In the middle of their team: Jonathan Isenring (right) und Rasmus Rothe (left), co-founders of HackZurich, also assist and advise SIX in organising #SIXHackathon. Photo:

In the middle of their team: Jonathan Isenring (right) und Rasmus Rothe (left), co-founders of HackZurich, also assist and advise SIX in organising #SIXHackathon. Photo:

Jonathan Isenring and Rasmus Rothe are the co-founders of HackZurich: the young team of students and graduates from Zurich universities has staged the biggest Hackathon in Europe for the second time. A few start-ups and cooperations between companies and development groups have already arisen from it. Jonathan and Rasmus also assist and advise SIX in organising the #SIXHackathon.

Jonathan, Rasmus: What is a Hackathon?
A Hackathon is an innovation contest, a programming marathon staged over several hours or days. The goal is to develop functional prototypes for an application within this time. Hackathons originated in the USA. With HackZurich, we are now bringing up to 500 participants from all over the world into contact with the technology and problems of over 50 national and international businesses.

Why do companies hold their own Hackathons?
Hackathons are the attempt to bring the "market" to the company and discover new ideas for products and innovations as a result. Companies often pursue an open innovation approach at Hackathons: they receive many ideas from different people, frequently of different nationalities, and try to find creative and innovative solutions to their specific challenges in this way. As digitalisation is often now the biggest challenge for established business models, and requires more and more technical solutions, the popularity of Hackathons will continue to grow.

Will this actually speed up the development of products and services?
Hackathons can be the first step in the product development process; but they are still no guarantee for successful innovations. Companies must invest in promising prototypes and business plans and develop them further.  This is more likely if the problems of the Hackathons correspond to the company's strategic goals, because as it would then receive the backing of management and more financial and personal support. Companies also have to establish organisational structures, in which the ideas and prototypes can consciously be developed further. This is the only way for a Hackathon to generate sustained added value.

In March 2015 SIX held their first Hackathon - with great success. Géza Mihala from the winning team was a founding member of staff of the SIX Fintech Incubator F10.
The runners-up, Team "Veezoo", are the Incubator's current guest start-up. Over the course of 20 weeks they will receive coaching here, exchange ideas with business experts and work on developing their prototype further. SIX will decided whether or not to invest in the team's idea at the end of their stay.