Before the McKHackathon


Is this event for me?

If you are interested in entrepreneurship the answer is most likely YES. Attendee backgrounds are roughly 50% technical (developers, coders, designers) and 50% business (marketing, finance, law). Whether you are a serial entrepreneur or new to the startup scene, if you’re motivated to build a product or startup and open to new ideas, you’ll fit right in

Do I have to participate all three days?

YES! Apart from organizers, selected mentors, speaker, and press, everyone who attends the event is expected to participate all three days. This is important not only to preserve the “vibe” of the event but also to minimize distractions/disruptions for working teams.

How do I register?

Every attendee is expected to be registered (no walk-ins). McKHackathon has a dedicated Eventbrite registration page: check it out here

What is the registration fee?

This event is free, generously sponsored by McKesson Corporation.

Do I need a team?

Everyone who attends the event as an attendee is expected to participate on a team. This is important not only to preserve the mission of McKHackathon (innovation and teamwork!) but also to minimize distractions/disruptions for all working teams. Each team will be composed of 50% community attendees and 50% McKesson’s professional engineers and developers who participate in the event.

What are the accommodations for the event?

Attendees are responsible for booking their own transportation and lodging (if needed). If you are traveling and unfamiliar with the location, reach out to the local organizing team via email [email protected] to ask for nearby recommendations.

Do I have to pitch an idea to attend?

No, but we encourage you to! You can pitch an idea you’ve been thinking about for years, or something last minute you think of during the event. It’s a great experience and invaluable practice for public speaking.

Where can I find a schedule for the event?

McKHackathon’s schedule is posted on the Eventbrite page here.

What should I bring?

  • Laptop
  • Power cord
  • Business cards
  • Camera – take pictures and video!
  • Optional: A second monitor, keyboard, etc…set yourself up to be productive!
  • Lots of creative energy!

How do I prepare?

  • Do some research. Market research and background information will give you a better understanding of the problem you are trying to solve.
  • Practice your pitch. You’ll have 60 seconds to persuade other attendees to join your team. Make it clear, concise and convincing!
  • Get some rest.
  • Bring a friend! Events are better with good company.


During the Weekend


What happens on Thursday, Friday and Saturday?

Thursday | Location UAT: Participants arrive between 5:00 and 5:30 PM, begin networking, and eat dinner (all meals and snacks are complimentary and provided as part of your event registration). After an ice-breaking game and a short introduction by the Facilitator, there will typically be one short speaker talk on practical topics ranging from Pitching Best Practices to Lean Startup Methodology and more. Then the “Pitchfire” will commence: anyone intending to pitch will have 60 seconds to give their best pitch. No presentations or props needed for Thursday, it will just be you and a mic. After pitches are finished, all attendees will vote on their favorites, and using these votes, the top ideas will be selected to be worked on over the weekend. Teams will form organically, consolidate, begin working and reserve mentors’ time.

Friday | Location UAT: Teams will work all day, with the occasional breaks to eat or listen to 1-2 short talks. Mentors will be circulating to provide advice in the field of their expertise. Make sure to use them!

Saturday | Location Topgolf Scottsdale: Teams will begin wrapping up their product/prototype and presentation first thing to do tech-checks and practice their demonstration. After all Judges have arrived, presentations will begin. Each team typically has 5 minutes to present plus 2-3 minutes Q&A from the judges (this varies). The judges will select the top teams, give out prizes (if applicable), and the event ends (and celebration begins!). We have booked out several bays at Topgolf Scottsdale which are available to McKHackathon attendees to celebrate post-competition!

What types of ideas can I pitch?

Any business ideas are eligible. However, the event is strongly tech-oriented. Specifically, we will be looking for ideas in the following areas: network engineering, security, healthcare, supply chain, workplace innovation and futuristic medical devices. Keep in mind that half of the judges will be from McKesson and they will be looking for ideas that are relevant to their business.

Can I pitch more than one idea?

Depending on the number of ideas pitched and the schedule, you may or may not be able to pitch multiple ideas. Prioritize your ideas: pitch your best idea (and the one you have most prepared for) first.

Can I pitch my existing business?

NO! McKHackathon is designed to be the most effective platform for growing innovation and new businesses from the ground up over the course of three days. A key facet of the event – and a central value for participants – is the spirit of complete collaboration. McKesson reserves the right to retain any new intellectual property developed during the event.

What if my idea doesn’t get selected?

The purpose of the Thursday’s voting and crowdsourcing isn’t to exclude certain ideas, but simply to highlight the most popular and high-potential pitches and end up with a manageable number of teams – ensuring that each team has a variety of backgrounds and skills.

Am I expected to work for 54 hours?

No. Teams may decide to work through the night, at their sole discretion. Both nights (Thursday and Friday), the event venue will close their doors at 10:00 PM.

What resources/assistance is provided over the weekend?

A key part of McKHackathon is the valuable advice and assistance provided by the event’s speaker, coaches and McKesson’s engineers and developers included in your team. In the spirit of “No Talk, All Action,” we try to keep talks short and sweet, focusing on practical issues (i.e. “how to give a persuasive pitch”, “best approaches to customer validation”) that can help you and your team better achieve your weekend goals. Mentors – community experts in various fields ranging from entrepreneurship, software development, marketing, finance, law, and more – dedicate their time to providing advice and rolling up their sleeves to work with teams.

What are we supposed to have accomplished by the end of the weekend?

While there are no specific requirements in terms of what teams should have accomplished by Saturday, it’s in your best interest to plan your execution around what you’ll be judged for on Saturday:

  • Customer Validation (Did you vet your idea?)
  • Execution and Design (What did you build?)
  • Business Model (Do you have a plan for the future?)

As far as presenting goes, some of the most common presentations include any combination of the following (in no particular order):

  • Wireframes or fully developed website
  • Mobile apps (from mock-ups to skeletons to fully functional)
  • Slide decks (Powerpoint, Keynote, Prezi, etc.)
  • Videos (i.e. product demonstrations, etc.)
  • Live product demos
  • Skits

Why is it a competition?

Competition is not a central theme of McKHackathon, and this is often reflected in the broad, horizontal allocation of prizes and general flexibility/leniency of the event “rules.” If and when the competitive aspect comes into conflict with the positive atmosphere we try to cultivate, we consistently choose the latter. We do believe, however, that friendly competition is beneficial to all parties and, most importantly, more accurately reflects the realities of startup life. Just as it’s important to gather “real-world” feedback over the weekend, it’s also important to have real-world pressures and obstacles.

After the Weekend

On a side note, we love hearing about McKHackathon success stories! If your experience is shareworthy, send us an email! It’d make our day.

Didn’t find what you are looking for? We’re happy to help! Send us an email and we’ll get back to you shortly.