September 21 - 23, 2018
Thanks for participating!


VanHacks is an annual hackathon organized by ViDIA
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.
VanHacks is an annual hackathon organized by ViDIA 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


Ocean Wise

Ocean Wise is a Vancouver Aquarium conservation program created to educate and empower consumers about the issues surrounding sustainable seafood. Ocean Wise works directly with restaurants, markets, food services and suppliers ensuring that they have the most current scientific information regarding seafood and helping them make ocean-friendly buying decisions.

Weekend Fuelbag

There is a direct link between malnourishment, poor health and improper education. Weekend Fuelbag strives to tackle all three issues by eliminating the first. They give students in need access to food on weekends so they can come to school ready to learn.

Working Gear

Working Gear assists low-income men around the city looking to re-enter the workforce by providing them with work appropriate clothing, from construction-wear and steel-toed boots to casual attire and suits.


BabyGoRound supports families living in poverty, single parents, refugees, and mothers living in homeless shelters by giving them access to essential supplies. Their volunteers have one-on-one appointments with families to select the items they need. They anticipate assisting close to 900 families per year.


With a mission to end youth hunger in our lifetime, Mealshare partners with local restaurants to donate meals to those in need. For every mealshare item a diner orders from a partnering restaurant, Mealshare provides one meal to a youth in need. To date, they have served 2,077,483 meals and counting.


  • Friday - September 21st

    6:00 PM

    Team Formation Social


    If you are already on a team, this event is optional. Those not on a team are required to come and learn each other's challenge ideas and form teams.

  • Saturday - September 22nd

    8:00 am

    Participant Registration

    @BCIT Downtown

    Each participant will check-in at the entrance. Information on how to set up and make themselves at home will be provided.

  • 9:00 am


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

  • 10:00 am


    The challenge begins! Vanhacks will come around and register teams and their chosen challenge. Mentors will be available throughout most of the hackathon to lend advice on how to tackle problems. .

  • 1:00 pm


    Lunch will be served between 1:00 PM and 2:30 PM. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available for those who request it.

  • 7:00 pm


    Dinner is served between 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available for those who request it.

  • 10:00 pm


    Doors will be closing at 10:00pm for the day. Everyone get some rest after a long day of hacking, and come back tomorrow!

  • Sunday - September 23rd

    8:00 am


    Doors open at 8:00am. Breakfast will be served between 8:00 AM and 9:30 AM. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available for those who request it.

  • 12:00 PM


    Lunch is served between 12:00 PM and 1:30 PM. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available for those who request it.

  • 2:00 PM


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

  • 5:00 PM


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


Founding Sponsors
Event Sponsors
clio Logo
nespresso Logo
realtorDotCom Logo
A Thinking Ape Logo
AxiomZen Logo
best Buy Logo
canadian web hosting Logo
devhub Logo
Dynamic Leap Logo Logo
stat Logo
aqua blue logo
ayoub logo
cartems logo
nuit logo
route 18 logo
smart bite logo



Alan Peretz

Partner, Regional Advisory Practice Leader and National Leader, Strategic Growth Initiatives, KPMG
Alan Peretz is a partner at KPMG where he leads the Advisory Practice in British Columbia and is the National Leader responsible for the firm’s Strategic Growth Initiatives portfolio. He serves as the Canadian representative on the Firm’s Global Innovation Council. He is one of the brains behind KPMG’s Ignition Centre which is opening next month in Vancouver and the principal author or KPMG’s bi-annual BC Tech Report Card and their Broadband Connectivity Report.

Andrei Incau

Founder, Dynamic Leap
Andrei is a mobile app development pioneer - with 12 years of experience in the field. Throughout his over 26 years career in the industry he has helped build and has delivered many software systems and apps using leading edge technologies. As a leader and entrepreneur he is heading Dynamic Leap Technology - a mobile app development company. As a mentor and trainer he has been teaching programming courses to hundreds of students at SFU, BCIT and UBC.

Cait Lepla

Marketing Director, Ayoub’s Nuts
Cait is a Marketing Director and UX/UI Designer. She manages online/print media for Ayoub's Dried Fruits & Nuts, and also freelances with her business, Ciel Design Lab. Cait has contributed content and strategy for many nonprofits, including Working Gear. It's wonderful what we can do together for all these organizations!

Don Burks

Instructor, Lighthouse Labs
Don Burks is the Head Instructor of Lighthouse Labs, based in Vancouver, BC. He is a web developer with over twenty years of experience, including working for Microsoft and He can be found speaking in communities across the globe advocating for computational thinking and coding, writing books, and being an orchestral musician.

Ian Pun

Software Engineer, Axiom Zen
Ian is a software engineer on the CryptoKitties team, acting as a lead engineer for the game and all things infrastructure. He specializes in backend development and optimization for the game, and works to continuously improve the CryptoKitties experience.

Ian Sim

Co-founder and CEO of Radical I/O, Ian Sim is a veteran in the software development industry with over 20 years of experience. He is a hands-on technical leader and is an expert in Javascript-centric web development, along with native and hybrid web mobile app development. Ian is a TOGAF Certified Enterprise Architect and has led the architecture and development of many enterprise backend APIs and systems for large organizations.

Jonathan Watson

VP Engineering, Clio
Jonathan Watson is Clio's Vice President of Engineering. Jonathan joined Clio in 2017, after having made significant contributions to the scaling efforts at both Shopify and Zynga. Jonathan has over 15 years of experience in leadership and management, software architecture, design and implementation, performance tuning, launching and maintaining large-scale SaaS and live game solutions. He and his family now live in Burnaby, BC.

