Salesforce Conducts Internal Review and Awards Two $1 Million Hackathon Prizes

by Rob Lewis announced today that there are now two $1 million winning teams from their recent Salesforce1 Hackathon.

More than 4,500 developers registered to compete for the biggest single hackathon prize ever, with more than 150 submitted apps—all built on the Salesforce1 Platform.

Salesforce cofounders Marc Benioff and Parker Harris announced that the team behind the Upshot app won the Salesforce $1 Million Hackathon. Upshot is a voice to analytics app makes it easier for companies to talk to their database and do mobile reporting. You type in something in plain English, gets translated into code to become an instant application.

But after completing an internal review of the competition, determined that while the winning team met eligibility requirements, the final round judges may not have been provided with enough information to evaluate final round entrants’ use of pre-existing code contained in their app entries.


RELATED: Waterloo Team Competing for $1 Million at Dreamforce Hackathon


“After reviewing the hackathon rules and judging process, we have determined that both of our first prize winners met our eligibility requirements. We have also determined that we did not do a good enough job of communicating with the entrants about use of pre-existing code, which was allowable under certain circumstances, and that we weren’t clear enough with the final round judges about the use of pre-existing code,” said Burke Norton, chief legal officer of Salesforce.

“As is unable to determine whether or not this would have changed the outcome of the final round of judging, the company has concluded that the appropriate outcome is to declare a tie and award each of our two top winners the first place prize of $1 million," he continued.

While one of Upshot’s team members was formerly employed by Salesforce, this did not infringe on the hackathon rules as he left Salesforce before the August 31, 2013 hackathon eligibility cut-off date. In addition, while the Upshot mobile app used pre-existing code, this did not violate the hackathon rules. Use of pre-existing code was allowable as long as the code did not comprise the majority of the app and did not violate any third party’s rights, according to Norton.

Salesforce says it also reviewed a claim that the entrants from were ineligible to participate in the Salesforce1 Hackathon because they are employed by a company in which holds a small equity stake. The review determined that the entrants were eligible to participate because such investment is immaterial and has no ability to control the referenced company. As a result, it is not a "" entity under the rules.

During the initial two rounds of the competition, all judges were employees who were familiar with the Salesforce1 Platform and with the rules of the hackathon. During the final round of the competition, in an effort to ensure impartiality, five out of six judges were not employees. The internal audit team concluded that did not adequately equip these judges with enough information to ensure that the scores for the “innovation” criteria took into account use of pre-existing code.

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Rob Lewis

Rob Lewis

Rob is the President of Techvibes Media and Editor-in-Chief of  His diverse background includes stints in International Trade Finance, Web Development, and Enterprise Software and he is a graduate of the University of British Columbia, British Columbia Institute of Technology, and Simon Fraser University. When not running Canada's leading technology media property, Rob can be... more

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