Miami Hack Week: This August, Miami plans to hack its way to engineering fame

By Riley Kaminer

Miami Hack Week kicks off Aug 1 - and it won't be your standard-issue hackathon. It’s so Miami.

Are you an entrepreneurial coder? Are you looking for some equally ambitious co-founders for your startup? Are you looking to see what the Miami tech scene is all about?

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, and you are available from August 1st-8th, then Miami Hack Week might be just for you.

This is far from the average hackathon. Forget about an impersonal banquet hall teeming with engineers. Miami Hack Week is decentralized, with a series of individual houses participating. But don’t worry, the team is planning in-person meetups throughout the city, so there will be no shortage of human interaction.

Dave Fontenot and Lucy Guo of engineering-focused early stage fund Backend Capital, and Ja’dan Johnson of Upstream, are organizing the event.

Lucy Guo

“We’ve curated a unique hackathon experience,” said Johnson. “Instead of taking one or two thousand people and pushing them into a single room, we're bringing them together and having different locations across the city. It is a much more intimate way to experience Miami, while building here.”

Participants can come together to curate their own house, or join one of the houses that is already set up. This includes a hard tech house, a house co-hosted by investment firms 305 Ventures and Dragon Global, the  Pallet House in MiMo and  Casa Lula (the Vega-Sanz brothers promise a Cuban night feast - guayaberas optional?).

Also recently revealed: The Showtime Blackdove House for Web3/NFT/DeFi hacks. And not to be outdone in the crypto/blockchain hack space, Auston Bunsen says Casa de QuickNode offers an "amazing rooftop BBQ" plus an event lineup that includes Anthony Pompliano and Preethi Kasireddy. 

This just In: The Backend Oasis

Backend Oasis, open to all for collaboration, will be the official #MiamiHackWeek HQ, but hackers must RSVP to secure access.  

Ja'dan Johnson

Johnson explained that each house can offer its own prizes based on its theme. But the hosts of Miami Hack Week also plan to award an overall cash prize, as judged by Guo, Brian Brackeen of Lightship Capital, Michael Sayman of Roblox, Francesca de Quesada of  TheVentureCity, and this just in: Keith Rabois of Founders Fund. There will also be a yacht party experience awarded to the winning house. So Miami.

The goal of the event, according to Johnson, is to “bring massive amounts of developers together,” in an effort to combat the assertion that Miami does not have top engineering talent.

“We also want the community to be a part of this experience,” said Johnson. While he hinted that the public will be able to interact with participants at different points, details are still top secret.

However, Johnson told Refresh Miami that there will definitely be a kick off event on Sunday. The hack house sponsored by corporate card company Ramp has announced a pool party and barbeque on Wednesday evening, and there's a poker tournament at the Pallet House on Thursday. On Friday, participants will show off – and be judged on – their creations in a science fair-style expo, which will also include a closing event, with over $25K in cash and prizes, organizers say. Community members are announcing events too, such as Mana Tech hosting a welcome event at Le Rouge on Monday.

UPDTE: Click this link for an updated schedule of events for the week.

The Miami Hack Week will be subsidized by local tech companies and investors – at least nine sponsors have signed on so far –  and will therefore be free to participants. 

While plenty of hackers have signed up so far,  more sponsors are needed for houses, venues and prizes, Guo says.

Miami Tech Week's website states that hackers are welcome to continue working remotely during the day while “hacking away for the hackathon in the evenings.”

Follow @miamihackweek on Twitter for the latest updates, and get your questions answered.

Aspiring hackers can learn more and apply to houses by visiting MiamiHackWeek.com. But hurry, the application deadline is July 30. The deadline was extended until July 31 for college students.

 

This story is developing and is being updated as  more details emerge (most recent update: 7/31). Nancy Dahlberg contributed to this report.

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Riley Kaminer