Hackathons are intended to be stimulants for developer’s minds, a kind of mixture between endurance and technical skill that usually ends if not with a finished product then, at the very least, a sense of accomplishment.
But, sometimes, a hackathon can also serve as a stimulant to a team’s bank account, to the tune of a casual couple million dollars in funding. Here are five times a simple hackathon became an entire future:
1) Appetas: The two-man team of current CEO Keller Smith and current CTO Curtis Fonger developed the idea behind Appetas at a 2012 AngelHack Competition, during which they took home the $25,000 first place prize. Appetas, essentially a web-site builder for eating establishments, then managed to raise an additional $120,000 in funding. In May of this year, Google of all places bought Appetas, which means Fonger and Smith’s creation will be folded into a multitude of different services. The exact buying price was not disclosed, but word on the street is Google has a lot of money.
2) Carousell: Startup Weekend is a non-profit based in Seattle, but it holds hackathons in basically every corner of the world. In 2012, Startup Weekend just so happened to take place in Singapore, and Lucas Ngoo and Quek Siu Rui were taking part, the first time either had ever participated in a hackathon. It was there they conceptualized Carousell, an app that simplifies the process of selling unwanted household clutter. The first time turned out to be the charm for Carousell which took home first place at Startup Weekend 2012. As of November of 2014, Carousell has raised $6 million in funding, money the company plans on using to continue expanding into Malaysia, Indonesia, and Taiwan.
3) GroupME: Four years ago, when the idea of a group message was nightmare, GroupMe came along and Gizmodo called it a “lifechanger.” The app, now basically a household name, began as an idea at TechCrunch Disrupt 2010, from the minds of Jared Hecht and Steve Martocci. Investors jumped on the easy group-messaging app from the start, and by 2011 Hecht and Martocci raised $850,000 in funding. Just a year out from the hackathon in which the app got its start, Skype acquired GroupMe for $80 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.
4) Docracy: Another TechCrunch alum! Just a year after GroupMe took over TechCrunch 2010, Matt Hall and John Watkinson took home one of the top prizes for designing Docracy, an app that enables small businesses to locate legal documents safely and easily. Just an astounding seven months after the hackathon, Hall and Watkinson were able to obtain $650,000 in funding.
Related Link: Can One Hackathon Unite The World?
5) Zaarly: Success can be defined by many things. One incredibly random definition of success is the endorsement of both LeVar Burton and Demi Moore on Twitter. Around $15 million in funding is nice, too. Such is the case with Zaarly, an app designed for the hiring and scheduling service experts of all kinds. Zaarly, co-created by Bo Fishback, Eric Koester and Ian Hunter, began at yet another Startup Weekend competition, a 2011 event held in Los Angeles. According to Business Insider, Zaarly has managed to raise an impressive $15.1 million in funding since Startup Weekend LA. The fact that at least some of that $15.1 million came from the host of Reading Rainbow is its own small victory in itself.
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