Eventornado blog 7 Inspiring Hackathons Tackling COVID-19

7 Inspiring Hackathons Tackling COVID-19

Written by

Sabreen Swan

Content Strategist/Writer at Eventornado.

It may not be the end of the year, but we hope it will soon be time for the end of an era—the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

With cases still rising in many countries, several data and tech communities have been uniting under a common purpose—to find actionable solutions to combat the effects of the pandemic on society.

Hackathons have always been popular but since lockdown started, they’ve blown up as businesses and entrepreneurs have taken to the digital world to find workable solutions to the problems society is facing. 

Although these hackathons have been taking place virtually, the spirit remains the same. Intense, exhilarating and nerve-wracking, bright minds have been fiercely hacking towards our brighter future.

Here are a handful of our favourite hackathons we’ve seen collaborating to address the COVID-19 pandemic, in no particular order:



In the midst of the pandemic, #EuvsVirus connected innovators, partners, investors and the public to develop innovative solutions for coronavirus-related challenges. 

The event drew over 30,000 people from across the EU and saw 2,164 project submissions related to various areas of the pandemic. Here’s a breakdown of how the projects were spread:

  • Health and life - 899 projects
  • Business continuity - 381 projects
  • Remote working and education - 272 projects 
  • Social and political cohesion - 453 projects
  • Digital finance -- 76 projects 
  • Other challenges - 83 projects

117 finalists and winners were selected and attended the later EUvsVirus Matchathon (22-25 May) and Demo Day (21 May), where they were matched with investors, accelerators and venture capitalists. 

Find out more about the inspiring mission #EuvsVirus took on here on their website. You can also watch live streams, explore new partnerships and read through their reports.



The World Health Organisation (WHO) teamed up with none other than Facebook and Microsoft to “promote the development of software to take on challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic” early in April.

#BuildforCOVID19 saw tech companies Twitter, WeChat, TikTok, Pinterest, Slack and Giphy participating, sharing resources to help participants through the intense submission period.


Developers were given support with guidance from WHO, and participants were encouraged to build projects around particular areas:

  • Ways to support the vulnerable members of society
  • Alternative study methods and environments for students
  • Solutions to support frontline health workers
  • Scaling of business opportunities like telehealth

Hack Quarantine

Hack Quarantine

This global, three-week hackathon worked with medical professionals to provide hackers with the knowledge and tools to create actionable solutions to the pandemic.

Hack Quarantine gave participants a clear pathway to work towards viable solutions around what they called ‘tracks’. Rather than having different challenges, the hackathon separated areas into relevant themes, and hackers either fit their idea into one or several:

  • Supporting the elderly, quarantined and those at higher risk
  • Technology and health
  • Improving remote working 
  • Building better awareness and behaviours

Check out their winners, prizers, and best ideas here.

Hack The Crisis Sweden

Hack The Crisis Sweden

Sweden’s Hack The Crisis was a government mission raised to shed light and bring more awareness to the use of open data. 

With more than 7,000 participants, the mission’s main goal was to demonstrate how extensive and beneficial open data can be for society. The three challenges addressed were:

  • Saving lives
  • Saving communities
  • Saving business

The Eventornado team worked closely with Hack The Crisis Sweden to provide an easier and more efficient way for them to collect and review submitted ideas.

The tools we provided the team behind the hackathon helped them to gather ideas and make them public, creating a community where like-minded people can be inspired by one another. 

A smarter way to manage submissions also meant they could easily and securely assign final submissions to reviewers. 

Organised by the Swedish government (Regeringskansliet), Hack The Crisis Sweden also provided 100 teams with technical mentorship, guidance and Amazon Web Service (AWS) credits.

A quick look at the winning solutions: products or services to connect people in search of work with hiring employees, protective gear for healthcare professionals, and digital diagnostics of COVID-19. 

Read more about the hackathon and the winners here (select English on the top right corner if you don’t understand Swedish!)



One of the biggest hackathons ever, 44,000 registrants and 28,000 participants took to WirvsVirus in Germany this March in response to the growing pandemic.

Participants hacked to find viable solutions like how to allocate hospital beds, how to trace infections, testing organisations and how to take food from farms to the homeless in safe ways.

We helped the WirvsVirus team smoothly collect and evaluate around 2,000 ideas for the hackathon. 

Rather than gathering large volumes of ideas on a spreadsheet (which can get messy and clunky, fast), a smart platform helped them launch their promotional material, while taking care of the fiddly admin tasks that come with collecting thousands of submissions.

More than 120 projects were selected to go forward and develop further through incubation programmes. Ten of those projects labelled as having the “greatest potential and urgency” were invited to join the Solution Enabler Programme

Some of the areas covered by the ten projects:

  • Connecting urban workers with farmers
  • Link food supplies with communities in need
  • Match and connect people searching for work hiring employers
  • Meet the supply and demand for critical medical equipment
  • Connect people with their loved ones in isolation

Another great outcome from WirVsVirus was the community forum for participants and a crowdfunding opportunity—both of which are still being used by teams. 

Hack For Italy

Hack For Italy

One of the countries most hit by COVID-19, Italy, joined the Global Hack movement with Hack For Italy earlier this spring. 

The hackathon invited participants from all fields, regardless of profession and expertise—stating “we need help from experts in all fields, entrepreneurs and professionals”.

In just 48 hours, the hackathon took place with around 2,000 participants and 55 final projects presented. Developers, entrepreneurs, researchers, creatives and healthcare experts came together to tackle the virus that saw Italy as one of the first countries to go into total lockdown. 

We’re proud to have worked alongside the team behind Hack For Italy to make their collection and review process easier. 

One of the most common challenges for hackathon organisers is evaluating submissions in a way that’s fair and free from bias. With our help, the hackathon organisers were able to distribute submissions to reviewers for scoring (with visibility only to the ideas they were responsible for), and receive the scores automatically once completed.

Meet the mentors and learn about the winning ideas over on the Hack For Italy website

Hack The Crisis Estonia

Hack The Crisis Estonia

In the middle of March, Garage48, AccelerateEstonia and practically the entire startup community in Estonia came together to hack the current crisis. As one of the founding members and partners of the hackathon, our team were honoured to be part of such a meaningful hackathon.

Fully remote, the hackathon saw over 1,000 people joining and after 48 intense hours, 30 teams showcased their projects to other hackers, mentors, private ventures and public sector representatives.

During the weekend, Hack The Crisis Estonia was put together in record time and received support from the Deputy Secretary-General for Economic Development. The selected winners were given €5,000 and admission to Accelerate Estonia to further develop their projects with expert guidance.

Read the story behind the winning ideas here.

Fighting a global pandemic, one hackathon at a time

The global pandemic is an opportunity for all developers and entrepreneurs to get together and build real solutions—solutions to drive real change and make a lasting impact on our future.

We work with hackathon organisers all over the globe and we encourage all innovators to get involved and join the growing hackathon movement in response to the pandemic. Subscribe to the blog to keep up with upcoming hackathons and new opportunities to get involved. Let’s spread the word, let’s continue making a difference, and let’s get hacking!


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