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How to run a Perfect Online Hackathon.

Want to run a state-of-the-art online hackathon? In this post, we will examine in detail all the steps. This is a real case of one of KreativDistrikt’s successful past global events. We selected developers worldwide to create a thermal app, capable of making the most of thermal camera features.

Request the full PDF article with an Excel work back. Contact us to guide you in your project!


Online Hackathon Website

A good, clear and engaging website is crucial. Take a look at the one we designed.

It contains all the main sections. Consider it while designing your online hackathon website.

Registration form

Of course, it’s important to get contact details but trying to understand if registrants are serious about the hackathon could also important. Therefore, we asked them to provide the following:

  • Perceived Effectiveness. That is, how effectively the idea/solution addresses issues related to one of the four challenge categories (If the challenge has categories)
  • Technical Feasibility. I.e., how technically feasible would the solution be to create and produce.
  • Uniqueness. In brief, how unique the idea/solution is? Moreover, how can it help promote the usage of the challenge technologies and/or products?
  • Business Potential. For instance, how much short and long term revenue potential would the idea represent? Also, how feasible the proposed business model would be to implement?

At last, this WordPress plugin will help you keep track of the registration form in a simple way and. At the same time, you don’t need to know much about databases.

A guide to a perfect Online Hackathon


How to find participants for your online hackathon


Let’s assume, for instance, that your client expects to have 65 teams from around the world. That said, you would like to choose 10 great ideas out of them. At this point, it’s time to set up your outreach campaign. In this case, these were the best options:

  • Own Database.
  • Facebook Campaign.
  • Linkedin Campaign.


Own Database

We have a very extensive database in EMEA. Especially in western EU and Dubai and Tel Aviv in the Middle east. Of course, this helped us quickly connect with developers. In addition, we also relied on Freshsales CRM. As a matter of fact, this is a useful software to manage targeted audiences. Specifically, we kept track of the number of people that opened the email. Also, click links and bounce rates were monitored. There’s plenty of similar CRM software available. Indeed, just choose the one that most fits your needs.

Preparing an online hackathon


Once we got a minimum of 40 registrants, we scheduled a couple of explanatory webinars. Surely, you want to do this before the selection announcement.

Google Meet is a valuable tool in that sense. Firstly, you can add up a considerable amount of people. Secondly, you can also register a video. Lastly, you can upload and share it with stakeholders that couldn’t attend it for any reason.

In these calls, we went through any technical aspect of the challenge. In sum, we clarified any registrants’ doubt collecting requests and suggestions.

Only if your online hackathon is global, try to find a suitable time for each country.

Webinar at an Online Hackathon


Once the selected 10 out of 65 registrants were chosen, we called them directly. This was done to make sure they had the intent to effectively participate. Certainly, this is crucial to find committed teams that won’t give up early in the competition.

Consequently, we announced the selected ideas on our website. The outcomes were also communicated via tailored emails to each participant.

Online hackathon prizes

Find out how many people you should reach to meet your registrants goal

Finding participants online it's easier. You're not limited to a particular geographic region and you don't have to take care of a venue and its costs. Developers can take their time to deliver a quality product. This is because stress due to time constraints is way less than a 3-days physical event.

Slide the bar to know how many developers you should reach to find your final registrants! Online hackathons reach beautiful skills that could be hidden somewhere far.
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People outreached by campaign
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Do you need help with the organization? We are here to support you!


Undeniably, you want to keep track of project progress. Another key point is monitoring participants commitment. To this end, we set the following 4 milestones. As can be seen, be delivered before the Project Submission:

#1 – Essay: this document explains the idea behind the app. Nonetheless, it should also describe the methods and laying outflows and features.

#2 – Mockup Demo: It’s a basic visual prototype. However, it also gives a look and feel of the future app. This is useful to test the core concepts and clear the loose ends.

 #3 – Overall Progress Report:  This document, above all, allows you to make strategic decisions. For example, project deadlines extensions and new dedicated technical support channels. Moreover, we didn’t want our participants to rush in crossing the line. We want them to develop the right product instead.

#4 – Final video: That is when participants showcase the different structures of the app they designed.

 #5 – Project Submission: Make clear from the beginning how you want the project delivered. In particular, language required, email a ZIP file, Apple App Store / Google Play Store, etc.

Organising an Online Hackathon


Make sure to involve all project stakeholders. Furthermore, nominate a diverse internal panel. Generally, the winning project discussions should last 2 weeks:

  • Technical Experts.
  • Marketing Experts.
  • Project Managers.
  • Sales Managers.

Above all, this gave us a 360-degree opinion about what happened during the online hackathon. This is done both from the development and sales sides likewise. Most importantly, you want your projects to thrive in the respective markets. In like fashion, you don’t want to forget about technical aspects.

The Perfect guide Online Hackathon


And the winner is…


Spread the word in many ways:

  • Online hackathon website update.
  • Posts on social media.
  • Online blog articles.

For instance, one can provide teams’ company and project links. Also, honourable mentions, prize pool and information about the future events should be included.

Mobile thermal app online hackathon


  • First of all, always consider a 20% to 30% cancellation rate. For instance, add a “wild card” team that could replace a quitter.
  • Secondly, when setting milestones and webinars, always consider the team’s different time zones. In like manner, remember when country regional holidays are. E.g., make sure to set your schedule when everyone is available. In addition, make clear that English is the unique hackathon language.
  • Moreover, don’t overwhelm teams with tasks. Keep them simple, useful and easy to deliver.
  • Further, communicate frequently with participants. I.e., send updates and reminder emails. Keep them engaged day by day and to monitor progress. To this end, writing a few days before a deadline or right after it could be a good idea. “Thank you for your milestone! Now it’s time to work on the next one…”
  • In addition, extending the Project Submission Deadline is not a crime. You want them to develop a good product. 
  • Spend time building the online Hackathon website. Indeed, share it with audiences, including the team’s website links. It’s good for your SEO / traffic and therefore future online hackathon projects.
  • At last, ask participants to share the online hackathon website link. Again, good for your SEO and company visibility.

Request the full PDF article here!

Receive an email with the full PDF and an Excel file. Register here to get more information. Learn how to build your own Virtual Hackathon.

Would like to create your own Hackathon? Feel free to contact us.

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