Why Startups Should Add Hackathons to Their Marketing Arsenal

Hackathons provide a great way for your startup to generate real buzz, gain industry supporters and recruit great talent.


As soon as you start contemplating the idea of starting a new business you should start networking — start getting involved in the communities in the industry your business is in. Building your community as soon as possible will make all your marketing efforts that much easier. For blockchain and or crypto developments this can mean building your profiles and engaging on platforms such as Reddit, Bitcointalk, Telegram, and Linkedin but communities are not just digital — they are also human. Meetups, conferences, events, industry panels, and my favorite, hackathons should be added to your marketing arsenal.

Hackathons, a sprint like an event that usually takes place over a weekend, initially originated around programmers, but have expanded to include hackathons for causes, gaming, robotics, artificial intelligence, automotive…the opportunities are endless. They are a great way to bring people together and work on projects with help from the community.

Hackathons are great at strengthening a brands presence in the community and for great networking opportunities not just for participants but also for hackathon producers. They are great for building camaraderie among the community and the value of the confidence and creativity nurtured in such a short time is priceless. Hackathons can open individuals, groups and organizations to new possibilities, new ways of thinking and be a great introduction to the community about you and your company.

To get started creating your hackathon event check out what some of the top hackathon organizations and events are doing. If you don’t have the resources to create your own hackathon get involved with an already existing one — participate as a sponsor, mentor, participant or speaker.


One group that has the hackathon technique down to a science is Canadian non-profit CryptoChicks. CryptoChicks, a blockchain educational hub for women, was founded in July 2017 by Elena Sinelnikova and co-founder Natalie Ameline. Elena’s vision for CryptoChicks was to empower and inspire women interested in learning about cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Elena is a software development team leader “turned serial entrepreneur,” who believes women are significantly underrepresented in technology. Natalia’s expertise lies primarily in strategic financial planning, and she, like Elena, believes women are an immensely talented, albeit untapped, resource in the technological world.

CryptoChicks 2019 Toronto Hackathon and Conference Already the Talk of the Town

Currently, the 2019 calendar for CryptoChicks includes hackathon events in Switzerland, Pakistan and their Toronto hackathon set for the end of May 2019 is already generating a lot of buzz due to featured speaker Ethereum inventor Vitalik Buterin.


DeveloperWeek is the world’s largest developer expo and conference series with over 8,000 participants. During DeveloperWeek the focus is on new development technologies like HTML 5, Python, Javascript, Robotics Dev, Data Science, and Machine Learning.
Past event hosts and supporters of DeveloperWeek have included Google, Oracle, Facebook, IBM, Cloudera, Red Hat, Optimizely, SendGrid, Blackberry, Microsoft, Neo Technology, Eventbrite, Klout, Built.io, Ripple, GNIP, Tagged, HackReactor, etc.

Hundreds of developers participate in the DeveloperWeek Hackathon which kicks off DeveloperWeek. Participants will build web and mobile apps that solve real-world crowd-voted challenges.

HackZurich, possibly the largest hackathon in Europe, is an annual, non-stop coding competition run for 40 hours that’s held in Zurich, Switzerland. This hackathon is a popular hackathon amongst participants because the event is free to join, comes with complimentary food and drink, and is a part of the larger Digital Festival Zurich. You can enter a team or if your solo you can join a team at the event. A great event for all types of coders.
TechCrunch Disrupt
TechCruch Disrupt is an international series of events that takes place in New York City, San Francisco and Berlin. The TechCrunch Disrupt events largely revolve around early stage startups that compete for prize money, media attention and venture capital. TechCrunch Disrupt’s 24-hour hackathon gives coders an incredible opportunity to be mentored by industry professionals, connect with investors and have fun with fellow coders.

Dames Making Games — Damage Camp

Dames Making Games — Damage Camp

Though technically not a hackathon, but an incredibly fun, great twist to a traditional conference, Dames Making Games, a not-for-profit videogame arts organization that runs a wide range of programs and events for women, nonbinary, femme and queer folks interested in games, launched their conference series for gaming enthusiasts, called Damage Camp.

Damage Camp features a single track of talks from 12 Toronto- and Montreal-based artists, developers and researchers working in mainstream and independent games, highlighting connections between the arts and cultural community and Canada’s booming tech and games industries. For the event they create an arcade of 16 new and unreleased games that is opened during the conference which takes place at the Toronto Media Arts Centre (TMAC) a new media arts centre and festival hub in the heart of Toronto’s Art & Design District dedicated to a community-based, accessible approach to the advancement of culture and technology. Members include Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre, Charles Street Video, DMG, and Gamma Space. tomediaarts.org

Projects Incubated in Hackathons

A recent CryptoChicks hackathon event in NYC saw the development of a project put together by Casie N. Kesterson that combines the research of art historians, museums, auction houses, galleries, publishers, and archives with blockchain technology, that would provide a speedier, less costly method to conduct thorough research that validates ownership and transactions for works of art with the initial phase of the project focussing on utilizing copyright clear documentation that would aid those working with Nazi looted art. Their Toronto hackathon event in 2018 saw an interesting project put forward by Rachel O’Neill, Natalie Chin, and Sally Yip; Reg-A-Star, a civil registration tool, intended to provide biometric birth registration services to areas where access is limited or non-existent. By having everyone’s birth registered and being able to prove a child’s true age you could prevent human rights abuses such as child marriage and underage conscription into the military.

Hackathons provide a great way for your startup business to generate real buzz, gain industry supporters and recruit great talent. It is valuable, organic brand exposure that can hold the key to your startup becoming the talk of the community and who knows, you may help launch an interesting project with great social impact.

Audrey Nesbitt

SpinSpirational Marketing & PR

Audrey Nesbitt on Linkedin

@AudreyNesbitt11 on Twitter

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