Hackathon at the Innovation Summit

2 Challenges. 10 Days of Hacking. 1 Demo. $7,000 in Cash Prizes.

Developers, designers, and tech pros hack for Tampa Bay.

In partnership with Suncoast Developers Guild, Code For Tampa Bay, and Tampa Bay Hackathon, the hackathon challenges at the 2018 Innovation Summit are designed to bring Tampa Bay’s top tech minds together to create positive change through technology.

10:40am, March 29th, Amalie Arena, Hub 4 Stage


In Cash Prizes Sponsored By:

ConnectWise, Sourcetoad, & Metropolitan Ministries

Registration is open until 11:59pm on March 25th.



March 19th at 6:45pm
Information Session
The Entrepreneur Collaborative Center in Ybor

Hackathon Challenges and Free Tickets are released.

Those attending the Information Session hear the challenges first and have the opportunity to ask the challengers questions.

The challenges and ticket link will be emailed to pre-registrants and published on this web page immediately following the Information Session.

A live stream of the Info Session will be published on our Info Session Facebook Event. 


March 19th – March 29th
Hackers Build Their Solutions

Hackers work at their own pace and wherever they would like. There is no centralized location for this Hackathon.

Representatives from the hackathon and challengers will be available via phone, email, and slack.


March 28th
Day One of the Innovation Summit

Every hacker receives a free two-day ticket to the Synapse Innovation Summit at Amalie Arena ($300 Value).

We will have a dedicated suite where Hackers can cowork, collaborate, and eat free food. 🙂

It is not mandatory to attend Day One.


March 29th
Demo Day at the Innovation Summit

From 10:30am – 2:00pm hackers give five-minute demos of their solutions to our judges at Amalie Arena.

At least one member from your team MUST be present to demo. 

Winners will be announced on the Amalie Arena main stage at 2:30pm.

Winners of each Hackathon Challenge receive a massive $3,500 check. 

Two Challenges

Individuals or teams of hackers will sign up to compete in one or both challenges.

The winner of each challenge will receive $3,500 no strings attached.

Challenge 1
Metropolitan Ministries Hackathon for Social Good

Metropolitan Ministries will challenge hackers to create a digital solution that improves the lives of Tampa Bay’s most vulnerable populations while also helping the non-profit thrive in the 21st century.

$3,500 Prize

Challenge 2
ConnectWise Innovation Hackathon

Based on a real problem that ConnectWise is facing today, hackers will be challenged to build an innovative solution that makes a real impact on one of Tampa’s most successful startups.

$3,500 Prize

Hackathon Rules


After hacking finishes, teams will show their projects to each other and to the judges.

You are strongly encouraged to present a demo of what you have built. Pitches or presentations are discouraged. You are not judged on the quality of your pitch or the quality of your idea. As you are judged on what you built, you’ll only hurt yourself by not showing a demo.

You are encouraged to present what you have done even if your hack is broken or you weren’t able to finish. It’s okay if you didn’t finish your hack—that happens all the time! Completion is only one part of the judging criteria, so you might still do well. Also, demoing is not just about the competition. It’s a chance to share with others what you learned and what you tried to build. In the case that you don’t have anything to demo, you can give a presentation about what you tried and what you learned. Hearing what other people learned is interesting and inspiring for other attendees.

  1. All competitors must register here. After registering you must secure your ticket using the Eventbrite link that will be emailed directly to you. By registering on Eventbrite you secure your FREE two-day pass to the entire Innovation Summit ($300 value) and your spot on demo day.
  2. At least one person from your team must be present at Amalie Arena on Thursday, March 29th from 10:30am-2pm to demo your solution.
  3. Hackers must be responsive to the Hackathon Organizers as they check in throughout the 10 days leading up to the event. Our organizing team trusts that you will put in your best effort in spite of not being in a centralized location, but we would like to have a pulse on your progress.
  4. There is no maximum or minimum team size.
  5. Hackers of all skill and experience levels are welcome to compete.
  6. Teams can gain advice and support from organizers, volunteers, sponsors, and others.
  7. All work on a project should be done between 3/19 and 3/29 at 10:30am.
  8. Teams can use an idea they had before the event.
  9. Teams can work on ideas that have already been done. Hacks do not have to be “innovative.” If somebody wants to work on a common idea they should be allowed to do so and should be judged on the quality of their hack. These days it’s hard to find something that’s fully original and teams might not know an idea has been done before anyway.
  10. Teams can work on an idea that they have worked on before (as long as they do not reuse code).
  11. Teams can use libraries, frameworks, or open-source code in their projects. Working on a project before the event and open-sourcing it for the sole purpose of using the code during the event is against the spirit of the rules and is not allowed.
  12. Adding new features to existing projects is allowed. Judges will only consider new functionality introduced or new features added during the hackathon in determining the winners.
  13. Teams must stop hacking by 10:30am on 3/29. However, teams are allowed to debug and make small fixes to their programs after time is up. e.g. If during demoing your hack you find a bug that breaks your application and the fix is only a few lines of code, it’s okay to fix that. Making large changes or adding new features is not allowed.
  14. All projects remain the intellectual property of individuals or teams that created them.
  15. By participating in the hackathon, you represent and warrant that you are the sole author and copyright owner of the project, and that the project is an original work of the team, or if the project is a work based on an existing code, that you have acquired sufficient rights to use and to authorize others; and that the project does not infringe upon any copyright or upon any other third party rights of which you are aware, and that the project is free of malware.
  16. Projects that violate the Code of Conduct are not allowed.
  17. Teams can be disqualified from the competition at the organizers’ discretion. Reasons might include but are not limited to breaking the Competition Rules, breaking the Code of Conduct, or other unsporting behavior.

Judging Criteria

Teams will be judged on these four criteria. Judges will weigh the criteria equally. During judging, participants should try to describe what they did for each criterion in their project.

  • Relevance: Did the team create a solution that addressed the design brief of the challenge?
  • Technology: How technically impressive was the hack? Was the technical problem the team tackled difficult? Did it use a particularly clever technique or did it use many different components? Did the technology involved make you go “Wow”?
  • Design: Did the team put thought into the user experience? How well designed is the interface? For a website, this might be about how beautiful the CSS or graphics are. For a hardware project, it might be more about how good the human-computer interaction is (e.g. is it easy to use or does it use a cool interface?).
  • Completion: Does the hack work? Did the team achieve everything they wanted?

These criteria will guide judges but ultimately judges are free to make decisions based on their gut feeling of which projects are the most impressive and most deserving.


It’s important to note that these judging criteria do not include:

  • How good your code is. It doesn’t matter if your code is messy, or not well commented, or uses inefficient algorithms. Hacking is about playing around, making mistakes, and learning new things. If your code isn’t production ready, we’re not going to mark you down.
  • How well you pitch. Hacking is about building and learning, not about selling.


Email: challenges@synapsefl.com