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.
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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.