Seoul, South Korea, is set to host its first city-sponsored hackathon. “Global Hackathon Seoul” will commence July 29, 2015 and run through August 1st, 2015. The city has set a massive participation goal: 2,000 hackers from around the world. While 2,000 hackers represents a large number, the city is prepared to double the hackathon’s size if it surpasses its fundraising goal.
“Seoul already has an incredible infrastructure: (fastest Internet/mobile speed), highest smartphone penetration, and tech-savvy people. What we need is a cultural shift. Through Global Hackathon Seoul and other awesome hackathons, I don’t want to just show people but let them experience the hacker culture, and collaborate with really different thinkers of this world....We have an opportunity to import the mindset and innovative trends of the best hackers from around the world,” KJ Yoo, Executive Director of Global Hackathon Seoul, declared.
As Yoo commented, Seoul certainly boasts an impressive infrastructure and is well poised to host such an event. On the hackathon homepage, a simple set of metrics reveals: 80,000 square feet of hacking space and 1 Gbps Internet speed. Seoul’s startup scene has picked up in recent years; however, its geographic location separates it from traditional startup funding, peers, and risk-taking culture. Yoo and other hackathon organizers hope Global Hackathon Seoul will serve as a flagship event to shift the mindset of developers, designers, and engineers in Seoul.
Since the hackathon’s announcement, interest has headed in the right direction. Within 24 hours, over 700 people signed up to attend. South Korea had previously laid the groundwork for such interest. President Park Geun-Hye previously pledged $3.7 billion in startup funding over the next three years. Additionally, the Seoul Mayor recently created the Seoul Social Investment Fund to support companies focused on solving social problems. Finally, recent government announcements suggested upcoming reductions in control over financial technology and the “Internet of Things” — which should help boost innovation. To learn more about Global Hackathon Seoul, visit the homepage.