Thank you, next

2018 passed in such a rush and 2019 has slowly started. Instead of fussing about the new projects and getting slammed with work, our small but fierce team decided to take some time off, pack the bags and ship ourselves to a laid-back village called Dahab. We will be spending a whole month here, part of it laying around on the beach, discovering the magnificent sea-life of the Red Sea, hiking the gorgeous mountains; and part of it sitting behind our laptops, getting the new hackathons rolling and mapping out the rest of  the 2019.

“The idea of spending some time together with the core team, somewhere nice and warm but laid-back enough to reflect back quietly and plan new adventures, came from my personal belief and life experience that humans aren’t meant to work from 9 to 5. When the event season begins, there are times, where we spend weeks on the roads. That means lots of time spent away from families and friends, 48-hour long weekends and never-ending airport layovers. To count together the hours we spend working during these intense months is almost impossible. Nor is it necessary, because our work and life has gradually blended together, and all of us enjoy living in that mix. There is no need to label work as something which is on the “outside” of your life when you love what you do,” pondered our CEO Mari Hanikat.

Also a quote, from one of Mari’s favourite books on work culture, “Let My People Go Surfing” by  Yvon Chouinard: “A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.”

So the month of January for us, is practicing the great art of the work and play fusion:)

Staring at the sunsets like  old grannies  and reflecting back on  all the memories we had together at 2018

So what was so special about 2018?

Garage48 organized 33 impactful events across 15 vivid cities in 12 different countries. We expanded our team with new hard-working like-minded colleagues and inspiring, fascinating, experienced mentors. Huge thanks to everyone, who has joined our family, shaped us through their know-how and let us grow one experience at a time.

Garage48 couldn’t have done it without the love of our supporters.

Keeping hackathons in the heart of our business, we have launched 2 exclusive programmes to invest both in the growing mentor community  (Mentors Masterclass) and future unicorns (Base Camp) .

Mentors Masterclass is an event that grew out of our wish to give back to the young startup communities, where mentoring as a skill is still a fairly fresh concept.Over the years, we have come across lots of business masterminds, tech-wizards, and entrepreneurs; and realized that being a kick-ass specialist doesn’t necessarily make one a successful mentor. Our first ever Mentor’s Masterclass took place in Moldova, Chisinau and was organized with the help of Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Development Fund and our local partner YEP Moldova. We had over 80 candidates interested in attending, however, we had to narrow down the selection to the top 35. The event itself was a one-day intimate workshop, carried out by our beloved long-term mentor-host Joao Rei and an experienced trainer Mayri Tiido. We hope to organize many more of these how-to-mentor workshops and we are already in the process of planning the next steps.

Base Camp was created, due to the gap, we noticed as a hackathon organizer in the event market. Many promising early-stage startups keep failing in their first years, for many reasons, but mostly due to the lack of finances and extra support in terms of mentorship. That is why Garage48 and Superangel joined forces: to help young future unicorns and provide them with the necessary care, funding, and advice that is much needed at the very early stage of a startup lifecycle.

First Base Camp Hackathon took place in September 2018 in Estonia and the journey took it’s very first winning teams to the Superangel Alpine House Programme- a 12-month altitude training for young startups. The second one is coming up in the first weekend of March and we’re inviting all the Garage48 hackathon alumni startups with their prototype-ready teams to join us there.

Team Realified at the Base Camp Hackathon, trying on their prototypes

2018 was also the year when we organized hackathons again in the Nordics, after a quite a long break. 

In September, Garage48 teamed up with Enterprise Estonia and Xplorico to solve global sustainability issues in Oslo, Norway. 48 hours dedicated to sustainable energy, transport, and green thinking was something we have not done before in such a large extent. Even though the vibe in Norway was surprisingly new and different for all of us, it was a warm welcome and we’d love to go back to get a full grip of the Norwegian way of thinking and living. 

Team Parked channeling their inner models during Impact Hackathon

Just a month later, Garage48’s Scandinavian journey continued, this time organizing SEB’s Internal Hackathon with Mooncascade in Stockholm, Sweden. The event was organized to show how powerful and scalable Open Banking concept and API economy could really be. For us, it was an interesting experience to see how things can be mashed up in a corporate environment just as efficiently as over public hackathons. The passion, dedication and work ethic of SEB Hackathon’s participants was truly inspiring and it all showed in the quality of the final prototypes as well.

When looking back at twenty-eighteen, it’s impossible to do it without the vivid memories of Defence Makeathon popping up. Not only was it one of our biggest events organized last year (150 participants, 22 different nationalities) but it was also the first-ever hackathon on this side of the ocean dedicated to making the lives of each and every one of us safer. The testosterone level in the room full of army green was high, and the solutions ranged all the way from gun barrel cleaning mechanisms to smart health monitoring uniforms.
We are super grateful to the Estonian Ministry of Defence who gave us an opportunity to bring this event together. Garage48  is currently in the process of prepping the same concept with Latvian and Lithuanian partners for 2020.

