50 people who have never met before, one weekend, exploding champagne, duck fat for lubrication, insects in your mouth and more.
So, what exactly happened at FoodHack Geneva? This is the perspective from the organizers behind the weekend.
Before the weekend
May 2016: We posted in a Facebook group exploring the interest of a Food Hackathon in Switzerland.
June 2016: We have an extremely positive response from Switzerland’s entrepreneurial and startup community. FoodHack Geneva is now born and the weekend of the 29th & 30th October is set.
June 2016 — October 2016: In the following months we partner with all of these amazing companies and associations.
14th October 2016, 2:02pm: Bilan Magazine covers FoodHack Geneva.
Genève va accueillir le premier hackaton sur l’alimentation en Suisse
Face au gaspillage et au réchauffement climatique généré par l’accroissement des émissions de gaz à effet de serre, des…
14th October 2016, 6:30pm: We host a pre-event ‘The Future of Food’ and bring 70+ people together for an evening of dinner, talks and discussions.
20th — 27th October: Among the 100+ applicants we received, we select the top 50 based on skill set, motive to attend and experience.
28th October, 1:33pm: With all the participants now confirmed, FoodHack Geneva is ready to take place.
28th October, 4pm — 11pm: We make the finishing touches, assemble the goodie bags, set up the space and fill the fridge with bio energy drinks from Biotta.
The FoodHack Weekend
Day 1 : Saturday 29th October
8:15am: Warm coffee and an energising breakfast prepared by the chefs at OGGI is laid out.
8:17am: Our first group of participants arrive. They all met on the train ride here and have already started forming friendships.
8:30am: The room is half full, participants from all over Switzerland (and even some from abroad) are helping themselves to breakfast. Discussions and ideas are flowing freely and everyone is eager to shape a better future of food.
8:35am: We meet Lola 🐶
9:23am: The room is now full. Everyone moves upstairs for the opening presentations to begin.
9:24am: Participants find on their chairs a goodie bag full of everything they needed for a fruitful weekend.
Healthy snacks by Hoppbox, sustainable soy candles by Lanxel, seeds from IKEA, leaflets with relevant data from Foodwaste.ch, Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne & Partage, recycling bins and baskets thanks to the City of Geneva and a pen and notebook to keep all their ideas in over the weekend.
9:30am: The room settles down and we begin our opening presentations, answering all the important questions such as, what is a hackathon, what is the brief and are insects really on the menu?
9:37am: Surprise birthday song and brownie for one of participants, Fabrice who just turned 51. 🎉
9:41am: A bottle of champagne in the room randomly explodes midway through presentations. No one is hurt, and now everyone has a story to tell of how they survived the #explodingchampagne.
9:45am: The room is already bustling with ideas so we hand over to Greg and Hichame from The Shared Brain who conduct a brainstorming session with all of the participants.
10:30am: 45 minutes and hundreds of ideas later, it’s time to invite all of the participants with ideas to complete their elevator pitches — the format: 60 seconds, no slides.
11:00am: What a response. Half of the room has pitched ideas. Everything from PokemonGo for food, canned soup, doggie bags you’ll actually want to use and duck fat for lubricating snowboards, skis and, well, sex.
11:01am: Now it’s judgment time, with a total of 23 ideas pitched, participants have to pick their favorites so that teams can be formed.
11:35am: Clear favorites have been picked, with Tinder For Food the most voted idea, followed by Canned Soup and Foodie Box. Some mergers are formed and we now have the top 8 ideas selected, each with a team leader.
11:40am: Every team leader is allocated to an office and their fellow participants have to pitch themselves in order to join a team. Team leaders need to keep in mind the skills they are looking for this weekend and include a healthy mix of developers, designers and business minds.
12:15pm: As the dust settles, team names and their members are stuck outside their offices and participants shut their doors ready to make magic happen.
1:30pm: Those doors quickly swing open at the smell of lunch. Tasty, juicy veggie and beef burgers sponsored thanks to HolyCow!
