On January 24, the eighth consecutive Biohackathon took place – a one-day hackathon for all business-minded students and innovative entrepreneurs passionate about innovating the fields of medicine, food and life sciences. The hackathon, traditionally held together with the sTARTUp Day festival, brought together more than 50 innovators with 10 different business ideas, whose goal was to make the world better through health, food, and biotechnology innovations. The ideas that came up were quite different, from DNA design assistant to an app that helps patients remember, track and understand how to take their medication, from gamification app about diabetes to vegan cheese.
As has become the custom, experts from various fields come to share inspiration at each BioHackathon, and participants also get practical tips from business coaches and mentors. This was the case current year as well. Katrina Laks, who with her team is also an alumnus of BioHackathon, shared the founder story of her company Migrevention. Through a lens of innovation, Migrevention delves into the heart of health and care transformation, from conventional to digital, where each step taken is a stride towards a future where health is not just managed but revolutionized—one disease, one primary headache pathway, at a time. Since there were many teams with health application ideas among the participants, the conversation after the presentation turned out to be quite long and thorough, as there are an infinite number of nuances in this field.
This year, the participants had the opportunity to learn the best tricks and techniques for pitching from Triin Kask (Soulie), whose fast-paced and energetic presentation did not leave anyone cold. As an experienced participant in pitching competitions, he pointed out five points that help to improve one’s pitch, that she has learned from his experience:
- Being specific and on point is the key
- Slides have to support that, not compete
- Design is important but more important is a strong story
- Strong story gives listeners the impression that you know what you’re doing, you’re an expert and you’re onto something big
- Practicing pitching over and over again helps you master the stage
The participants also received plenty of advice from the mentoring sessions, where top experts in various fields helped the teams find the most important part of their business plans. On this occasion, the following mentors helped with their advice: Pille Koorberg (Centre of Estonian Rural Research and Knowledge-METK);Riina Hallik (TalTech); Sven Parkel (Tartu Biotechnology Park); Andre Veskioja (METK); Elena Shkut (BioCC);Kadi Rammul (BioCC);Kady Hinn (SA Tartu Business Advisory); Kristiina Sepp (Estonian Business and Innovation Agency).
As the day was packed with activites, the pitching competition in the evening arrived unexpectedly quickly. Despite the short format of the event, the teams were well prepared and the competition was very exciting and fairly even from start to finish. However, the judges had to choose the three best teams.
- Best Health idea – 500 EUR prize was won by team Uter, whose aim is to prevent maternal mortality by using a belt that can detect muscle activation postpartum and be able to simulate the muscle in order to stop severe bleeding.
- Best Food idea – 500 EUR prize was won by the team CHEEAS with the business plan for vegan, sustainable, healthy cheese.
- Best pitch of the hackathon – tickets to the sTARTUp Day and 3h of business consultations from Tartu Biotechnology Park won the team PROsave with an idea of application that reduces food waste by personalized recommendations and reports.
Congratulations to all the winners, all the participants! See you all next year!
Biohackathon was a side event of sTARTUp Day 2024 – the most startup-minded business festival, taking place on 24-26 January 2024 in Tartu.
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