Interview With Hacker Games Mentors Justyna Piotrowska and Andrii Degeler
Our Anniversary Hacker Games was quite special. We had three mentors from international accelerators! We are very happy that Justyna Piotrowska from 500 Startups and Andrii Degeler from Rockstart shared their advices and insights about our hackathon. You can also find our interview with Lone Jensen from Startup Wise Guys here.
What do you think about our hackathon Hacker Games? Please share some your insights about this hackathon.
Justyna: Hacker Games it’s a great initiatives that helps young people to craft and work on their ideas under amazing mentorship and gives them solid start into the entrepreneurship world.
Andrii: I think it was actually a pretty good event, I liked the crowd and the fact that it mostly consisted of young people.
(Justyna Piotrowska, photo by Liudas Baronas)
We had over 200 participants and you had a chance to talk with some of them during mentoring sessions. What impression you made about Lithuanian hackers? What are their good features and what are the areas they could improve?
Justyna: I was very impressed with the talent that was in the room during the “Hacker games” especially in the software and gaming track. Very creative young people with lots of potential if they get the right direction and mentorship as well the framework that will help them organize their thought process as well as conduct proper market research to validate their ideas and the market.
Andrii: They’re obviously quite good at hacking things together, the technical skills are undoubtedly there. The business part is a bit less visible, in my opinion: I think at least some of the participants struggled with understanding how to market their envisioned products, what their business model would be, who their customers are, and so on.
What advices accelerators could give for our attendees to make them one step closer to your or other great accelerators, what lessons they should learn?
Justyna: Study more market trends and think about products or services that can be applicable to markets outside Lithuania. Put more structure in place with proper curriculum and mentors network.
Andrii: Make sure that whatever you’re working on is actually solving someone’s problem. Don’t do technology for technology’s sake. Rehearse your pitch. Keep going and be open to constructive feedback. Always be ready to pivot, but don’t give up on your ideas too easily.
Was it hard to pick the winnes of Hacker Games, did you notice the leaders or every one were pretty much the same level?
Justyna: The winners stood out from the crowd right away. They had done proper market research, validated the product and had much better presentation skills than everybody else.
Andrii: I think the top three were quite obvious, so the main problem was to decide on the winner.
How do you think, what does Lithuanian startups need to do to attract famous accelerators and investments? What steps we should take next?
Andrii: Maybe it’d make sense to move from a hackathon setup to something more like Startup Weekend, where more attention is paid to the business side.
Thank you so much for your answers!