Mentors doing the mentoring rounds at the Defence Makeathon, September 2018

This year was also a lot about continuing bringing more women into tech and startups.

2018 held a special place for Ukraine and Empowering Women hackathons - 2 events in Lviv and 1 in Kharkiv.  In Spring 2019 we're taking our talented and beloved team members and mentors back to Ukraine to host another Empowering Women hackathon. This time we're making things a bit more extreme and adventurous - 48 hours on a train, en route Mariupol to Lviv.

All the organisers, mentors, partners and participants in one picture during the Empowering Women Hackathon in Kharkiv

Digiriigi Häkk (E-governance hackathon) was also a brand new concept, which we learned a lot from. Full on Estonian language event was organized to connect the public and private sector, have them mix and mingle and come up with solutions that would make our country even greater than Trump could imagine of.

One main reason for organizing this event was to have the private sector and ICT-solutions involved from a very grassroots level of the problem, instead of trying to fix things later when it would be too messy and complex. All the challenges for this hackathon were pre-selected with the help of the Ministry of Economic Affairs from other governmental institutions and teams helping to solve these problems were strong, fully functional company-teams.

The winning team Net Group celebrating their victory at Digiriigi Häkk

In March the legendary Garage48 Hardware & Arts turned 5 years old and crossed the milestone of the 7th event. Although at a considerable age already, we celebrated with fresh ideas, energy, and synergy between the very special Hardware & Arts community of long-time participants and the first-timers we see joining each time.
To spice things up a little more starting from February 2019, Garage48 Hardware and Arts will be reborn as a Garage48 Arts and Hardware. Our brand new babe will be even artsier and the strong focus will be on welcoming people from all the creative industries to mix up with engineers, designers and business folks to bring new ideas connecting arts, tech, and hardware into life.
Winner's demo at the Hardware&Arts Hackathon, Fall 2018

Our second wood focused hack Garage48 Wood 2 took part in Cesis (Võnnu ;)), Latvia and proved that expanding the Garage48 makeathon format into the wood industry wasn’t just a one-time lucky strike. We, again, experienced a high level of prototyping and a super-special vibe which we call a “wood hack vibe”. We can’t explain it, it is an indescribable magical feeling, or perhaps its something to do with the “spirit” of our magical event mascot Woody? You might have an opportunity to experience it yourself, as, like a domino effect, we might bring Garage48 Wood 3 to life already this autumn.

Our very own "48"  being cut out at the  Wood 2

What else went down? We did our fourth event SAS48 in Muscat Oman, organized Wellbeing vol 2 for tackling the issues of those with more complex and unfortunate backgrounds, tried getting our hands dirty on the field of agriculture with Tech for Agriculture and organized a series of Cyber Security Idea Garages all across the Baltics that led to a grand finale- Cyber Security Hackathon in April 2019.

2018 introduced us also to a lot of cool new team members, and some of us moved on.
In September Merit Vislapu- our newest project manager and Nilay Rammul- marketing manager joined. If you haven’t met them already, here’s a quick intro to both of this gals.

Meet Merit  Vislapu❤️
Merit is a bittersweet ingredient to the core team, organizing new hackathons and optimizing our cost-effective solutions with her infinitely feisty attitude. Merit enjoys dealing with numbers and checklists, especially when Beyoncé plays in the background. Her practical and witty mind turns every project into an enjoyable journey, with some serious €€€ saved due to her strong budgeting skills.

Meet Nilay Rammul❤️
Nilay is the sorcerer behind content management, media relations, and identity development. She takes part in occasional event marketing activities when she is not busy with working on brand equity, shopping for wine or playing geeky board games. She has a thing for behavioral economics and setting the sun wrapped in salty sea sand.

And one last change that the wind blew towards us in 2018- Garage48 found a new home- Palo Alto Club in Telliskivi Creative City. That means sayin’ goodbye to our longtime friend Lift99.  We are thankful for many good memories and office parties and even though our heart is little heavy-it’s time for us to move into a bigger nest and a room of our own.

What’s ahead? We are kicking off 2019 with 3 events in a row in February: Student Startup Camp, Arts & Hardware and Future of Mobility. They will be followed by our Base Camp Spring Edition in March and Empowering Women Train Edition in April. Many more events and co-operation projects are cooking at the moment and quite a few exciting new destinations will be added to spread the seeds of startup culture.

In a nutshell, we had a blast with 2018 and cannot wait to party with 2019. Every moment we had, was shared with the wonderful humans that surround us- mentors, hosts, participants and partner organizations. We are grateful for all your support and guidance in every step we take. We wish everyone a productive and fun-loaded 2019, and can’t wait to have our paths crossed again!

love& sunshine
G48 Crew

About the author

mari hanikat

Mari is the CEO at Garage48. She is a very strong and mission-driven leader not afraid to go places no one has been before and help people. 🚀

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