Meet the startups from the 1st Caribbean Beach Hackathon

In June and August the TEDxAruba team organized a series of ‘Inspiring Sessions’, these are mini-events on the road to TEDxAruba ‘Island of Sustainable Solutions’. While TEDxAruba itself will focus on sustainability in the broader sense, ‘Inspiring Sessions’ focuses specifically on creating a Startup community for young professionals here in Aruba – which could be a catalyst for sustainable solutions on the island.

The first Inspiring Session focused on creating awareness of Startups amongst (young) professionals, students and local entrepreneurs. The goal was to inspire the audience by showing examples of successful startups, discussing the circumstances that lead to their breakthrough and their subsequent impact on the economy, both locally and internationally. At end of the session, audience members were split up in groups and an active brainstorm-session was held to discuss what was needed to create a Startup community in Aruba. It was an immensely fun and productive exercise.

The second Inspiring Session was much more pragmatic in its approach. The goal was to take the lessons learned in the first Inspiring Session and have groups apply these in creating their own Startups. And what better conduit for creating a startup than a Hackathon; a competition where groups get to develop their startup – from idea to product – in just 48 hours. This became the basis for the first Beach Hackathon in the Caribbean! It took place during the Love Festival at the Fisherman’s Hut – in collaboration with the IloveAruba team. The topic for this hackathon, was ‘happiness’.

Facilitating the beach Hackathon was Mr. Arnaud Collery, Chief Happiness Officer at Kikai Mining. Happiness and technology go hand in hand with the vision of creating a sustainable society where technology is used to create a better quality of life, for everybody. In that spirit we invited geeks, nerds, designers, creatives, thinkers and do-ers to participate in the hackathon and to turn those bright ideas into brand new Startups. In total 5 teams signed up, that’s 21 fresh minds, working on ways to create – or improve sustainable happiness on our tiny island, and beyond.

In the end, 5 solid startups concepts were proposed to thee jury. These were Mrs. Lindsey Wever (CMB), Ms. Sjeidy Feliciano (ATA) and Mr. Alex Nieuwmeijer (Divi Resorts). The prize to the winning team was a complimentary InselAir ticket for each team member, to any of InselAir’s destinations. In addition, the winning team would get 3 months of personal guidance from Arnaud Collery – helping them advance their product to the market.

Beach Hackathon Startups
After 48 hours 5 groups presented their ideas demos to the jury members in the Alhambra Ballroom. The following is a short descriptions of the products they presented.

‘Helpy’ is a website where social projects, companies and volunteers come together. Volunteers make a profile on the website and list their skills and interest. Volunteers choose a social project that aligns with their interest and skill. Similarly, a company or organization that has created the social project can recruit volunteers based on a specific interest or skills.

The underlying driving force for Helpy is ‘Care Points’ – a social currency that can be used on the website. A company awards ‘Care Points’ to social projects listed on the website, and in-turn, volunteers receive for their time and service rendered. The currency stays within the system and volunteers can spend the currency any way they want, by – for example – having other volunteers do stuff for them (and paying them with Care Points) or donating their Care Points to social projects they deem worthy, so these social projects have the means to recruit and pay other volunteers. With Care Points, volunteers can exchange Care Points at participating companies for discounts or deals, but it cannot be cashed out.

It all adds up to getting stuff done on the island, bringing people together and using a social currency – social capital – as an incentive. When somebody helps you, you feel happy, when you help somebody, you feel good about yourself. This is the combination of Happy and Help – ‘Helpy’. The goals is to make Aruba a ‘One Helpy Island’.

Hi-Mood system
The Hi-mood system will enable venues on the island to publicly show live to the world how happy the visitors are on location. This will in turn help everyone on the island to find the best places to visit at any moment. It will also help businesses gauge how the clients feel about their venues.

How it works
At the participating venues an object will be placed with a striking appearance that can light up in a way that expresses the amount of happiness in the location. Three buttons on the object allow visitors to express their moods, ranging from Sad to OK and Happy. Every mood expressed this way will be registered centrally and displayed on internet on a Happiness map. This will help potential visitors decide which places to visit. Such objects will also be placed in public places or out in the open at specific landmarks. They have built in WiFi access points for free internet access.
Additionally there is a downloadable app that gives you live view on the happiness map. From the app you can also express your mood with three buttons, just like on the objects.

‘Xylem’ is the biological agent that helps plants to transport nutrients to their branches and leafs. We named our product after this agent because we need happiness to reach its destination: the people. Happiness comes from reaching out and connecting with each other. Using Xylem people can accomplish just that. Xylem is a combination of a physical location with an app platform.

The physical location is a ‘pod’, a large comfortable place where people can sit down, and together, as a group, find out their common interests. After our app platform shows its result based on an artificial intelligent program, the group or family can see exactly what their common interests are. Based on those interests the system suggests activities they could do together that will most likely result in a fun and enjoyable experience. The Xylem pod can be placed at commercial locations, e.g. a hotel lobby, a shopping mall. The location can negotiate the suggestions as well in order to promote certain activities of their venue. The pod will be created by a sophisticated 3D printer, using the most modern and green technology available, at relatively low cost. In addition to the pod we will develop a website and a mobile app. The mobile app will have the same smart algorithms, and can be used off-site, e.g. before going on vacation. In the mobile app the group can connect on Facebook and easily match their interests with online friends.

M2 – the team behind this product – consists of professionals in their field: an engineer, architect, programmer, lawyer and economist, all with years of professional experience.

Breezly is an ‘on-demand beach supplies provider service’. It’s designed as a service that caters to tourist (and local) who find themselves on the beach in need of food, ice, drinks, shades, and inflatables, whatever you can think of – but are unwilling to leave the beach to go get it. Breezly services this need and enhances the visitors experience by delivering the items directly to your towel on the beach.
Breezly will use ‘branded delivery trucks’ to deliver all these items. The truck(s) will drive up and down the hotel-route continuously servicing tourists’ needs. Essential part of this product is an app that people can download and use to order the items they want to have delivered. Orders are coordinated with the truck in-route for quick delivery.

Breezly is the product of ‘Creatific Media’ team, headed by Stephen Connor and Kawish Misier.

Ban yuda (Winners Hackathon 2015)
Team #iamAruba developed a website called ‘Ban Yuda’ (English: “Let’s Help’) – a place where volunteers can offer their expertise, time and/or task they need help with. People select a category and post an item they need help with. The person who posted the task, selects the volunteer(s) with the corresponding skill(s) and they meet directly. It’s not only about volunteering for tasks, people can also post comments, giving advice, directions or referring people they can consult with. Anybody can participate on the website – barring certain ages.

The underlying driving force for Ban Yuda is gamification. Specifically, earning points for doing social good. Members earn points- and badges in exchange for their volunteerism. These points can then be exchanged by Ban Yuda sponsoring companies for other goods or services. This way team #iamAruba hopes to make a game out of doing social good – strengthening communities and neighborhoods.

Although each team had developed seemingly viable products, the jury chose Ban Yuda as the winner – citing clear presentation, demo quality, product-to-market-timeframe and a true solution for promoting happiness on the island – as the main reasons.

We wish all teams a lot of success moving forward (don’t stop here).
We hope to organize another Hackathon soon.


See Pictures of the Hackathon below (slide left/right)

Inspiring Session's Beach Hackathon



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