The Ecosystem: how to seed start-ups in a hackathon

11 Jun 2024 | News

Hackathons are meant to be fun - but sometimes they also leave a legacy by kick-starting a company


The winners of the 2022 EU TalentOn, including the eventual founders of OncoSwab. The 2024 edition takes place in Katowice in September. Photo credits: 2024 EU TalentOn

Hackathons are great for inspiring students and creating a buzz around innovation, but does this rapid brainstorming ever lead to the formation of successful start-up companies? The answer is yes, though examples are few and far between. Talk to the founders of these companies, and it seems that hackathons seed start-ups more by accident than by design.

“We were not planning to found a company, we just wanted to hang out somewhere and have a good time,” says Lukáš Brchl, co-founder and chief executive of Dronetag, a Czech start-up with its roots in a 2018 hackathon organised by the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre (ESA BIC) in Prague.<…