PennApps started in the spring of 2009, and has been hosted once every semester since that time. Since 2011, PennApps has roughly doubled in size in each iteration. In fall of 2013, over 1,000 students from more than 100 universities competed for a prize pool of roughly $30,000. PennApps has been sponsored by tech companies including Venmo, Microsoft, Chegg, TokBox and Comcast, among many others.
PennApps helped set off a boom in college hackathons, with many colleges across the country now hosting similar events.