Berlin Hack Night @ ESMT

The location of our office is great, not only because of its history, or because it is located in Berlin, but also because we are in close proximity to ESMT (European School of Management and Technology). Sitting so closely to a school that has a similar spirit to us, and an education fostering budding founders, techies and business management, gives us the chance to support events such as their first Hackathon (Hack Night), which took place two weekends ago.

100+ people attended the event: more than 70 participants, plus 13 mentors, 4 judges and an amazing crowd of enthusiastic guests.

We asked the organisers (ESMT student Entrepreneurship Club) a few questions around the event and its purpose. Here’s what they told us:

What was the purpose of this event?

The main goal of the Hackathon was to bring techies and business people together to exchange mindsets. Both areas are needed to build startups or any kind of business based on technology, but before that, they need to understand each other’s insights. That is why we think both sides (techies and business people) have to learn from each other; how they think, how they make decisions, how they work and even what kind of tools they use.

What else could you say about the event?

The ESMT Hacknight is an overnight event where participants with different profiles come together to build something from scratch; to tackle the future of education, which was the topic of this first edition challenge. Helped by mentors -experts from diverse backgrounds and industries- they start with an ideation process that helps them to find an actual problem and build a solution –a tech-based product- that solves or diminishes it.

Who attended the event?

We had two profiles of participants: the techies and the business people. On one hand we had developers and coders who were excited about the future of education, mostly coming from the local scene in Berlin. On the other hand, the business people, who were MBA and Master in Management candidates, not only from ESMT Berlin but also from Top Business Schools in Europe: HEC Paris, Politecnico di Milano, and INSEAD.

Why do people participate?

We believe people felt engaged with the topic and the overnight challenge itself.

“This topic is of major relevance to business schools and to society as a whole, in a world where new technologies are more accessible and new job titles appear every day, we need to rethink our educational systems and structures to prepare future workers adequately.”

-Demis Estabridis, the Entrepreneurship Club, ESMT

Definitely, it helps to have a better understanding of what building a product means if you are not a techie or have not started your own company yet.

What were the results of the Hackathon? What did you achieve?

As Entrepreneurship Club we are happy to set the foundations of an event we believe shows the spirit of the start-up scene all around the world and to have brought it to our business school in Berlin.

On the other side, participants achieved to build actual prototypes (MVP) and pitch their ideas to a very exigent panel of judges. The result from that side is a winning team with an amazing idea that impacts the learning journey directly. In fact, the winning team, Project Athena is powered by machine learning and AI, it also provides personalised learning and education for schools and students via strengthening the data analysis and leveraging the value of big data.

Each team member won 1,000 euros thanks to Helix Foundation.

Will you organize this event again?

That is the plan! We would love to run this event once a year. For the next edition, we are thinking of a different schedule, that allows people to start earlier and end earlier and also have up to 20 teams.

What does organising events like this bring to the ESMT studentship?

It brings one major thing: a lot of new opportunities for our students and club members; they have the opportunity to meet techies, which can end in new business ideas, or simply share insights. That is a huge gain for both profiles.

It also allows us to show the spirit inside our business school lead by the ESMT Entrepreneurship Club: we are excited to be located in Berlin, we are also part of this vibrant start-up ecosystem. We are here to contribute, learn and help.


The success of such events and the passion that exists to bridge different expertise with the goal to drive innovation, keeps contributing to the entrepreneurial spirit that we have here in Berlin. It is a pleasure to see and support initiatives like these – we look forward to next year’s Hackathon!

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