HACK | BAY 2018 by ZOLLHOF — Tech Incubator

German article here.

CEO Benjamin presenting the criteria to win the competition.

ZOLLHOF’s mission as a Tech Incubator is to “Make entrepreneurship happen!” Launched in 2017, we already support over 30 startups throughout our programs. Following our mission, it is our goal to strengthen the entrepreneurship spirit in Nuremberg and serve as a hub for all things technology and startups. We advanced our goal this last week when ZOLLHOF held our second annual HACK|BAY in company history.

Early morning on June 10th, we welcomed nearly 200 guests to the Z-Bau in Nuremberg for the first day of our Hackathon. Our CEO, Benjamin Bauer, excitedly greeted the attendees with an opening speech, in which he also demonstrated his selfie skills by taking a group selfie. Immediately after, our partners N-ERGIE, Siemens, NÜRNBERGER Versicherung, CodeCamp N and HUK-Coburg all presented their challenges around our 3 themes: Machine Learning, Connected Cities and Industrial IoT. Our hackers couldn’t wait to get started!

After the presentations, all of the hackers had chosen which topics to hack for themselves, and began. They started out speaking with the mentors from each challenge, as they needed more information and had plenty of questions before they assembled into teams. A total of 25 mentors were present for support, and we hosted nearly 75 extra visitors in addition that were just interested in experiencing the event from the outside.

ZOLLHOf was particularly charmed by the presence of the Dachshund “Momo,” the first dog hacker we’ve ever had attend! We were also excited to host the Bombatkar family, all the way from Bombatkar, India, who brought along their three and a half year old daughter, breaking yet another record for ZOLLHOF as the youngest hacker yet! You can find the blog article from the mother, Minal Bombatkar, covering her experience at the hackathon here.

By noon of the first day, the teams had formed and selected their final challenges, and were very excited for lunch at that point. However, a couple of the teams didn’t even stop for the lunch break, as they were already so invested in their projects! Afterall, there was only a little over 24 hours left at that point to develop full prototypes and impressive pitches!

The Z-Bau offered the perfect location for this event, as there was much space and many rooms for the teams to work undisturbed in with plenty of space to branch out in. On the ground floor, hackers found food, drinks and entertainment. There was so much space that it was possible to hold two expert lecture sessions while broadcasting the semifinals of the FIFA World Cup, all in the same building and at the same time! In between sessions, there was frozen yogurt offered to cool down the hard-working teams, and those that needed a break really enjoyed playing with ZOLLHOF’s Foosball tables.

Enjoying the Foosball table.

After a busy first day, 20 hackers spent the night at Z-Bau. Two teams continued to work into the night, not taking the time for seemingly any breaks or distractions. ZOLLHOF staff overheard the most comical statement of the event come from one of these teams, as when one of the members needed a break, the others said, “We said, if you’re gone for more than two minutes, you’re out!” Whether that was meant to be fun or serious, ZOLLHOF staff certainly had a laugh. 😉

Day 2 then began, and the teams were in the home stretch on their way to completing their challenges. This day was full of practicing and preparing pitches. In addition to the lecture offered over, “How to Pitch,” four of ZOLLHOf’s startups also presented their pitches to provide good examples for the hackers, and assisted in training each of the 12 hacker teams for their pitches later in the afternoon. Finally, the semi-finals occurred, and the pressure was on.

Work work work.

While each team was determined to make it to the final (trust us), 5 of the 12 teams advanced to the final round, and then had the opportunity to pitch their ideas to the esteemed judges. The judges consisted of Dr. Ing. Martin Seibold (NÜRNBERGER insurance, Executive Board), Thomas Morgenroth (HUK-Coburg, Department Manager Company Organization), Stefan Gierse (Siemens, Director of Sales of General Mechanical Engineering), Martina Paasch (N-ERGIE, Board), and Benjamin Bauer (ZOLLHOF, CEO).

After a final that was as intense and exciting as the FIFA matches, ZOLLHOF and the hackers all saw professional pitches for amazingly innovative ideas. As only three teams could be chosen in the end, it was not easy for our jury to decide, but around the 7:30pm, our judges had made their decisions.

The first place position was awarded to the team “N-Socket” who developed smart sockets, and had participated in the Connected Cities challenge of N-ERGIE and NÜRNBERGER Versicherung.

Winning Team “N-Socket”

In second place came the team, “Plug & Secure” which produced an intelligent security solution for SMEs within the challenge of Machine Learning presented by CodeCamp N.

Second place “Plug &Secure”

In third place, “Smart Insurance” took the last winning position with their scanner for insurance documents, also through the challenge of Machine Learning.

3rd place “Smart Insurance”

All 3 winning teams are now included in the ZOLLHOF Acceleration Program that we offer, and have received prizes in value up to 2,050 €!

After the final concluded, the event ended with a delicious dinner and the second semifinal viewing of the FIFA World Cup, which lasted nearly all the way until midnight! For us at ZOLLHOF, the HACK | BAY 2018 was a complete success for everyone involved. For this, we would like to thank all of our partners, participants and supporters! Without you, such a successful event would not have been possible!

We have since collected a few opinions of the participants about the HACK | BAY 2018 by ZOLLHOF:

“(…) Otherwise, the hackbay was the coolest, the best organized and generally the most competent hackathon on which I was so far. I was a bit surprised by the average age, and I was one of the youngest at the age of 18, which was not bad, because you could benefit from the experience of such good and experienced programmers. “

“(…) And I can say: I could not have imagined it better! I learned more in the two days than I ever imagined. The mentors were super nice, the participants very motivated and the talks were always very interesting. Although I did not have much previous knowledge, I never felt useless in the team. Again and again, we adjusted the tasks so that each team member had something to do and contribute to the final product. It was also cool that you had pretty much every imaginable technology product. Just great that you could, at least for two days, play around with all sorts of technology. The prices were very lush and valuable, I’m curious to see what the 10-week Acceleration program is all about. Of course, this was rounded off by the excellent food, which felt better every now and then. “

Stay tuned to more great projects from ZOLLHOF — Tech Incubator: