This is the story of how we challenged the crisis and laid a foundation for the future!

Times of change are when we form new habits, identify new consumption opportunities and disrupt established business models.  

Some people freeze in the face of the unknown and unpredictable; some others see it as a chance to create momentum and shape new opportunities. We gathered the latter “some” in one massive hackathon and the results are beyond the expectations


Let’s rewind a little bit!

We have organised a fully online, impressively global and truly amazing hackathon, named 48 for the Future between 3-6 December, 2020.

It was initiated by our organising partners the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn, the U.S. Embassy in Latvia, the U.S. Embassy in Lithuania and the U.S. Embassy in Denmark with a single minded goal to jumpstart the post-crisis economy, which has become vulnerable and unknown by The COVID-19 pandemic. Garage48 as the implementing partner, and Startup Wise Guys as the post-hackathon partner hopped on board to make this event come true! Together we have decided not to end 2020 with bad memories and instead, build something spectacular out of this chaos, enable creative problem solvers to develop game-changer prototypes and implement them in real life.

We have reached out to hundreds of socially conscious problem solvers across EU and USA, who are visionaries, developers, marketers, entrepreneurs and engineers. They have joined us to build a stronger, more resilient and trusted post-crisis economy through their innovative solutions, based on defined challenges and topics.

Future of Creating Trusted Networks | Future of Education | Future of Work | Future of Healthcare | Future of Travel,Tourism & Hospitality | Future of Entertainment and Sports | Future of SMEs

And the result has been marvellous!

We had 600 participants applied and 270 ideas submitted for 48 for the Future hackathon! As amazing as this widespread enthusiasm was to challenge the global crisis and create a sustainable impact; we had to narrow down the best ideas and teams to optimize the focus and outcome. Following our matchmaking sessions, we were ready to kick off with the hackathon with 41 teams! 

Within the course of 72 hours, 37 demos were submitted, 70 mentors were WOW’ed and 21 time zones were conquered.

Andrea Lindgren, Economic Officer from the U.S. Embassy Tallinn, has explained what inspired this whole collaboration, what her expectations were and how she was blown away with the outstanding performances of the teams:

“My interest in partnering with Garage48 on a hackathon was inspired by the Hack the Crisis! and Global Hack series – I thought it was such an exciting way to engage people during this difficult time of lockdowns and social distancing. It’s not the type of engagement our embassies often do, so I was really excited to work with great partners who not only helped make it happen but also made it a success. Once the event started, I really felt everyone’s energy. The teams had really cool ideas, and the mentors immediately jumped in to help. The camaraderie among participants was something I simply didn’t expect either – people went out of their way to be supportive and lift others to the end of the event. When we saw the final demos I was blown away – the teams had created some amazing tools. I’m proud of the role that the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn played in making 48 For the Future happen, but I’m even more proud of the innovators and entrepreneurs who brought their ideas to life. I hope to follow the journeys of these teams moving forward – after what I saw them achieve over just a few days, I expect nothing short of amazing from them!”

We surely had amazing partners and mentors!

Michał Kramarz, Head of Google for Startups, Central and Eastern Europe has emphasized the importance of building new companies that will solve the world's biggest challenges we face today, and added:

"We passionately believe that great startups are born everywhere, and we have the resources and connections to help them grow. We are delighted to partner as Google for Startups in #48fortheFuture online hackathon.”

University of Lynchburg, as one of our key Community Partners, have published an article announcing the timelines of the event, and the mentors they are bringing to our hackathon!

University President Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar stated that: “We’re proud to lead among higher education institutions in navigating the pandemic and pleased to partner with the U.S. embassies and creative problem-solvers from around the world to help build a stronger post-crisis economy.”

One of our lead mentors David Clark, Product Strategy Manager at BT Enterprise, commented on the scope of the event and remarkable progress the teams had:
“The teams came from a wide range of backgrounds and locations. In my batch alone we had participants from Switzerland, Portugal, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Ghana and Nigeria, alongside the Nordic/Baltic contingent. Seeing the teams that literally started out with nothing but an idea on a piece of paper walk away with at least clickable prototypes was truly inspiring.”

