Launch Hackathon To Give Out $1.6 Million In Prize Money

The Launch hackathon will be hosted for three days next week and the San Francisco-based event will hand out $1.6 million in prizes.

Launch was created by web entrepreneur Jason Calacanis. His spinoff company AngelList Syndicate is taking advantage of the JOBS Act which allows accredited investors to contribute venture funding to existing deals.

Calacanis, who has already invested in more than 25 companies, is using Launch as a way to find and cultivate new talent.

The three-day long even features more than 1,000 developers and speaking at the event is Digg founder and Google Ventures partner Kevin Rose.

The event is not a free-for-all, as Calacanis says more than 50% of all applicants were turned down.

With $1.6 million up for grabs, including $800,000 to the hackathons top two developers, it wasn’t hard to find programmers looking for an invitation. Between Calacanis and Kevin Rose they reached more than one million followers on social media.

Last year Calacanis gave $100,000 to WizzyWig, a CMS tool that works without behind the scenes coding. That project was immediately accepted into the Y Combinator startup accelerator program.

Patrick Conway, the co-founder of WizzyWig, says last years hackathon has been a “life-changing event.”

According to Jason Calacanis the Launch Fund currently holds $10 million in funding and will invest in 50 startups over the next three to five years.

Calacanis is not afraid to use his celebrity as a tech startup mogul to quickly accelerate the companies he invests in. He tells Mashable that having him on a company’s board immediately brings it to the second or third level of play.

Stay tuned because there is a good chance that next weeks Launch Hackathon will give us a glimpse into the future of the internet, even if only by way of a few new startups.

Do you think hackathons are the best way to find America’s next big tech platform?

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