From Christmas to Midsummer's Day - a lot can be done and changed

Midsummer Day, or Jaanipäev as we call it in Estonia, is the perfect time for a holiday and celebrations in the blooming nature and with white nights. But it is also a good time to look back to the past six busy months and make some run-downs.

Inspiring hackathons and reliable partners
During the Spring of 2018, Garage48 worked together with different ministries, embassies, badass-corporations and influential organizations to bring to you 18 different events - 13 hackathons, 4 Idea Garage’s and 1 Student Startup Camp which makes it almost 1 event per week. The events were held in 8 countries - Lithuania, Latvia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, and, of course, Estonia.

We loved working on organizing all the ideation sessions and hackathons, but some were definitely more memorable than the others :P

In February, we partnered up with SEB to organize the first ever Open Banking Hackathon in the Baltics to investigate on how open API can lead to the change of banking experience as we know it. Sounds cool, right? The Open Banking Hackathon was definitely one of the biggest hackathons we organized this season, bringing together over 150 participants from 8 different countries. The final live on Sunday night was watched by 11568 people!

Hardware and Arts in Tartu celebrated it's 5th anniversary this year and our old-timer is definitely going to continue it's successful road in Tartu and Riga this fall as well.

Empowering Women in Lviv in Ukraine was a memorable one in many ways. It was the first event that Garage48 has ever organized, that attracted more than 60% of the female participants. When talking to the girls on the event, quite a few of them mentioned, that they wouldn’t have had the courage to participate, if it wouldn’t have been for such an empowering theme. The hackathon itself was a superb mix of strong technical talent and level-headed business visionaries and marketers and we are really hoping to see some of these teams to take off with their ideas!

The positive energy we got from Ukraine, is definitely taking us back there 

In addition, the power we gained was soooo intense that our COO Mari managed to break her leg while karaoking at the afterparty and one of our best volunteers Ucha ended up struggling with dangerously high fever (combination of hackathon high and extremely wintery weather of Lviv). What a story to tell, right? But we are definitely going back to share the power and (tech) experience with Ukrainian women again already this year!

Cyber Security has been a very hot topic over the past years and more and more cyber attacks have been happening all over the world affecting millions of people. Therefore, it is our responsibility to find new solutions and to protect our data from upcoming threats. For this reason, Garage48, Startup Estonia and British Embassy joined hands for tackling these issues @ Cyber Security Hackathon in Tallinn. Garage48 loves long co-operations and the hackathon in April wouldn’t have been the same without the three Idea Garages that were held in Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn earlier this year. The Idea Garages were an excellent tool to spread some awareness on the topic of cybersecurity in the community and also an excellent link between British experts and Baltic cybersecurity community. We are super happy that the event was a success and cybersecurity as a topic is going to be right in the middle of our radar during the next season as well.

Cyber Security expert and mentor Mr. Kieren Lovell explaining how blockchain looks like 

Our season was finished with two outstanding hackathons - Tech for Agriculture in Tallinn and Visual Hackathon in Minsk. In Tallinn, the 3 best teams of the hackathon got an extraordinary chance to present their prototypes on a workshop called "Innovation in Agriculture" to King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, to the President of Estonia and to the ministers of Agriculture in both Netherlands and Estonia. A royal pitch is definitely something to remember and tell your (future) kids about!
Laur Läänemets from "Dude, where is my tractor"  presenting his T-shirt to the Dutch Ambassador in Estonia

Visual Hackathon in Minsk, Belarus was organized together with Facebook and Garage48's own success story - MSQRD, launched at one of the hackathons (Minsk, 2015) and acquired by Facebook four months later. We were super happy to be able to create a powerful mentor's team with Matt Hanson, Art Director @ Messenger and Eugene Nevgen, CEO and Co-Founder of MSQRD on board. “I really enjoyed our Visual Hackathon! It was so inspiring to see such a wide range of backgrounds and skill sets blend together so quickly. The sense of community that was developed during this time is a huge credit to Garage48 and the mentors selected to participate in this event. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to take part in an event that is fostering such great creativity and innovation,” said Hanson.
Even the  bravest ones need a power-nap every now and then. Mentor Matt  enjoying his new Ööloom sleeping mask after and before the next important check-point in Minsk. 

