Education process improvement idea wins the first Startup Slalom IT hackathon in Ventspils

Startup Slalom, a hackaton brand created by the Latvian Startup Association, left Riga for the first time to bring together technology enthusiasts in Ventspils, thanks to support provided by the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA). Seven teams participated in the hackathon to present their results to the jury late Sunday.

The s’COOL team was declared the winner, taking the main prize of EUR 1,000 provided by the main sponsor of the event - Hansa Matrix. Project Pigeon placed second, and the entire team will be able to attend the Tech Open Air (TOA) Berlin conference in Germany June 11 to 14. The Fuffy team finished third, winning the right to use – collectively and individually – the TechHub Riga coworking space for one month, free of charge.

The teams presented the following ideas:

  • s’COOL – a tool to improve the education process, which offers students to study using the vast opportunities offered by smartphones, thereby making the learning process interactive and interesting
  • Project Pigeon – a tool to process customer feedback that, using artificial intelligence, enables prioritizing customer responses so the more urgent ones could be dealt with first
  • Fuffy – streamlined financial planning. Enter a product you wish to buy on credit, and the platform will calculate what amount you have to put aside every month so you could buy the product after a set period of time
  • Samay – a watch with one button and large digits that, using a bluetooth connection, can have any song from YouTube or radio set as an alarm clock
  • PYI Chat – private chat application for companies where, should important information be leaked, the “guilty” topic or thread can be deleted
  • Fit & Soc – application that coordinates training process between fitness coaches and their clients, who can keep track of their progress and share their achievements on social networks; the app also ensures communication between different gym visitors
  • PerFormEat – an application that creates different menus depending on the person’s job and working conditions, and nutrients the person needs on a daily basis

“We want to do something, not just think of new ideas,” Marta Avotniece, a representative of the winning team s'COOL and the author of their idea, says to explain her motivation. “I am a teacher of the 21st century. I know what children are interested in. Technologies and mobile phones often have a negative connotation, but that is very easy to change if we take care of content. In that case, they become a wonderful tool to explore the world.”

The team was working on the idea for 48 hours, built a working prototype and created the project’s landing page.  It will soon apply to take part in an accelerator in Finland, which will focus on education technology.

“It’s amazing that in three days we have created a product that we can present at the accelerator. We had a lot of fun, and our teamwork was great. Everyone knew what he or she had to do,” says Marta, who is very pleased with the results.

The hackathon was organized by Latvian Startup Association and LIAA, and co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The objective of the hackathon was to popularize innovative, tech-based ideas by young people and encourage them to try their hand at business.