Jose Hernandez

VP Business Development, TTT Studio
Jose is the VP of Business Development at TTT Studios. With a MBA from UBC, a law degree and extensive experience in start-up sales, project management and product development, Jose is fully equipped to help direct success.

Josselyn Rodriguez

Customer Experience Manager, Canadian Web Hosting
Josselyn Rodriguez is the Customer Experience Manager at Canadian Web Hosting where she helps people and businesses get online. Josselyn is known for her love of plants, but is also curious about how stuff works, leading her to pursue a career in the IT industry.

Kit Brown-Watts

Agile Product Owner, Best Buy
Kit Brown-Watts is an Agile Product Owner of the DevOps team for Best Buy Canada. He has been a passionate mentor for interns and students from many past hackathons including BizHacks, a joint event between Best Buy Canada, UBC and SFU bringing together students across both engineering and business disciplines.

Ronak Badheka

Software Engineer,
Ronak has been building mobile apps since 2010 and has been involved in all stages of app development. Aside from bringing his own app ideas to life, currently Ronak works at's Android Centre of Excellence as an engineer.

Stephanie Marcil

Founder, NuIT
Steph Marcil is the founder of NuIT Nutrition, a local Vancouver startup focused on making good nutrition more accessible. She has worked with many organizations, both locally and internationally, with an interest in maternal and child nutrition as well as developing sustainable food systems. Steph is leading NuIT’s growth into developing a hybrid hardware/software system for personalized nutrition.


Chris Hobbs Profile Pic

Chris Hobbs

Master of Ceremonies

Ross Haleliuk

Hackathon Manager

Pauline Lee


Alexandra Gunn Profile Pic

Alexandra Gunn


Vivian Chan


Katty Wang





Online registration ends at 11:59PM on September 20th 2018 or when maximum event capacity is reached. Capacity is 150 participants.


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


Participants may arrive with a pre-established team. Time will be provided on Friday night for solo participants to form teams. People are expected to know their teams by Saturday morning when they register them at 8:00 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.


Teams may begin working at 10 AM on September 22nd until demo time at 2 PM on September 23rd. All technical designs, developed code, and production assets for each entry must be created during the VanHacks event.


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.


All solutions must be developed during the course of VanHacks. Development occurs between the start and end times of the hack. Participants may consult remote resources via mobile phone, VoIP, chat, etc., to answer technical questions, but remote resources (such as outside people sending code) are not allowed to develop or produce assets used in competition entries.


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.


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.


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


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 usefullness of the code to the rest of the world.


A judging panel of community personalities from a range of industries will score competitors on innovation, design, quality and impact. Teams will have a maximum of 3 minutes to present and demonstrate their prototype to the judging panel. The winning team will be announced on-site at 5:00 PM on September 23rd. A maximum one entry per team may be submitted. ViDIA is not responsible for any dispute regarding prize dispersal or use.


By participating as a competitor in VanHacks, participants grant organizers and participating members of the media rights to publicly disclose competition event information, review and describe applications developed and presented during the event, and rights to display event- related photos, screen shots, and links to publicly available demonstrations of contest entries. Participants may be photographed and/or videotaped during the Hackathon event. Participants agree that ViDIA and VanHacks Sponsors may use any photographs or videos obtained in this manner for promotional purposes, during or after the hackathon, in any media.


Functional demos of the solution must be done live and not through a powerpoint or prototype presentation.


VanHacks reserves the right to make rule modifications prior to the start of the event. By participating each team member agrees to abide by these Official Rules.


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.

Do I need a team to register?

No you don't need to be part of a team to register. We will be hosting a Friday night social at DevHub where team-less participants must attend to meet and form teams. On Saturday morning at 8:00 AM, we will officially register all the teams.

What should I bring?

Generally, you’ll need to bring your computer, a charger and any other devices that will contribute to the application's creation. As for food, we have you covered but if you want anything in particular there is a kitchen to make tea and prepare small bites.

Can I stay the night?

BCIT closes at 10pm so all hackers will be heading home for the night. Doors open at 8am the next morning.

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. We will introduce not-for-profit groups to participants, on the website and in more detail at the hackathon, and the challenges these groups have. It is up to the participants to take these challenges and find ways to solve them through the applications they build over the weekend. In addition, mentors will be present to guide and advice 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.

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

Yes. Here is the VanHacks API and SDK Resource Guide.

When is the last day to register for VanHacks?

The closing date for registration is 11:59PM on September 20th 2018 or whenever we reach capacity. Capacity is 150 people.

How much is it to register?

Tickets are $35 each until September 7 2018, after that tickets will cost $50.

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 hackacthon 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 prizes?

Yes there will be cash prizes. Amounts to be determined

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

Yes. At the end of the hackathon, you give a copy to the organization or upload it to a repo, like github, for them to download.

How do I find a team?

If you are coming in solo and want to work with others, our Friday social is a great opportunity to meet other designers and developers and form teams. Our goal is to have everyone on a team by the end of Friday night so we can quickly register the teams on Saturday morning.

Do I have to come Friday?

If you do not have a team. Yes. If you do have a team, the Friday social is the only optional part of the weekend. The social will allow you to get more familiar with the not-for-profit organization challenges that need solving. It will also give you a little more time to discuss ideas and best ways to approach your project so you are ready to run on Saturday morning.

Is there an age restriction?

Yes, we only allow participants ages 18+. If you are younger and really want to participate, contact us.

I have another question!

Send us an email at

Contact Us!