If you are looking for our friends at Vanhack… a great organization that helps companies hire tech professionals from a world of talent go to http://www.vanhack.com
September 26-27, 2020
Vanhacks Logo

Tickets sold out

Hacking and caring with

VSW LogoTTT studios logoMicrosoft logo

About VanHacks

VanHacks is an annual hackathon organized by TTT Studios around VSW dedicated to helping those helping our community. We call you, hackers of Vancouver, to join us over a weekend to create tech solutions that solve challenging issues faced by our community's not-for-profit institutions whose aim is to do social good. With your help, we can work towards building a better, more unified Vancouver.

VanHacks is designed around the mantra of acting local and thinking global. All hacks are encouraged to be published open source so that an organization in Vancouver can benefit just as much as a similar nonprofit on the other side of Canada or the other side of the World.

Groups we're serving in 2020

For VanHacks 2020, we will be bringing the hackathon online due to the current circumstances brought upon by the pandemic. Similar to previous years, hackers can get creative and pick the organization of their choice.

Use the list below to aid in your search for the non-profits that do amazing work around Vancouver, and think about how you can contribute to their cause.

Please reach out to any of these groups directly (or a nonprofit of your choice) and ask if there are any digital assets you can create that can power their mission.

Find your group
How this works
Look for a Vancouver NPO you want to hack for.
Reach out or do research to find their technical needs.
Team-up or find your team on the VanHacks slack channel.
Let the hacking begin!


Saturday - 9/26

8:00 AM

Platform opens for hanging out and mingling

Come online early to hangout, mingle and bounce ideas off other hackers before the event starts.

9:00 AM

Opening Ceremony & QA Session

Participants will be informed of the challenges for the hackathon, what kind of applications they are expected to realize, judges, judging criteria, mentors, rules and any other information.

9:30 AM

Team building in Teams

Join Microsoft for a fun introduction to working in the Teams environment. Whether you have used Teams before or not, this will help you get the most out of the platform for VanHacks 2020.

10:00 AM

Hacking Begins!

The challenge begins! Make sure to send us your team name and chosen problem to solve. Mentors will be available throughout most of the hackathon to lend advice on how to tackle problems.

5:00 PM

Mentorship support slows down

Some mentorship may still be available after 5:00PM, but there will be less mentors around, and they may be less responsive as well. If possible, try to ask for help before 5:00PM!

Sunday - 9/27

9:00 AM

Mentorship picks back up

Mentors will be back to help out in the morning of presentation day.

2:00 PM

Demos to Judges Begin

With around 20 teams participating, each demo will be limited to 3 minutes.

4:00 PM

Final Judging Starts

Final 6 teams from the preliminary rounds will have 5 minutes to present to the final judges.

5:00 PM

Closing Ceremony

Winners are announced and presented with prizes, Prizes to be determined.

Founding Sponsors

Founding Sponsors
Past Sponsors
BCIT logo
KPMG logo
CTO logo


Vivian Chan


Chris Hobbs

Master of Ceremonies

Pauline Lee


Katty Wang


Tom Satterthwaite


Victoria Niemiets



Interested in mentoring? Sign up by filling out this form.





Online registration ends at 11:59 PM on September 25th 2020 or when maximum event capacity is reached. Capacity is 125 participants.

Team Requirements

Teams may be composed of minimum 3 and a maximum 5 participants.

Team Formation

Participants may join with a pre-established team. In lieu of an in-person team formation, the VanHacks Microsoft Teams channel will become instrumental for forming teams. You will receive an invitation a week or two before the hackathon to join Microsoft Teams.

Hackers are expected to know their teams by Saturday morning when they join the call at 9:00 am. You will be required to select a team name and designate a team spokesperson. Individuals may only participate and register with one team. Each team is solely responsible for its own cooperation and teamwork.

How long is it?

Teams may begin working at 10 AM on September 26th until demo time at 2 PM on September 27th. All technical designs, developed code, and production assets for each entry must be created during the VanHacks event.

Language & Tools

Participants are expected to bring the necessary hardware and software tools to build their competition entry. Teams are permitted to use open source tools and/or code.

Code, deisgn, SFX, music

To ensure a level playing field for all contestants, all code, design, art, music, SFX, and assets must be created during the duration of VanHacks. We want to ensure that all participants start off on the same footing and preserve the true nature of a hackathon. You are, however, free to make plans, create wireframes, and brainstorm prior to the event.

Code of conduct

VanHacks is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, previous hackathon attendance or computing experience (or lack of any of the aforementioned). We do not tolerate harassment of VanHacks participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate at VanHacks. VanHacks participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the hackathon without a refund at the discretion of VanHacks organizers.


Ownership of the solution created by participants for VanHacks is owned by the participants and the not-for-profit institution they hacked for. TTT Studios, VSW & Sponsors do NOT have any rights to code created during VanHacks.

Open source

VanHacks judges will award 5 points to each project that is licensed as open source. This is done in the spirit of "Act Local, Think Global…" where as a local organization such as the Vancouver Food Bank may have similar challenges as the Calgary Food Bank. By open sourcing the projects we extend the usefulness of the code to the rest of the world.


Do I need to be a developer to attend?

To be a participant you need to be either a developer or a UI/UX designer.

How does VanHacks work?

Participants spend 28 hours working in teams of 3-5 people to build an application that will benefit groups from the Vancouver community. It is up to the participants to take the challenges NPOs are facing and find ways to solve them through the applications they build over the weekend. In addition, mentors will be present to guide and advise participants on any difficulties they have when designing or building their applications. At the end of the 28 hours, each team will demo their working application to a panel of judges. The judges will then choose the top three projects.

What are the judging criteria?

At the end of the 28 hours, you should have a working application that can be demoed in front of the judges. Projects will be judged on how well the application solves the chosen problem and how well the solution works at demo time. A list of criteria will be given at the beginning of the hackathon to help keep hackers on track. Extra points are given to those who agree to open source their project after the hackathon.

Will there be a resource guide with helpful links to APIs, SDKs and datasets?

Yes, here is the VanHacks API and SDK Resource Guide.

At the end of VanHacks, do we give our projects to the not-for-profit organisation we choose to hack for?

Preferably yes. At the end of the hackathon, you are encouraged to give a copy to the organization or upload it to a repo, like GitHub, for them to download.