Hackathons

All Right, Who Wants to Sponsor This: TechStars Alums Launch Hackathon in the Tropics

costa rica house All Right, Who Wants to Sponsor This: TechStars Alums Launch Hackathon in the Tropics

Not bad: The Startup Workaway office.

TechStars alum Nick Tommarello can’t work in the cold, so it only makes sense that he would organize a start-up hackathon on an equatorial beach, right? This morning Mr. Tommarello, along with Nick PlanteGreg BeloteZach Iglis, and “a few others” launched Startup Workaway, a ten-day trip for 20 “developers, designers, engineers, & biz guys” who want to “get stuff done” for eight hours a day in a beautiful house in Costa Rica.

“We believe magic happens when a bunch of smart people are stuck in the same room. We hope life-long friendships (and a few companies) will form,” the website says.

Six applicants have confirmed, Mr. Tommarello told Betabeat, but he’s pretty sure he hasn’t received any from New Yorkers yet. “I expect 90 percent of the applications will come in on the deadline on Friday,” he said.

The cost is $500 per person and the organizers are expecting they may have to subsidize the costs themselves, but they’ve found one sponsor and are scheming to get more. “Working on more right now, so it doesn’t all come out of my pocket! Plus I’d like to do the next one in a castle,” Mr. Tommarello said.

So is this vacation/hackathon going to be the opposite of the the how-can-we-make-this-more-extreme trend in hackfests epitomized infamous Startup Bus hackathon, which took place over three days on a no-frills coach? Not quite. “You can count on the lodging, some sort of food, and wifi. Otherwise, this ain’t the Ritz. If there’s a problem, we hope you can fix it yourself,” the site says. But, the site says, every day will include three hours of mandatory fun! “We want to keep it light. We’ll have a few group adventures, some peer-taught classes, and a half-hour daily demo.”

The idea came about when Mr. Tommarello and four others were in New York for a Techstars reunion and rented a swanky apartment near Union Square for $50/person on Airbnb. “We were like, ‘We gotta do this overseas!’” he said.
“Seems like it would be more productive in Siberia,” Yipit founder Vinicius Vacanti speculated on Twitter. “I’m most productive lying in a hammock with a laptop!” Mr. Tommarello disagreed.

Applications are due by May 6.

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