2:00pm: Lunch goes down a treat and participants get back into full swing with their work, keeping in-line with the zero waste theme, some participants put the HolyCow! delivery boxes to good use as material for their own packaging prototypes.
2:30pm: Our expert mentors arrive, Timothee Bardet from Wiine.me, Nick Richmond from Hoppbox, Flore Martinson & Carlotta Ehrenzeller from Too Good To Go, Alexandre Bugat from Ptit Déj O Lit, Théo Fischer from Euforia, Manuel Klarmann & Aurelian Jaggi from Eaternity, Hannes Gassert from OpenData, Arnaud Gervaix from Urban Kamboucha, Anna Radwan from Partage, Luca Girasole & Patrick Bte from OGGI and Emilia Cavuoto.
3:15pm: Mentors are paired up and allocated to different teams. Briefed on the early stages of the teams ideas, they are there to act as guides, asking questions and pointing the teams in the right direction.
3:17pm: Mentors meet their teams and step inside their offices — the doors shut quickly behind them and stay that way for the next hour.
4:30pm: Lola the dog has woken up from a nap and teams are busy working away at their business models, customer segments and mockups.
7:00pm: Participants are slowly coming down from their earlier adrenaline rush and need a little pick me up. Luckily, a shining star from above, filled with veggies and wrapped in tin foil has arrived — it’s Burrito Time!
The meal, sponsored by the newly opened Burrito Brothers in Geneva gets teams talking with one another and sharing their ideas, data and research.
7:45pm: Participants return to their offices to continue working.
9:15pm: It’s time for a little treat. Well, a few treats. Some with many legs, some with no legs and some with wings too.
9:23pm: Word about the treats arrival quickly spreads and already a group has formed around Sylvia Schibli Saputra from Grimiam who is preparing the different delicacies for us to try.
9:30pm: The stage is set, 3 different kinds of insects cooked and ready, some straight from Sylvia's garden this morning. Accompanying is an appetiser of mash potatoes, coriander and maggots along with “insect breakfast bars”.
Sylvia explains the reasoning behind insects for human consumption and how they can be a part of our daily diet. Following this, she invites everyone to a taste. Whilst some people jump forward to have a try others crawl backward waiting to see their fellow participants reactions first.
Homemade Ice tea and Urban Kombucha is made available for those who struggle to clear their palette.
9:55pm: Energised by the experience of tasting insects for the first time, the teams head back to work.
11:37pm: Our team bids our farewell, off to get some shut eye before the next day. Whilst some participants are dedicated to continue working all through the night, others find a comfy spot to rest for the night.
Day 2 : Sunday 30th October
3:00am: Daylight savings. Clocks move back one hour. Thank goodness for that.
6:30am: Rise and shine.
7:30am: “Damn I should have grabbed a second almond croissant”, I think to myself as I observe the leftover crumbs.
8:45am: Time for a much needed yoga session organised by Anne-Sophie from Native Yoga to get the blood flowing, the body warmed up and the mind focussed on the task at hand.
9:30am After some known and some unknown body parts have been stretched, it’s back to work for the teams as the clock is ticking.
11:15am: All chairs are taken and we bring in an additional 8.
11:18am: The room is now full with 24 participants, some standing, ready to learn from Nick on how to tailor their pitch and presentation to the judges.
11:50am Half an hour and many insights and laughs later the workshop is complete and lunch is ready. Homemade lentils and vegeterain curry by OGGI has filled the entire space with an incredible aroma and everyone’s stomaches are rumbling in anticipation.
12:30pm: Mathilde from our team has finished her second serving of curry lentils and is considering getting thirds.
1:15pm: Lola the dog is searching for empty jars to clean.
3:00pm: Mentors and judges arrive.
4:00pm: After a quick briefing with the mentors, Catherine Martinson from WWF, Marine Favre from EPFL Innovation Park, Mukul Bhola from United Nations Office for Project Service, Anne-Lise Thomas from Partage, Timothee Bardet from Wiine.me, João Nuno Almeida from Foodways and Maarten De Winter from Eco Labels we’re all ready to get into action and help guide the teams for the last stretch.
