NOAH London is just around the corner, so we sat down with Europe’s most promising startups to learn more about why their products and services can revolutionize the digital ecosystem.
Today, we’re chatting with Wahab Esmalzada, Corporate Strategy and Business Development Manager of Hackdays who will be presenting on our Startup Stage at our conference on 30-31 October at Old Billingsgate.
When and why did you launch the business?
Our venture was founded in the summer of 2018, just over a year ago. We saw the difficulties companies across the economy had in attracting suitable tech talents, and how this hinders Germany’s development towards a fully digitized economy. We want to connect Europe’s bright minds with its industry. We want to provide young talents with the opportunity to showcase their skills and to have a direct impact.
What does the company do?
We provide Hackathon-as-a-Service: Hackdays unites Europe’s brightest minds with leading corporations to promote digital solution building in the fields of technology, business and design. With our four hackathon formats, we have developed a mechanism that simultaneously engages digital natives, tests their skills and provides ready-to-implement prototypes for digitized business portfolios. The highly in-depth process behind our hackathons creates new framework conditions for talent recruitment which benefit companies and professionals at the same time. Our unique talent acquisition program gathers highly qualified workers from all over the world who compete in hacking a business problem set by our corporate partners. Besides the physical hackathons, we are building a digital platform in cooperation with Microsoft to scale up our business model and take the competition to a global level.
What are your biggest milestones to date?
Our hackathons meet the corporate needs of a digitized world. Within less than 13 months, we were able to reach our self-imposed milestone of €1m revenue and extend our team to 15 employees. Our first strategic breakthrough was to establish Hackdays within the economic powerhouse of our domestic region, the Rhine-Neckar area. We managed to acquire 8 major companies here including BASF, SAP and Heidelberg Druck as strategic clients. Within the last 6 months we have expanded across Germany and entered into further cooperations with internationally established companies such as Lufthansa, Airbus and Accenture. By the end of 2019, we will have hosted 7 hackathons in total and our sales will amount to €1,3m. Our next step will be to successfully master the challenge of organizing a Germany-wide hackathon in 2020 in addition to the Digital Summit of the federal government. By 2020, our further milestones constitute a team size of 20 employees and a revenue of €3m.
What is your target market and how big is it?
Our talent acquisition program enables companies to successfully master their digital transformation at the pulse of time. 91% of companies in Germany see digitization as an opportunity for success, but only 25% pursue a digital strategy yet. More will join once digitized competition begins eating market shares. Our market is huge, and we are just beginning.
Why will you be successful?
Within less than 13 months, we were able to reach our self-imposed milestone of €1m revenue and extend our team to 15 employees. We are the only company in the world to offer virtual processed hackathons and thereby bundle knowledge and knowhow globally. By proceeding in this way, we can support our partners even more intensively in their digital change. Apart from that, we endeavor to promote the culture of innovation in foreign countries in collaboration with the respective state governments.
What is your next big challenge?
In addition to our ongoing regional and corporate hackathons, we are currently planning Hackdays Germany 2020, our first nationwide “super-hackathon”. It will be hosted complementary to the digital summit of the Federal Government. We will provide exciting and demanding challenges along with over 10+ multinational corporations for which we already acquired Airbus, Lufthansa, Microsoft and ThyssenKrupp. Regarding the participants, we aim at a total of 2000 digital talents from all around the globe. Altogether, Hackdays Germany 2020 will constitute our most extensive event so far. Needless to say, that we certainly accept this organizational challenge because we are always following our motto: “Go Big – or Go Home!”
What are you looking for at NOAH?
We are looking for potential Clients and cooperation’s, networking and investors
Are you planning to raise funds over the coming months and what criteria should your ideal investor have?
Yes, we are hoping to find strategic investors in the HR Tech space
Why should potential corporate clients meet you at NOAH?
The highly in-depth process behind our hackathons creates new framework conditions for talent recruitment. By means of a close exchange and intensive mentoring, companies are provided exclusive insight into the participants’ working and thinking methods. In addition, we offer corporate hackathons where company employees only solve internal challenges to develop new digital solutions for the company itself. Events like this integrate the hacking-mindset into the company’s DNA and increase digital competences of the employees.