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Why Talivest Loves Hackathons | CLS Engagement App Challenge

Written by

Niamh Madden


What’s a hackathon? Well, it’s all about teamwork, communication and…playing darts (more on that later)! Here’s how Team Talivest got on at the CLS Engagement App Challenge.

CLS Engagement App Challenge

Pictured: Team Talivest – Gabriel Cornoiu, CTO; Declan Cassells, Head of Product; Niamh Madden, Community Manager; Paulo Cunha, Senior Front End Developer, with Charlie Gaffney, BeMyApp.

We were delighted to be chosen as one of 9 global startups to go to London for the CLS Engagement App Challenge. This 48-hour hackathon was a competition to build an employee engagement app for CLS, a company that helps clients navigate the changing FX marketplace. We entered the competition for a chance to win the smashing £10,000 prize to build a Minimum Viable Product. We also took the opportunity to get together as a team and learn from other leading HR tech companies. So here’s a run-through of the event and why we heart hackathons!

Hackathon Fact #1 – Delicious Grub

It would be wrong of me not to start with how good the food is at a hackathon. Being a pesky pescatarian, I wasn’t sure what the options would be like for non-meat eaters. CLS and the organizers BeMyApp put on a lovely spread that included croissants stuffed with avocado and feta (surely a Millennial’s dream come true) as well as delicious smoothies. I had visions of hackathons involving scoffing down cans of Monster and pizza at 3am but boy was I wrong. Thanks to everyone who put on such a lovely spread catering to all types of awkward and non-awkward eating habits!

Smoothie-o-rama at the CLS Hackathon
Smoothie-o-rama at the CLS Hackathon

Hackathon Fact #2 – Teamwork is Everything

We have a phenomenal tech team here at Talivest, and there are just three people on it, rocking our customers and keeping our tech machine ticking! I joined these three rockstars at the hackathon as a business strategist responsible for doing our intro and pitch. Although not a techie myself, I was welcomed with open arms. The four of us functioned as a strong team, making sure we knew who was doing what, using post-its to keep track of everything, coming up with ideas, and giving each other feedback along the way. Not only that, we got to play darts to unwind at a hipster pub called “Flight Club”, which somehow managed to weave darts and technology together to create an incredible experience!

We made sure to unwind in the evenings as a team

Darts and tech go hand in hand at Flight Club

Darts and tech go hand in hand at Flight Club, London

Hackathon Fact #3 – Celebrating Success is Key

On Day 1 of the hackathon, we got to present our employee engagement app to the CLS mentors and judges. I was extremely nervous presenting a 3-minute pitch to the judges and was on the verge of tears afterwards because of the pressure! The team cheered me up and when we went to find out who came in the top three places at the end of Day 1, we were delighted to see team Talivest at the top of the board! We paused to celebrate before knuckling down to practicing our pitch.

Talivest - Top 3 in CLS Engagement App Challenge
Talivest – Top 3 in CLS Engagement App Challenge
Team chats at CLS Engagement App Challenge
Team chats at the CLS Engagement App Challenge

Hackathon Fact #4 – So Many Teachers

One thing I love about working in a startup is how many teachers you meet every day. It’s impossible not to learn something new from the talented people around you. Imagine that times 100 at a hackathon! We learned how to give a kick-ass demo from Charlie Gaffney from BeMyApp. We learned the latest in engagement trends from Peter Hawes, Internal Comms and Employee Engagement Manager from CLS. Not only that, we learned from the incredible startups around us, seeing all their innovative ideas come to life during the final 3-minute pitch on Day 2.

Peter Hawes from CLS on Employee Engagement
Peter Hawes from CLS on Employee Engagement
CLS Mentors at the Engagement App Challenge
CLS Mentors at the Engagement App Challenge

Hackathon Fact #5 – It’s Not All About Winning

I’m a competitive soul. So much so that my goal this month (written into my bullet journal) was “Win CLS Engagement App Challenge.” Team Talivest put our heart and soul into listening to what CLS were looking for and spending time refining our product so that it would fit their business. Although we didn’t win, we got some brilliant feedback and constructive ideas that’ll continue to inspire and motivate us! The winners were Oswald Labs, who came up with an excellent solution and we wish them all the best as they work with CLS. We were also inspired by the pitches from every single contestant – Mars Spiders, Maximus Life, Vibe Metrics, Aponomy, MyCrowdCompany, CirrusCloud and Toguna.

Oswald Labs, Winners of the CLS Engagement App Challenge
Oswald Labs, Winners of the CLS Engagement App Challenge
Paulo and Gabriel at the CLS Engagement App Challenge
Paulo and Gabriel at the CLS Engagement App Challenge
The Talivest Team at the CLS Engagement App Challenge
The Talivest Team at the CLS Engagement App Challenge

Well done to everyone who participated and thanks for having Talivest on board!

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