Just a week after the lockdown of all 3 Baltic countries due to Coronavirus threats, this region took its tech-savviness to new heights, launching a positive snow-ball effect all over Europe and beyond running Online Hackathons to tackle COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath. Our team took an active part in the first 2 such hackathons and now we are proud to announce that we are also stepping up the game and launching a dedicated “Hack the Crisis” online pre-accelerator to help selected teams from these and other upcoming online crisis hackathons to ensure their continued impact and viability.
#HackTheCrisis movement started last weekend when Garage48 together with Accelerate Estonia launched the first (at that time they thought the only one) Hack the Crisis Online Hackathon to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic. (You can read more about their results here.) Afterward, our own team members took the ball rolling and joined forces with other ecosystem players from Latvia to carry out the second of these hackathons – #HackForce. A week later 10 more hackathons have been confirmed and the number keeps on growing and taking over the world.
This movement is real proof that such global crises unite people. It has been amazing to witness techies and NGO sector, hackers and state officials working side by side (and online!) for 48h to develop solutions for medical, educational, societal and economical challenges related to the pandemic crisis. As the example of Estonia and Latvia showed, also the governmental sector is keen on making fast decisions, not only allocating financial support to the winners but also involving state officials and relevant institutions in the hackathon process itself as mentors, jury and even just as participants. The requests for help and ideas are still coming in despite the fact that both hackathons have already finished, and their Slack channels (the platform used for online communication and co-working) are still buzzing with activity.
From mechanical ventilators, facial masks and simulations for remote education of doctors, to volunteer management systems, fact-checking websites, real-time corona infection spread maps, remote work tools and so much more – these are only some of the directions teams have taken during the 2 hackathons.
Let’s maximize the impact
Already in ordinary circumstances, life after hackathons for the teams might be challenging and often they fail to continue. But at times like these, it’s crucial for them and everyone else whose life they might impact, that the teams have a next stepping stone. That’s why we are launching dedicated Online Pre-accelerator to ensure the continuity and maximum impact after #HackTheCrisis hackathons. The program will start at the end of March. We hope it will also become a platform for mentors and other supporters, who have jumped on the hackathon train, to continue working with the teams.
Pre-accelerator is a 7-week online program with workshops, webinars, mentoring calls, and an online Demo Day. Mentors and educational materials will cover topics from the technical MVP to product-market fit, from sales to fundraising, and more. “Hack the Crisis” program is based on an already existing Online Pre-accelerator program Startup Wise Guys have been running for a year with 5 batches and more than 100 graduates. Given the experience, we know that it’s the perfect training ground for early-stage startup founders to put their business in order and prepare for a full-time accelerator, the first investment round, or in this case for the real world outside the online and startup bubble.
Long-term vision and positive impact in the ecosystems runs in the blood of the Startup Wise Guys team and already existing efforts of accelerating founders from underserved regions in terms of startup financing and collaborative mindset. #HackTheCrisis movement has proven to have the same value system (think knowledge sharing, mutual support, etc), so we see great synergy and amplification possibility of positive impact on tackling the current crisis and building strong entrepreneurs for “after-virus” world.
If this got you excited and you also want to run a “Hack the Crisis” hackathon – reach out to Garage48 for guidance and join the Global “Hack the Crisis” organizers Slack channel (all relevant info about it HERE).