Shirkey is impressed by the prizes. "Those seats of Unity are a couple of thousand dollars each," he says.

The AEC Hackathon organization has held three events so far, the most recent two of which offered cash prizes.

"The first hack had a lot of cool concepts, but these last two are all working code, all applications," says Hernandez.

Hernandez adds that, so far, three companies have been formed around the tools and relationships created at the hackathons.

The resulting projects and intellectual property are owned by the teams that develop them, although the hackathon organization encourages the code to be either shared or open-sourced.

"I'm still blown away," says Hernandez. "I didn't think it would get past the first event."

Four AEC Hackathons are scheduled before fall 2015, including events in Dallas, Chicago, New York City and a to-be-determined venue in California. An AEC Hackathon in Europe in 2015 is in the works, too, Hernandez adds.