Trisha Shetty (Editor)


Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Location  Worldwide
Date founded  11 January 2011
Members  35,000+
Headquarters  Toronto

Type  non-profit organization
Services  Uniting tech communities, socially beneficial hackathons
Board of directors  JJ Beh, Robin Toop, Shaharris, Chloe Kagan
Key people  Splinter cell organizers, Teresa Shih, Ryan Sykes, Annika Thurlow, Sheena Casselman
Motto  "Tech Nerds Unite!"; "We can all be better, together."
Similar  Women Who Code, Girl Geek Dinners, National Center for State Cou, ManKind Project, Toastmasters International

HackerNest is a federally incorporated Canadian not-for-profit organization and global movement founded on January 11, 2011. The organization unites local technology communities around the world through community events and socially beneficial hackathons to further its mission of economic development through technological proliferation. It is the largest, most prolific technology community in Canada with growing international popularity.



HackerNest was founded on the belief that the best way to improve the world is to build supportive local technology communities characterized by honesty, trust, sharing, and respect - everywhere. The rationale is that a city's technology community is the cornerstone of economic development that enables collaboration, innovation, mentorship, knowledge-sharing, recruiting, and scientific progress. Growing and strengthening the community helps businesses hire better, make more money, and create more jobs, ultimately putting more food on the table.

The organization's ideology is deeply rooted in chaos theory, the idea that minor differences at the start of a process in a dynamic system can have major, unexpected impacts on end results. Similar to how the seemingly-insignificant act of handing a child a pencil culminated in the artistic legacy of Pablo Picasso decades later, HackerNest reasons that making a new friend at a Tech Social could result in a partnership that one day cures cancer. With that in mind, HackerNest "splinter cells" (chapters) regularly host social gatherings open to anyone interested in technology called "Tech Socials". The events vary by city, but maintain the same core tenets: all are nonpartisan, unpretentious, anti-elitist, and pitch-free.

The first Tech Social was held in Toronto on Monday, January 31, 2011. HackerNest Toronto is currently the world's largest Meetup group for programmers and Canada's largest technology meetup (both in terms of group membership and number of attendees at events).

As of May 2016, HackerNest splinter cells have run over 300+ events in 28 cities across 14 countries on 5 continents.


HackerNest generates revenue to fuel its nonprofit mission by offering hackathon production and consultation services to companies, organizations, and governments.

In 2014, HackerNest produced Construct, Canada's largest hardware hackathon and DementiaHack for the British government, the world's first hackathon dedicated to helping people with dementia and their caregivers.

In 2015, the organization produced an internal innovation hackathon for Deloitte as well as DementiaHack Toronto 2015 with Facebook as the lead sponsor and support from the UK government, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

In 2016, HackerNest produced CourtHack with the US National Center for State Courts in Salt Lake City at the Utah Supreme Court (and featured Supreme Court Justice Constandinos Himonas on its judging panel). HackerNest produced the Hack4Equality LGBTQ hackathon with Grindr in Los Angeles in September 2016 using White House Promise Zone and Opportunity Project data.

The organization is developing a community platform called "Unite" that intends to bring together a city's entire technology community by featuring regionally-specific jobs, companies, events, classes, funding sources, and more, all in one place. A pilot of the platform is currently being sponsored by the City of Toronto with an open beta slated for 2016.

HackerNest Unite was a finalist in the 2015 Canadian Global Impact Competition.

Splinter cells

HackerNest refers to its chapters in different cities as "splinter cells", most likely a tongue-in-cheek reference to the eponymous popular video game franchise. Splinter cells are independently managed by volunteers and generally produce Tech Socials monthly or bi-monthly.

North America

  • Boston, USA
  • Calgary, Canada
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, USA
  • Detroit, USA
  • Edmonton, Canada
  • Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada
  • Las Vegas, USA
  • Los Angeles, USA
  • Mississauga, Canada
  • Montréal, Canada
  • New York, USA
  • Ottawa, Canada
  • Peterborough, Canada
  • Peoria, USA
  • Phoenix, USA
  • Salt Lake City, USA
  • Seattle, USA
  • Toronto, Canada
  • Vancouver, Canada
  • Asia

  • Cebu, Philippines
  • Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Manila, Philippines
  • Singapore, Singapore
  • South America

  • Bogota, Colombia
  • São Paulo, Brazil
  • Europe

  • London, UK
  • Manchester, UK
  • Niš, Serbia
  • Tbilisi, Georgia
  • Australasia

  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • Affiliations

    Past HackerNest sponsors include BlackBerry, Microsoft, and OANDA. Notable companies that have donated office space as venues for Tech Socials include Google (Kitchener-Waterloo), Facebook (Seattle), Microsoft (Kuala Lumpur), Techstars (New York), and Twitter (New York).

    HackerNest actively participates on the City of Toronto's Innovation & Technology Advisory Committee and the Young Entrepreneur Council Advisory Body established by former Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly to help shape the city's interaction with the technology community.

    HackerNest is a resident organization of the Ryerson Digital Media Zone.


  • Tufts University presented HackerNest with the Boryana Damnyanova Award for Corporate and Social Responsibility on February 20, 2016.
  • HackerNest was recognized by the City of Toronto for contributions to the technology community on July 28, 2014.
  • Conversely, on September 28, 2015, HackerNest recognized Councillor Kelly with the "Nerd Champion" award for his support of the city's technology community.
  • HackerNest Unite was a finalist in the 2015 Canadian Global Impact Competition.
  • References

    HackerNest Wikipedia

    Similar Topics
    Girl Geek Dinners
    ManKind Project
    Toastmasters International