This year’s Hackagong has seen the largest turnout since it was founded in 2012, with almost 50 teams competing for a prize pool of more than $100,000.
The annual competition for entrepreneurs, developers and designers attracted a record 135 participants over the weekend. Teams from Melbourne, Sydney and even overseas travelled to Wollongong in regional New South Wales to participate.
Nathan Waters, founder of Hackagong, told StartSmart he was very happy with the turnout.
“It was massive – much bigger than last year,” he says.
“We sold 150 tickets and had 135 competitors across 45 teams.”
The overall winner of Hackagong 2014 was a team comprised of Caleb Avery, Richard Kennard, Michael Burton and Brooke Burton for their startup Infobahn – an internet-connected chicken hatchery.
The Infobahn team won a prize package worth more than $42,000, including web hosting from Rackspace and coding courses courtesy of CoderFactory. Waters says the prize package is aimed at helping the winning team turn their prototype into a viable tech startup.
“The whole reason we started Hackagong was to start a startup and maker culture in the community,” he says.
“By giving the overall winner that prize package… they can keep working. It worked in 2012: the 2012 winners are still operating their startup and hadn’t met before the weekend.”
Other prize winners this year included RentLeft – a startup aimed at automating rental applications – which won the people’s choice award. Meanwhile, Best Internet of Things Device Hack was picked up by Qlock, a startup which replaces all of a user’s pad locks and combination locks with a Qlock and their smartphone.
Waters says 3D printing, hardware hacks and the Internet-of-Things were all popular this year. For next year’s competition, he hopes to introduce additional prize categories – such as best drone or Oculus Rift startup.
“It proves all these people – students, young people – have various skills and can build something awesome and innovative in a weekend,” he says.