How to Price a Hackathon


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Hackathon in the dictionaryI have noticed that rates for hackathon sponsorships are blowing up. I’m not the only one. I’ve have sat down at tables with fellow evangelists from other companies even before I was one myself and this topic always comes around. As Nick wrote last year, these high-stakes events are pricing out evangelists that add a lot to events.

Recently, my friends from back in Puerto Rico asked me for some feedback on the sponsorship document they were working on for HackPR’s third hackathon. I figured I would write them based on my opinions on what I believe sponsorship tiers must look like.

Having previously organized Puerto Rico’s first hackathon and now as an Evangelist, I have a strong belief that Evangelists and APIs play a strong role in hackathons and shouldn’t be pushed aside.

Here are the three hackathon tiers I shared.

API Tier

  • API Demo (5 minutes maximum)
  • Distribute Swag
  • Required to give a prize
  • Evangelists/Engineers are more than welcomed

If no representative can be sent, a web-demo can be given and the API prize will be chosen by the event organizers.

Plug-ins

  • Logo on t-Shirts
  • Logo on website
  • Pop-up banner
  • Resume book

Non-API Company

Level 1

  • Logo on website
  • Logo on t-Shirts
  • Distribute swag
  • Resume book
  • Recruiters on-site
  • Can give prize
  • Workshop (15–30 mins)

Level 2

  • Level 1
  • Booth
  • Pre-Access to resumes/GitHub/LinkedIn
  • Interview rooms
  • Info-session (30 mins maximum)

Plug-ins

  • Co-Sponsor
  • Keynotes
  • Pre/Post Company Event

Keep in mind, a workshop is not an info-session. In a workshop, it is expected that a topic should be taught. In an info-session the company will try to promote itself as much as possible.

Plug-in System

The plug-in system will basically provide à la carte offerings. Of course, each plug-in will have an additional cost. That is where bundles/deals can be made that will benefit both sides.

Example for HackPR

HackPR is aiming for 300 attendees. It will be 24 hours long and supply food, transportation, and prizes. My suggestion was to set the API Tier for $250. Make the plug-ins vary between $75-150 each. Meanwhile, the Non-API Tier Level 1 would start at $500 and Level 2 would be $1000. The plug-ins in this scenario could range from $200-500 on the example above.

This is obviously a specific scenario, but hopefully it will give you a sense on how to set your pricing.

Do you want to see SendGrid at a hackathon? Check out the events calendar to see when we’ll be near you.


Puerto Rican and hackNY '13 fellow. Always looking to hack/experiment something new. You can follow me @elbuo8

Yamil Asusta on Twitter

One thought on “How to Price a Hackathon

  1. Pingback: Hackathon Tips for Developers and Evangelists

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