It’s prime time for hackathons and other technology events

Miguel Chateloin participates in the Hackathon for Cuba event on Feb. 1, 2014 in Miami. Hackathons are becoming more commonplace in South Florida.
Miguel Chateloin participates in the Hackathon for Cuba event on Feb. 1, 2014 in Miami. Hackathons are becoming more commonplace in South Florida.

It’s high season for hackathons — so much so that there are even two on the same weekend.

First up: PayPal’s BattleHack is back Feb. 22-23 at The LAB Miami. This is a competion among 11 startup cities: Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Chicago, Moscow, Miami, Toronto, Warsaw, London, San Francisco, Berlin and Boston. A winner is chosen from each city to compete in the world finals in Silicon Valley in November for a chance to win $100,000 cash, said Jonathan LeBlanc, PayPal’s global head of developer evangelism now based in South Florida. The challenge: Come up with an app that solves a local or world problem. Last year’s winning team, Team Yellow Pepper, came in third place in the world finals.

BattleHack is now in its second year, and LeBlanc said he switched out all the U.S. cities this year — except Miami. “I firmly believe in the culture here ... We’re excited to be part of the community now,” he said, adding that PayPal has started a monthly meetup group at The LAB Miami called Commerce Factory. Register for BattleHack here:

UHack is back, too. On the same weekend, Feb. 22-23, but for college students, UHack is produced by a team of University of Miami engineering students and taking place at the University of Miami Student Center. The hackathon is open to college students of all universities just as it was last year, and hardware hacks as well as software apps are welcome, said Marc Messier, one of the organizers. The theme: Improve everyday life. Prizes include cash — $1,000 for the winner — and co-working space at The LAB Miami. More info:

Next up: Music Hack Day on March 22-23. In the spirit of more specialized hackathons built upon South Florida industries or causes — for instance, just last weekend the Hackathon for Cuba took place — Music Hack Day is the first hackathon specifically dedicated to the music industry, says Demian Bellumio of the MIA Collective, which is organizing the hackathon at The LAB Miami. More than a dozen APIs will be featured and available for use, he said. There will be cash prizes and the top five finalists will also get a chance to present their creations at the MIA Music Summit at New World Center on March 24, More info:

eMerge Americas is planning a hackathon on May 3-4. Stay tuned for details on

Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit working to inspire, educate and empower young women to pursue careers in technology and engineering, will be accepting applications through Feb. 27 for its Miami summer immersion program. For more information visit:

Calendar Watch

•  Feb. 20: SwitchPitch, an event that invites established companies to pitch their technology needs to vetted startups in a role reversal, will host its first Miami event at The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse. Early bird tickets are currently available for $49/person until February 12, or $79 thereafter. For more information:

•  Feb. 26: The Gold Coast Venture Capital Association is hosting its inaugural Expo in Boca Raton from 5-8 pm. The Expo features 22 innovative startups, including: Renewed Waters, FlyInStyle, Elebev, Cydec, Demeter Power, RoomSurf, Appworx, Stadson Tech, Deliver Lean, Bar Maxx, AdMobilize, Design Comfort Shoes, Skulpt, Feathr, Logzilla, BoatSetter, BoaterRated and CleveMed. Tickets are $45. More info:

•  March 24: MIA Music Summit at the New World Center on Miami Beach will bring together leading thought leaders, executives and technologists in the music industry for a one day conference that will end with a live concert. Early bird pricing in effect until Feb. 15. Tickets:

•  March 31: Start-Up City: Miami, The Atlantic and The Atlantic Cities’ marquee event exploring South Florida’s growing innovation ecosystem, returns for its second year. Held in partnership with the Knight Foundation, the daylong summit will gather leading entrepreneurs, government officials, and tech experts at the New World Center in Miami Beach for panels, interviews and case studies. Tickets are $75. More info:

Follow me on Twitter @ndahlberg

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