A Guest Blog Post by Team Trabble, Start-Up Category Winners of the Changi Airport Hackathon

Please grant us our little moment, but oh holy neeners, we won! My colleagues and I are still dizzy over it. We never really thought we would, given all the proper brilliant ideas that were pitched on Sunday.

(From left) Lee Seow Hiang (CEO, CAG) with Joanna and Dora from Team Trabble

First, let me introduce ourselves. Trabble is a young local tech-travel start-up. Our product is an e-concierge platform, on which travellers can ask any travel questions about Singapore and get specific, non-search engine answers instantly. At present, this e-concierge function is available on our website. We’ve also got a mobile application in the works, which will feature this e-concierge service and a whole lot more. We can’t wait to launch it — it’s going to be so chockful of features that it will change the meaning of travel.


Now, back to the hackathon! Joining as a start-up meant that we already had an idea, and more time to tweak it. The challenge was in tweaking it to fit perfectly with Changi Airport’s needs. Beyond our basic e-concierge platform, we wanted to super value-add our prototype. After all, a bunch of grapes always looks better when it’s a part of a gift basket.

Coming up with ideas was easy. Getting them to fit was the problem. We decided early on that the platform would be integrated with the iChangi app — it only makes sense to encourage travellers to download just one app, not two. Beyond that, we came up with many other ideas to puff up the package. Each idea was carefully thought through, and then shredded to smithereens over questions like: what good would this do, how would this benefit Changi Airport, and would it make sense to a user to click on our tab to get this instead of the rest of the iChangi tabs?

We learnt the value of something very important during the Changi Hackathon: focus. On the second day, we were deliriously tired from an entire night of juggling and tossing ideas around, and trying to build the prototype to accommodate all those ideas.

Our turn came for the presentation clinic — a time for us to rehearse and present our pitch to some of the mentors. They gave us such valuable advice: to focus on the good thing, our e-concierge platform. To look at it from a different perspective. Not just ours, but the CAG’s and the users’.

With three and a half hours left, we decided to take a big risk — we changed everything. We trashed all the bits of the prototypes featuring the value-added features. We re-wrote the example conversation on the prototype, structuring the entire thing with the perspective of the user and CAG in mind, and re-organised our pitch to focus on them.

With five minutes left to take the stage, we completed the new prototype, and after pitching, threw it to the wind. We never really thought we would win — after all, there were many great ideas pitched that day, and we did re-do everything in three-and-a-half hours on coffee-addled and sleep-deprived minds.

Getting through the hackathon and finishing as we did could not have happened by our own ideas and abilities. Honestly, we really have to thank the CAG mentors, the startup mentors and the people from UP Singapore for that. They were so helpful and willing to listen to our ideas and perspectives, and each of them gave us really useful and insightful advice, from the planning and design stage right to the presentation clinics.

Most importantly, we’ve really learnt so much during the hackathon that would help us further as we continue to develop our platform, and we can’t wait to see where we will go from now, with these new skills and lessons.

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