Join us in welcoming our keynote speaker Ken Thompson

An American pioneer of Computer Science, he created the B programming language which laid foundation for the C programming language, as well as received a Turing award for his implementation of the UNIX operating system.


What's it about?

A hackathon is a coding marathon where teams comprised of developers, designers, and entrepreneurs work together to create apps and programs. It’s up to you and your team to come up with the most novel solution to the problems you see. No need to come to the event with an idea or a team. There will be spontaneous eruptions of ideas and team formations. But, if you have an idea for a project, bring it, propose it, create a team, have fun. Founded in 2014 by Mark Adams, Doug Erickson, and Brent Haddad, this event has become the premier hackathon of the Central Coast.

I would like to sponsor!

Fantastic! Go to
APPLY TO SPONSOR (link coming soon) and check out our Sponsorship pamphlet for more information!

What are the basic rules?

Apps and product demos must be coded during the 2.5 day duration of the hackathon. This means no pre-written code may be used, other than open-source and stacks e.g., LAMP, MEAN, METEOR, etc. Participants can leave the event venue at any time and code elsewhere. All participants are required to use Github to prove that code written was indeed written during the event. Code authenticity (event generated) will only apply to the finalists. Pre-installed software (e.g., IDE's) is fine. There are no restrictions on coding languages used. Third party APIs and SDKs can be used.

Is there a social site for this event?

Yes. Like us on Facebook and Join our Facebook group to interact with other attendees

Who can participate?

Hackers: Any currently enrolled student from high school though graduate school can compete. Teams can be formed at the event or beforehand.

Mentors / non-students: Mentors aka non-students may assist student teams. Mentors typically have mad crazy skills in engineering, business, and/or design. Mentors can also propose projects, or slices of projects from their businesses or departments. If the team should win, mentors will NOT be entitled to any prize money or prizes.

Teams can be formed prior the event, or during the event. Each team must have a minimum of 2 persons, a maximum of 5 persons, with up to an additional 2 Mentors. Example: 5 students + 2 Mentors.

Some hackathons are free, so why the entry fee?

We would love to do this for free! But like all great events and good times, everything has a cost. You will receive 2.5 days of food, beverage, an awesome tshirt, a chance to win $70k in prizes and cash, and...a fun lifetime learning experience. Build your skills, be a hero, invent your future now! Talk to your school advisor if you aren't able to pay the fee. Or talk to us. Where there is a Will, there is a Way. Send us an email at telling us a bit about yourself and why you'd like to attend this year's hacakthon.

Is this an overnighter?

Yes. In fact, two overnights: Friday and Saturday. Hacking starts right after the hackathon kickoff on Friday. The venue will be open at all times during this time. You are welcome to bring your pillows and sleeping bags for overnight hacking. If you are under 18 years of age, a parent will be required to sign the Parental Consent Form.

Are there categories?

Detailed breakdown here. Simplified breakdown here:

Innovation: Any project that tackles a problem or idea with a unique technical solution. For example, a game for finding roommates, an app for finding an exercise class, a website that collects and shows data for a cause, etc.

Tech Cares: Any project with a focus on solving social, agricultural, or environmental issues. Winners will be able to donate to their favorite non-profit from a separate fund from Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County.

More coming soon! Do not worry, more categories are on their way.

How is it judged?

Judges from the Santa Cruz tech community will score the resulting projects on their relevance to the themes, technical merit, and idea novelty. In Round 1, Teams will present to two judges; they will pick one primary winner and a runner-up. In Round 3, primary winner teams will present to all judges, and three (3) winning teams will be selected for each category (Innovation, Tech Cares, Labor Tech). Look at our judging criteria here. The winners will be announced at the Awards Dinner. The Awards Dinner audience will vote on a People's Choice winner. Additional non-cash prizes will be available at the event for all participants.

Use Slack!

Join our Slack Group (link coming soon) - ask a staff member for an invite if you don't have address.


The prizes and awards for each Award Category are going to be announced in the next coming months.

All awards & prizes, including cash, material goods, services, etc. are subject to change at the discretion of the Organizers.

I am interested in being a judge. What is the process?

Great! Our judges will be carefully selected for each award category. have previous experience as a hackathon judge, and experience with tech. For more details, go to APPLY TO BE A JUDGE, complete the form. We will get back to you two (2) weeks prior to the event.

A few more questions?

Please submit your questions via email: We will respond to you within 48 hours.

What are the Terms & Conditions?

We have a few. For your reading pleasure: Terms & Conditions

January 20, 2017

  • 7pm - Sponsor Setup. Special parking permits will be provided.
  • 8pm - Doors Open. Registration for all participants. Dinner will be provided.
  • 9:30pm - Opening Ceremonies
  • 10pm - Pitch Sessions, Q&A

January 22, 2017

  • 7am - Breakfast
  • 10am - Code Freeze
  • 11am - Closing Speakers, Lunch
  • 1pm - Round 1 Judging
  • 3p - Round 2 Judging
  • 4:30pm - Winners Announced
  • 6pm - Awards Dinner