Money20/20 Hackathon to help drive mobile payment innovation

By Jonathan Crowl

Hackathons bring together teams of developers, designers and project managers to solve problems and advance current solutions — all within a very short, specified timeframe. The Money20/20 Hackathon is geared toward advancing mobile app development, particularly where mobile payments are concerned.

Since 2012, the event has attracted all types of developers and corporate participants hoping to uncover new approaches to mobile payment innovation. It only makes sense that Las Vegas was chosen as the host city — this party is all about managing money better than ever.

But instead of tossing money down on gaming tables, participants are trying to create usable, innovative software and win the cold, hard cash prize through mobile smarts and high performance under pressure. Here is an overview of this year’s Money20/20 Hackathon:

How the Hackathon works

As Money20/20 explains on its website, the coding contest is part of a larger industry conference focused on mobile and digital payments. In just 24 hours, talented developers from around the world come together and form teams that build various financial tech and e-commerce innovations. These mobile solutions are built using APIs and SDKs from major payment service providers, including MasterCard, PayPal and ModoPayments.

At the end of the competition, each of the 10 sponsoring companies names a winning team. Those remaining 10 teams will compete for a prize pot of $125,000 in prizes.

That’s a ton of money up for grabs for just 24 hours of work. Some participants even receive $250 travel stipends to incentivize their trip to Las Vegas. Those financial stakes have been successful at luring top talent, and brands have taken notice.

Why brands want to participate

For any participating brand that sponsors a competition, the rewards are significant. It gets access to new mobile payment solutions developed by top talent specifically for their brand and services. Though the participants retain ownership of their products, sponsoring brands have an inside track to acquisition because the solutions are designed specifically for their needs.

In that way, the Hackathon functions as a mini-accelerator program, bringing in a variety of talent and project ideas to find new solutions for improving mobile payment platforms. The lessons and technologies coming from this action-packed event could prove indispensable as brands seek a larger market share of mobile payments and, more fundamentally, increased mobile payment activity from the average consumer.

Developers benefit, too

In addition to the financial considerations, developers have plenty of other incentives to attend the conference and participate in the coding contest. Since its inaugural event in 2012, the Money20/20 Hackathon has seen attendance rise from 2,300 to a projected 10,500 attendees this year.

That includes more than 3,000 C-level executives and representation from 3,000 companies. Given that level of focus and attention, developers don’t need to win to benefit from attending and participating. Their performances in the 24-hour event could lead to opportunities with other companies who come away impressed with their work. The competition provides a valuable spotlight to showcase their talents and raise their prospects for future ventures.

Written By

Jonathan Crowl


Jonathan Crowl has served as a tech writer and reporter for a number of tech publications and corporations. Specializing in mobile technology and digital startups, he is based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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