Hack the North celebrates its 10th anniversary

Monday, September 25, 2023

Hack the North, the largest collegiate hackathon in Canada, celebrated its 10th anniversary at the University of Waterloo with more than 1,000 students from around the world.

Organized by students for students, the annual event involves participants converging on campus to spend 36 intense hours creating innovative technologies through collaboration and mentorship.

Hack the North was founded in 2013 by three Waterloo students Kartik Talwar (BSc ’16, astrophysics), former computer science student Liam Horne and Kevin Lau (BASc ‘17, systems design engineering) from three different faculties – science, mathematics and engineering.

In 2012, the trio attended some of the very first collegiate hackathons in the USA and were enthralled. But, as fun as those events were, they were also far away and disorganized. So they decided to create their own world-class event in Canada and run it like a startup.

“We leveraged the University’s reputation and connections to convince top-tier sponsors, mentors and speakers to fly to Waterloo for this new kid on the block called Hack the North,” says Lau, founding product manager at Tome. “We had 1,000 student hackers attend that first event and the numbers haven’t waned since.”

Hack the North encourages hackers to be creative, to have fun and to just build something. The judges are not looking for the most profound ideas or even those with the most real-world applicability.

More than 15,000 students have attended Hack the North from 80 plus countries around the world since the first event in 2013. Over the past 10 years, students have created more than 4000 projects in total and won over $500,000 in prizes. Hack the North has collectively reimbursed more than $1M in travel costs to bring in the smartest developers in the world to campus.

Go to Celebrating 10 years of Hack the North for the full story.