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Hackagong: Australia’s largest independent hackathon ready to ignite innovation

There is nothing more exciting, more innovative and more empowering over a short period of time then a hackathon.

Starting in Silicon Valley and reaching across the globe, Hackathons have challenged and aided teams of designers, coders and innovators to make something incredible in a matter of hours. Hackathons are run everywhere – from Google to the NSW Government’s Govhack 2014 – in an attempt to create new products and services, while also allowing leading organisations to source talent.

Hackagong, Wollongong’s own independent hackathon, believes in igniting local community startup and maker organisations in the Illawarra and beyond.

The largest independent hackathon in Australia, Hackagong started in 2012 with 90 competitors (in groups), and $11,000 prize money. Hackagong has grown to an expected 140 competitors in this year’s event, with over $100,000 worth of prizes and giveaways. The major prize winner is eligible for over $42,000 worth of prizes including cash, web hosting, business advice and much more.

Many million-dollar ideas have come out of hackathons, and large technology corporations, venture capitalists and the like keep their eyes open to the innovation and technology breakthroughs that come out of them. For example, GroupMe, a group messaging service which was built in under 48 hours at the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon in 2010, was purchased by Skype in a multi-million dollar deal. Another fantastic example is Docracy, a proof-of-concept service which came out of the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon in 2011. The service won first prize and creators Matt Hall and John Watkinson decided to make a business out of it. Several months later they received just under one million dollars in funding.

Closer to home, our overall winners for 2012, Team Giftling, created a gift crowdfunding service and received cold hard cash, desks at a coworking organisation, plus business advice. So far, Team Giftling have raised over $85,000 on the platform and it is now used by the Kidswish Foundation and the Australian Greens.

In 2013, Team Liquid Wallet travelled all the way from Melbourne to compete in the event. They created and prototyped their new wallet idea, made using the 3D printers available during the weekend (Hackagong offers one of Australia’s only 3D printing categories in a hackathon). Liquid Wallet have just finished a very successful kickstarter, raising almost $18,000 which smashed their expected target. They’re now mass-producing their product and expecting to expand further with their innovative product range.

Another team in 2013 called Sideprojectors raised the eyes of media giants such as Huffington Post, TechFeed and Business Daily with their active marketplace for second-hand startups. The site continues to grow.

Hackathons help local designers, coders and makers get their startup off the ground, and generally provide the mentoring and tools these participants need to get the correct business advice to push their startup to become the next big thing. Hackagong aims to build on the solid successes of its past to ignite local communities and economics in a team where Australia is screaming out for innovation.

So, what could you build at Hackagong?

Tickets are still available and more information can be found on our website.

This is a guest post from our friends at Hackagong.

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Man coding at Hackagong
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