Enter the Innovator Showdown Competition at RootsTech

The annual Innovator Showdown at RootsTech provides innovators like you with the unparalleled opportunity to present your creative idea on stage before renowned judges, key industry influencers, potential investors, peers, and a live audience.

All Innovators, All Industries

The competition welcomes innovators of all kinds, in any industry to introduce their best ideas here at the largest genealogy conference in the world. Not sure if your idea applies to family history? You might not think Facebook does either, yet it’s the largest repository of family history images and content in the world. We invite you to carefully consider how your unique hardware, software apps, or services could potentially disrupt this $4 billion dollar industry.

Generous Prizes

Not only will finalists benefit from hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of publicity, winners will be awarded over $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

What Is RootsTech?

RootsTech is a genealogy conference of epic proportions. As the largest family history conference in the world it provides extensive networking opportunities to a broad and diverse group of attendees. The conference showcases a vast array of modern resources and technology that aim to inspire and enable individuals to discover, preserve, and share their family stories. 


The Innovator Showdown competition is open to individuals (who have reached the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence at the time of entry); teams of eligible individuals; and organizations (up to 50 employees).



Your submission must include a working software application that solves a problem you’ve identified in any industry vertical, with features either directly or indirectly related to family history. The application should at least be a working prototype, and enable a social or collaborative activity. View Resources page for additional information and helpful suggestions.



Your submission must include a software component such as:

  • A native smartphone or tablet app (iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile)
  • A web app or subscription service
  • A desktop app (Windows PC, Mac Desktop)
  • Software running on other hardware (including, but not exclusive to, wearable technology, open source hardware, etc.)
  • Custom hardware which includes a software component (wearable technology, etc.)


Supplemental Material:

You must submit a 60-90 second demo video (hosted on YouTube, Vimeo, or Youku) that walks through the main functionality of the app via screencast or video. The video’s objective is not to walk through the details of every feature, but to provide a compelling overview of its capabilities and convince judges of its value in the market. You must also submit at least one image/screenshot of your working app.

Finalists must prepare a 2-minute pitch to deliver to the judges and audience (including a demo, business model, etc.) Pro tip: Use your submission demo video as a draft for your finalist pitch, but don’t forget to demo your app!).



You must make your app available for no charge to judges for evaluation during the judging periods.

Hackathon Sponsors


$100,000 in prizes

Judges Choice 1st Place

$20,000 cash and $25,000 in-kind*

Judges Choice 2nd Place

$14,000 cash and $15,000 in-kind*

Judges Choice 3rd Place

$6,000 cash and $10,000 in-kind*

People's Choice

$10,000 cash

*In-kind prizes may include consulting, mentoring, development, marketing, co-location services, accounting services, and/or legal services.

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:

How to enter


  1. Click “Register” to sign up for important competition communications.
  2. Visit the Resources page to learn about potential problem areas and available data/API resources.
  3. Review judging criteria.
  4. Create your app!
  5. Shoot your demo video and take screenshots of your functioning app.
  6. Provide a way for us to access your app.
  7. Get started on your draft and submit early.




Judging Criteria

  • Family History
    Submissions must be directly or indirectly related to family history. (For example: Facebook is indirectly the largest repository of family history images and content today).
  • Quality of Idea
    Includes creativity and originality.
  • Implementation of Idea
    Includes how well the idea was executed by the developer.
  • Potential Impact
    Will users get excited about this, is it applicable, does it solve a genuine problem?

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