the pitch from the team leader, asking questions and taking notes. These visits take 10 minutes and judges will review a dozen teams.
  7. Judges give these projects scores. Some folks do 1 to 10 score overall, others do a 1 to 10 score based on multiple criteria (technical achievement, product vision, design) and average it.
  8. The top 15 projects get to present on stage for 90 seconds each, take one question, and move on. So, we can do stage judging in under 90 minutes.
  9. The top five projects are determined by the final judges (including me). They get to go on the main stage at the LAUNCH Festival on March 4th in front of thousands of folks!
  10. Will award 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, as well as a bunch of prizes from our partners.
  11. I will offer to invest $100k in those five -- if they want to start a company (it’s not a cash prize, some members of the team must commit to building a company). It could be $25k each to 4 startups or $100k in one. Some might be invited into the LAUNCH Incubator spring class. This is all pending due diligence (i.e., you didn’t steal the code, you’re not a criminal, etc.).
  12. If folks don’t take the investment I will meet with other teams who want to do a startup or join the incubator. There is no cash prize -- only an investment in a corporate entity that you would start after the event.
  13. There is no alcohol at the event, and it goes without saying that anyone doing drugs at the event will be quickly escorted out. This is a professional event, not a party!
  14. There will be food the entire time.
  15. We will be open 24 hours per day; it might get chilly since we’re on a pier.
  16. You can go home and come back.
  17. You cannot bring guests--sorry!  
  18. There will be no press.
  19. If you make a product for developers, or you are there trying to hire folks, you cannot come as a team and use participation in the hackathon as a way to circumvent the sponsorships we desperately need to run the event. I know, I know, it sounds crazy that someone would do this -- but they have! And we kicked them out!

View full rules


Teams of 1-4 can apply to attend the event. We're only accepting BUILDERS. All applicants within a team will be reviewed and vetted as developers or designers before they are able to attend the event.

Come with ideas not completed code.  All projects must be built from scratch at the event.


To be considered for judging each team must present a functioning web or mobile application.  All work must be completed by 12:00 pm on Sunday March 1, 2015.  Submissions must follow all criteria outlined in the competition rules section.

Submissions that will not be considered:

1.  Wireframes

2.  Powerpoint or presentation slides


Brandon Kessler

Brandon Kessler
CEO @ ChallengePost

Brian Kennish

Brian Kennish
CEO @ RocketShip

Adam Dill

Adam Dill

Sahil	 Jain

Sahil Jain
CEO @ AdStage

Sue Khim

Sue Khim
Founder @ Brilliant

Ben	Nader

Ben Nader
Founder @ Butterfleye

Abby Kiefer

Abby Kiefer
Founder @RedClay

Jacqui Boland

Jacqui Boland
Founder @ RedTri

Rahul Vohra

Rahul Vohra
CEO @ Rapportive

Zach Melamed

Zach Melamed
VP of Engineering @ Connect

Rose Broome

Rose Broome
Founder @ HandUp

Ben Dowling

Ben Dowling

Geoffrey Clapp

Geoffrey Clapp
Founder @ GetBetter

Judging Criteria

  • Technical Achievement
    A 1-10 scale will be used to evaluate the technical achievement the team has tackled during the event.
  • Product Vision
    1-10 scale will be used to evaluate the product vision. Judges will be looking for products that have the ability to disrupt current markets and capture large market share.
  • Design
    A 1-10 scale will be used to evaluate the products design. Judges will be looking for products that have exceptional design attributes that would appeal to the end-user.
  • Investability
    A 1-10 scale will be used to judge the projects investment feasibility. Projects will judged on attractiveness to investors.

How to enter

1.  Register each individual team member using the "Register for this hackathon" button at the top of this page.

2.  Teams must be consist of 2-4 team members.

3.  Use the message button to recruit additional team members.

4.  All individuals will be vetted by the LAUNCH Hackathon team.  All participant profiles must include a list of development skills and a minimum of one portfolio submission for consideration.  Participants not meeting this criteria will not be invited to attend this event.


Individuals should not try to circumvent the important role that LAUNCH Hackathon sponsorship plays.  For example, recruiters and software companies who want to get in front of the 1k+ developers at our event should contact and buy everyone coffee or lunch one of the days.  Anyone trying to go around this system is working against the spirit of the event. So please don't do something lame like litter the event with flyers advertising job openings, or have your team all wear t-shirts for your rack-hosting platform, or park a food truck outside, when you can go the proper – and affordable – route of sponsorship.  If you're not sure if you're crossing the line, just email us at