There's no Garage48 without the people
We've got a new COO - Mari Hanikat, who has added quite a few tasks to her previous position as a project manager. Mari, who joined Garage48 in the beginning of 2017 has an intention to grow the core team and to make Garage48 an even stronger player in the startup ecosystem in Europe and beyond.

Mari has an entrepreneurial background, with experiences of co-founding and running the companies in the logistics and health & wellness sector. She has lived and worked on both sides of the ocean and taught yoga on various retreats all over the place. Her time in Valley got her interested in experiential marketing and while teaching yoga classes (and taking all the classes that San Francisco had to offer) she worked as a private contractor, creating some serious event envy for companies like Facebook, Paypal, Google, Lyft, Cirque du Soleil and many others.

Mari is a strong believer in learning through the process and that is one of the many reasons she loves working at Garage48 - the opportunities to grow and explore are endless. With her strong passion for work & life, people and a  business savvy mind Garage48 is sure in for a ride of a lifetime!

In April 2018, two new project managers joined the Garage48’s Family. Liis Linn from Estonia, and Polina Shevchenko from Ukraine. They both have a lot of experience of managing projects in Europe and CIS and an extensive list of countries they have travelled to. Together, they speak 6 different languages and have lived in 4 different countries each. Both girls have master's degrees in Communication Management and a specific interest in Intercultural Relations and European Union affairs. Although the girls have a similar educational background and a badass problem-solving attitude, they also really complement each other. While Polina has a detailed plan for everything and can track down every number there is, Liis is a wizard of words, both in verbal and written.

Polina, Mari and Liis trying out the new Garage48 swag

For an example, during her year in Brussels, Liis managed to attend numerous high-level negotiations and be part of world-changing decision-making process. At the same time, developing her diplomatic skills and growing a fairly thick skin. She fully knows the importance of peaceful agreements and compromises, while still sticking to what is important to the idea and team she represents.

As a true Ukrainian spirit, hard-work, commitment and ambition is already written in Polinas DNA. She is always very dynamic and will look into innovative approaches to complete important tasks. Every time there is a meeting, she is the one to give up-to-date data on everything! We still haven't found out, how she does it?!

Garage48 is super happy to have such a versatile skill-sets in the team, and we are looking forward to all the cool hacks  and idea garages these ones will organise.

As already mentioned befoe, our team is continuously growing!  So we suggest you to check  the updates and new job offers on Garage48 webpage and on Facebook ! (fresh posts  already this week ;)

There's no Garage48 without the people and network. We are extremely thankful for all the mentors who have voluntarily helped us and the participants during the hackathons, before and after the events, shared their knowledge and valuable time and who have helped to keep up the good spirit! Special thanks to hosts Priit Salumaa, Ragnar Sass, Liis Narusk, Joao Rei, Maarika Truu, Elise Sass, Krists Avots and Kai Isand.

Garage48 team being great together in Moldova

Garage48 has always been strongly depending on the volunteers and interns and all the time and effort they put into making these events happen. We are super thankful for the ones who have stuck around with us through thick and thin - Viliyana, Marina, Renita, Ucha, Kelli and Karina- we couldn’t have done it without you!

Can't wait to work with you all also in the autumn season and in upcoming years. You all have become an important part of our family.

Fresh and even more ambitious Garage48
New look was developed for Garage48 by our amazing friend and designer - Cesar Zeppini  earlier this year.  We opted for a trendier, flatter design and we cannot love it more! To give you a little teaser - Cesar is still working on some more designs and our brand new website, which will be launched on Fall 2018. 

To sum it up, …

Even though the Fall 2018 Season is fully booked, we are looking forward to hearing your (crazy) cool ideas and proposals for co-operation for the next season. Write to us @ info@garage48.org or come have a coffee and chat with us in Telliskivi!

Hope to see you all sooner or later as participants, mentors, volunteers or as partners at our events!