4:10pm: Mentors pitch themselves to the teams and vice versa. The doors shut quickly after their arrival and stayed that way for the following 30 minutes — 2 hours as teams plug into their expertise.
6:20pm: We announce 10 minutes left until teams have to send in their pitch deck.
6:23pm: A team offers me a bribe to extend their deadline.
6:24pm: I’ve decided to refuse their bribe.
6:30pm: All teams send in their pitch deck.
6:45pm: We get word that the last train out of Geneva is at 8:50pm.
7:10pm: The FoodHack team steps up to set the stage for the pitches to come. Luckily no bottles of champagne explode this time.
7:13pm: We welcome our expert judges. Marco Iotti from Altrove Innovation. Aurelian Jaggi from Eaternity. Stephanie Buri from Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne. Joao Almedia from Foodways. Katherine Foster from Climate-KIC. Benoît Stadelmann from WWF.
7:15pm: We have a few words from our awesome sponsors. Catherine Martinson from WWF explains how she’s happy to see so many people coming together to work on fighting food waste. Katherine Foster from Climate-KIC explains their role in making a more sustainable future and touches upon their Climathon that just took place that weekend. Christian Dubugnon from Parsaco (The guys behind HolyCow!, Burrito Brothers & more) explains how he’s happy to support initiatives like FoodHack and announces their new vegeterain restaurant, “Bad Hunters” — the room loves it.
7:30pm: Pitching begins — 3 minutes pitch with max. 5 minutes Q&A.
(Click on each team name for their pitch deck)
Last Minute Market — Fresh food straight from farmers.
Grome — Automated herb farm.
Left Lovers — Online food sharing platform.
Cart 4 Climate — Climate friendly shopping cart.
Wintel — Data Driven Business Solutions
Foodie Box — A better kind of takeaway box.
Can Soup — Canned Soup.
Care to share — Food sharing stations.
8:35pm: Pitching ends — all judges move into a separate room for deliberation. With 10 minutes left until the last train leaves and some of our judges travelling all the way back to Zurich and Bern, it’s crunch time. Katherine Foster from Climate-KIC leads the deliberation and the votes are all tallied.
8:45pm: The winning teams are selected. Three of our judges step out and jump into the car in order to make their train on time.
8:50pm: We announce the winners:
Best developers: The whole team from Grome
Eaternity Climate Prize
Cart 4 Climate — Climate friendly shopping cart.
Third team: Left Lovers — Online food sharing platform. 👏
Second team: Wintel — Data Driven Business Solutions. 💪
First team: Can Soup — Canned soup. 🙌
8:52pm: Hugs, high fives and fist bumps all around.
8:53pm: Prizes sponsored by IKEA Switzerland are handed out to the winning teams and individuals.
9:00pm: Apero from OGGI and wine from Wiine.me to close off what can only be described as one of our most memorable weekends. Many of the participants stick around and start networking with the experts in the room.
9:45pm: Despite everyones tiredness, its the 6th time I’ve been approached and asked about our next hackathon. Everyone’s motivated to meet up again and continue working on tackling world issues.
10:25pm: We say goodbye to Lola the dog. The weekend comes to a close.
FoodHack Geneva was Switzerland first hackathon to tackle food waste and food-related emissions. The two day event saw 50 talented participants, built up of developers, designers and business/creative minds come together to build projects with the potential to reduce food waste.
Thank you to each and every participant who attended and made it a fantastic event.
Thank you to Luca & Patrick at OGGI for serving us incredible food.
Thank you to all of our incredible partners and mentors.
Thank you to Sylvia for the insect tasting, Anne-Sophie for the yoga session and Nick for the pitching workshop.
Special thanks to the FoodHack team, Prisca, Mathilde, Mag, Cecila, Vincent, Davide, Julien and Camille whom without, FoodHack Geneva would not have been possible.