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HACKATHON: Innovation Through Multicultural Tech Creative Exchange

By Ana Kealy

July 4, 2023

One of the advantages of being employed at a top-tier tech company is our internal Hackathon! Our team of Developers thrives on the excitement of participating in a Hackathon, which requires diverse teams consisting of not just Developers, but also professionals from QA, Sales, Business Intelligence, and Marketing. By including these various roles, each Hackathon project becomes a comprehensive solution that caters to the entire business ecosystem. This fosters a continuous exchange of creativity, fueling personal and corporate growth.

So, what exactly is a Hackathon? In May 2023, we organized a Hackathon aimed at uniting our team members and facilitating this creative exchange. During the event, participants were encouraged to generate new ideas, initiate projects, or develop innovative features, all with the purpose of advancing our company's technological resources and enhancing the overall experience for our clients. Moreover, the Hackathon served as an excellent opportunity for team members to learn from one another, refine their skills, build connections, and collaborate with colleagues they may not typically interact with, in their day to day role.

About the Hackathon 

The Hackathon took place on May 17th, 18th, and 19th, engaging our teams in a collaborative exchange of technical and creative expertise. Prior to the event, the teams had proposed new tools or feature ideas to a jury board. Upon selection, they had a dedicated 3 days to develop their chosen projects and present the outcomes to both the company and the jury board. Subsequently, the jury cast their votes for the most impressive projects. The winners were then announced during our annual group-wide Team Building event, held in Pals from June 7th to 9th. A total of 15 Hackathon projects were pursued, with the top 3 projects crowned as winners, while an additional 3 projects received special recognition for categories such as Best Team Spirit, The Most Ambitious Team, and The Most Creative Team.

Our winning Hackathon Projects

So without further ado, here are our winning hackathon projects!

1st place: SaaSy Pay – Internal Payments Platform SaaS

Project: Company-wide internal API for payment integration, potentially becoming a public-facing product.

Project Lead: Darío Cavuotti, Senior Backend Developer in Engineering

Team members:

  • Federico Fazzi, Finance Director
  • Cristina Català Ramos, Head of Controlling and Reporting in Finance
  • Aleix Alonso Manjón, Backend Engineer
  • Luis Mateu, Software Developer
  • Susana Deus, QA Engineer
  • Vitor Duarte Rocha, Junior Back End Developer

Hackaton Winners

2nd place: Customer Success Crusaders – Client Care Assistant

Project: ChatGPT-based Customer Success Assistant that can learn contextually, provide context-aware support and have fluent conversations, amongst other functionalities.

Project Lead: Marc Dalmau Rodriguez, Customer Success Team Lead

Team members:

  • André Ayala Querido, Junior Backend Engineer
  • Elvira Toumasi, QA Engineer
  • Leroy Buratto Medeiros, Front End Developer
  • Roman Sadovnikov, Senior Backend Engineer
  • Tânia Filipa Da Silva, Junior Frontend Engineer
  • Miriam Fernández Gómez, IT Helpdesk / Junior Sysadmin

Hackaton 2nd place

3rd place: ProFileFiesta – Client Profiles

Project: Internal user-friendly client profile integrated with the admin panel or back office for better client data tracking.

Project Lead: Cristina Cubero Ovejero, Team Manager in Publishing

Team members:

  • Bruno Bontempo, UX Product Designer
  • Daniela Fernandes Pereira, Junior Front End Developer
  • Gabriel Martinez Nunes, Back-end Developer
  • Julieta Veronica Rivelli, Senior Laravel Developer
  • Ana Sofia Barreira, QA Engineer

Hackaton 3rd place

The Most Creative Team: Creative Crusaders – Ad Creative Optimisation

Project: AI-powered platform that integrates ChatGPT and EXADS’ Admin Panel for generating and optimizing ad creatives, streamlining the ad creation process.

Project Lead: Facundo Colella, Head of Development

Team members:

  • Juan Pablo Olivera, Junior Full Stack Developer
  • Nicolas Rivera, Front End Developer in Development
  • Ana Belén Serrano Alfonso, Senior Publisher Account Manager
  • Lavinia Neagu, Director of Customer Success

Hackaton Creative team

The Most Ambitious Team: AdNirvana – Ad Serving POC

Project: Scalable POC for ad-serving infrastructure, utilizing advanced tech to decouple campaign data management, improve data retrieval, and more.

Project Lead: Bruno Pick, Senior PHP Developer

Team members:

  • Kristijan Kontus, Senior Backend Developer
  • Marco Muracchioli, Senior PHP Developer
  • Sérgio Miguel Carneiro Sousa, Junior QA Engineer

Hackaton Ambitious  team

Best Team Spirit: Team Rocket – Improved BI dashboards

Project: Enhanced BI dashboards with advanced data visualization and analysis tools for better insights.