Microsoft was also among us as a community partner! Mihkel Rembel, Startup Manager at Microsoft joined us as a mentor and explained why it is so important to take part in such events: 
Our way of operating, as any other company’s, has been challenged during these times, but we have managed to overcome these challenges and reinforced our systems. Therefore we where eager to join forces with 48 for the Future Hackathon and the community they built to tackle solving these issues. Sustainability got a new angle – now we need to make businesses ready for working remotely and at the same time balance people mental health. These questions have been in Microsoft priority for years and we’d like to share what we have learned and also learn new ways to do it. I believe being part of this hackathon we can make one more step towards a better economy.”

After 72 hours of intense teamwork and heartwarming solidarity, the hackathon had reached its destination. But there is a new chapter waiting for the winning teams - which was difficult to pick given their impressive performances within such a short time period.

Cristobal Alonso, CEO of Startup Wise Guys and the jury member of 48 for the Future shared his evaluations on the winning teams:

“It was an intense but exciting Sunday night. It was not easy to choose among the 15 finalists as there were many good pitches and especially many teams that were clearly determined to move forward with their ideas. For Startup Wise Guys ideas are great but we are really looking at teams we could bring to our online pre-accelerator program to help them execute their ideas faster and with bigger reach and impact. We invited 7 teams to our program to start in early January. Among the top 3, Recovery Companion impressed us by the way they helped visualize data and the ability to execute across time zones (including the team leader in Australia!!!), Dotty developed impressive team dynamics while looking at an interesting sustainability angle applied to fashion and Sharentic have definitely the passion and energy to bring their project to live. Looking forward to working with these teams plus Kastrul,, Päll and VR education.”

The competition was tough indeed, so big applause for the winning teams chosen by the Jury. Before we look at the winning ideas more closely, let’s remember! As our host and mentor Joao Rei always says: The real winners are the ones that keep working on their ideas, or even on some other ideas, simply to bring value to the current climate. So keep on rocking!

TOP 3 of #48fortheFuture:

  1. Recovery Companion - Future of Health


IDEA: Undetected food intolerance is heavily connected to anxiety, depression, brain fog, chronic inflammation and gastrointestinal cancers. Many people are unaware of their food intolerances, because of delayed effects of up to 8 hours so it is hard to consciously make the connection, which causes poor sleep and bad behaviour spirals in the coming days after consuming incompatible foods. Their idea is to create a cross-data analysis for individuals based on their personal apps, and help make improvements in lifestyle and health Their demo can be found here:

TEAM: Byron Sowerby / Anu Udras / Kristian Talviste / Raido Kurvits

PRIZE: Free access to Startup Wise Guys’ pre-accelerator program for the entire team! PLUS, free online tickets to access sTARTUp Day program throughout 3 days! AND 2 hours of dedicated mentorship from a Microsoft Azure Cloud Architect!

Brett Makens, Regional Science and Technology Officer at the U.S. Embassy Denmark shared his comments as a jury member:

“Honored to have joined the 48 for the Future Hackathon as a jury member. Congratulations to Gambit/Recovery Companion for being selected as the top team but also want to commend all the teams for participating and inspiring us with your creativity and solutions to help build a stronger post-COVID economy.”

2. Dotty - Future of Work

IDEA: Dotty is a sustainability platform for the shoppers of tomorrow, featuring an app and a web environment. Dotty enables the user to set personal goals for their fashion purchases, presents them with overviews of their activities, rewards for sustainable choices and offers insights into their shopping behaviour. By increasing awareness of their own shopping behaviour and its impact to our environment, inspiring and rewarding, consumers can take control of their shopping behaviour and strive towards sustainable options through a more gamified experience. Offering something for all levels of sustainability awareness, what Dotty ultimately results in, is encouraging us to buy less and buy better. Their demo can be found here:

TEAM: Ketly Freirik / Kärri Brewster-Palts / Kreet Käärma / Kaur Järvpõld

PRIZE: Free access to Startup Wise Guys’ pre-accelerator program for the entire team + Startup Wise Gals T-shirts + Garage48 follow-up mentoring

3. Sharentic -  Future of Work

IDEA: They aim to reduce friction and barriers to entry in the consumer rental market, thus creating locally based circular economies. Hence, they created an asset sharing platform that would generate trust between users, while being a vaccine for the pain points experienced by our three primary customer segments. Demo can be found here!