Project Lead: Marta Expósito Ventura, Head of Business Intelligence

Team members:

  • Maximiliano Vitale, Frontend Engineer
  • Óscar Marín Sánchez, Junior Data Analyst
  • Rubén Recio Cruz, Senior Technical Specialist
  • Ruben Peñaranda Caparrós, Junior Developer

Hackaton team spirit

Here are the prizes that the winning teams and the special projects were awarded for their effort on this company level technical and creative exchange:

  • Trophies for the team leader
  • Medals for the team members
  • Hackathon branded hoodies and caps

For the 3 winning teams we also got:

  • An iPad for the 1st winning team, for all team members
  • Apple AirPods for the 2nd winning team, for all team members
  • A Google Home assistant for the 3d winning team, for all team members

Growth, creative exchange and collaboration spirit: The Hackathon experience

After the awards ceremony we asked our winners a few questions about the overall experience:

Give us 2 highlights of your Hackathon experience

Marta Expósito, Head of Business Intelligence, Team Rocket Project Lead: ‘When we got our Jupyterhub server running and working it was a huge moment for us all, and also I genuinely enjoyed our crazy Slack conversations that happened mainly in css code!’

Marc Dalmau, Customer Success Team Lead, Customer Success Crusaders Project Lead: ‘It was a genuinely intense experience with plenty of challenges which allowed us to collaborate on a greater scale creative exchange and to work on something out of our comfort zone with different people. The Hackathon required us to be entirely focused on a brand-new project for three days and to coordinate precisely and accurately to ensure we could deliver the project by the end of the third day.’

Cristina Català Ramos, Head of Controlling and Reporting in Finance, SaaSy Pay Project Lead: ‘When I joined the project I had a specific first idea of what I wanted to do with it, but I was pleasantly surprised when everyone shared their ideas and it all developed into an ambitious project that will have a great impact on my department. We have an amazing team, which makes EXOGROUP one of the best tech companies to work for!’

Hackaton image 7

Tell us about your experience managing and working with your team:

Facundo Colella, Head of Development, Creative Crusaders Project Lead: ‘Everyone was great to work with and very proactive. We were a group that was able to complement each other very well, so everything went smoothly.’

Darío Cavuotti, Senior Backend Developer SaaSy Pay Project Lead: ‘My team was great and it was a fantastic experience! Even though we had a plan in mind I think we had the flexibility for everyone to jump into something that would be interesting for them, and was a great learning opportunity. We did a lot of pair programming and coding along with some meetings.’

Susana Deus, QA Engineer, SaaSy Pay Team Member: ‘It was a great experience, to get to connect with people that I don’t work with daily and to exchange knowledge to create something entirely new!’

Cristina Cubero, Team Manager in Publishing, ProFileFiesta Project Lead: ‘During these three days I’ve learnt a lot on how developers work and organize their tasks, they were all highly committed to do their best on the project and deliver the tasks on time.’

Hackaton image 8

Did you get to work with somebody you never worked with before? How was it?

Leroy Medeiros, Front End Developer, Customer Success Crusaders Team Member: ‘Yes, almost everybody! And everyone is amazing  – This truly is one of the best tech companies to work for! It was awesome having everyone’s input and working together to bring the final idea together.’

Aleix Alonso Manjón, Backend Engineer, SaaSy Pay Team Member: ‘I had never collaborated on a project with anyone from my Hackathon team before, so it was a great networking experience! They were all really nice to work with and it was really good to get to know new people within the company.’

Ana Belén Serrano, Senior Publisher Account Manager, Creative Crusaders Team Member: ‘Yes, and it was an enriching experience. My profile is not technical so it was interesting to see how our devs divided the project into small sections to make the project work, and showed the real complexity in areas that I thought would be simple – It is a completely new way of seeing things and a different perspective for me!’Hackaton Image 9

What is a Hackathon? Give us an example of a challenge you faced in the Hackathon and how you overcame it:

Elvira Toumasi, QA Engineer, Customer Success Crusaders Team Member: ‘We had to work with ChatGPT and the Chat itself was a challenge! Learning and understanding how chatGPT works and how to train it to work for us took a while – We had to collect a big amount of data and format it in a way that the chat model would understand it. After all of this, you think the chat would just take the data and answer back perfectly, but nope! We had to train it and improve our data and learn all over again in a very small period of time! But we did it and it was worth it :)’

Roman Sadovnikov, Senior Backend Engineer, Customer Success Crusaders Team Member: ‘Fine-tuning the AI LLM model is a challenge in itself, as it’s a really new technology. I was on “terra incognita” and after some failures we managed to achieve some results. Also, it was a bit tricky to set up the web server and publish the prototype, but with the help of the infra team and some trial and error we managed to make it all happen!’

Vitor Duarte Rocha, Junior Back End Developer, SaaSy Pay Team Member: ‘One day, I found myself stuck without my work computer, which led to an unexpected situation. However, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I had the opportunity to engage in pair programming with my colleague Darío. It turned out to be an incredible experience that I thoroughly enjoyed!’

Hackaton image 10

Join one of the best tech companies to work for and participate in our next Hackathon!

Would you like to be a part of the team and participate in our next Hackathon and other internal and external events? Are you looking for php developer jobs, senior php developer jobs, or other developer jobs? Make sure to check out our current job openings on our careers page and join one of the best tech companies to work for!

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Ana Kealy