TEAM: Lauris Zvirbulis / Kristaps Grinbergs / Edgars Zvirgzdins / Richard Jezgov / Stanley Chideme

PRIZE: Free access to Startup Wise Guys’ pre-accelerator program for the entire team + 2 online tickets for Latitude59 from Invest Estonia

RUNNER-UP TEAMS who have also been awarded with a free access to Startup Wise Guys’ pre-accelerator program covering each team member:

  • An online environment that provides new means for performers and audience to connect with each-other. You can click here to see the demo!

    Team: Andrus Aaslaid / Taavet Jansen/ Katrin Kraav / Maike Lond / Evi Pärn / Kristjan Jansen / Kaie Olmre / Andrus Tennusaar / Andrus Laansalu / Hendrik Kaljujärv

  • Kastrul: Creating a BUY button that can be integrated on recipe sites. It then matches producers’ products with ingredient lists and creates a shopping cart from these. You can click here to see the demo!

    Team: Miko Merelaht/ Joosep Simm/ Sander Reinus/ Lauri Teder

  • VR Education: A collaborative solution for conducting lessons online in Virtual Reality. The students will be able to immerse in live VR lessons through an app using their mobile device and cardboard headset, whereas the teacher will use a desktop application and 4K 360 camera. You can see the demo here!

    Team: Julija Saveljeva / Olegs Sasko / Anna Haywood / Tatjana Riblova / Vadims Galiskins / Artjoms Rauzans

  • PÄLL: Supportive technological tool to help 7-10 y old children to develop self-leadership skills. You can see the demo here.

    Team: Kristel Habicht-Spriit / Kertu Miidu / Sandra Saarniit



Being Together While Apart got the most LIKES and became the winner of the Favourite of the Audience Competition, which is a Garage48 traditional contest to let the teams promote their solutions on social media. 

IDEA: During the pandemic elderly people care homes have been closed for visits. Relatives cannot meet their loved ones. Elderly might feel lonely and isolated and scared when normal everyday communication is missing from their lives. Team organised a charity campaign to collect tablets and fill them with platforms and apps for making video calls, apps for reading e-books and listening to audiobooks. The aim is that people could meet through video calls in the times when meeting face to face is not possible due to pandemic. Their demo can be found here:

TEAM: Evelin Kullman / Kadri Peetersoo / Heidi Ojamaa / Liina Pulges / Margo Kikas / Lauri Järvlepp

PRIZE: Garage48 T-shirts + Garage48 follow-up mentoring

Special Prizes and Jury Recognition Awards:

Brave New Guide - This team was in their honeymoon and they celebrated it attending the hackathon. What a couple! <3 Their idea was to create an application that will help people to travel safely in the new reality and promote nature tourism and rural areas. They also received goodie bags from Visit Estonia.

Maption Travel App - An app that is a customized travel guide with routes created by locals and travel enthusiasts who can share their knowledge or info from past trips with the community.  

Kristi - Chatbot-based solution Kristi automates communication tasks to save time to serve more patients.

Open Source Electronic Signature Portal - Creating a trusted network by giving everyone an option to have their own electronic signature portal running in their own infrastructure.

Hovy - The idea is to uberize the check-in process, let users make check-ins in stores, government institutions and even hotels with only one secure mobile app that does not store any personal/sensitive data.

Dunno - A platform that connects kids and motivates them to explain the material to each other. Kids who spend more time gaining knowledge from each other could strengthen their social connections, while teachers who are unloaded from answering the same questions can spend more time on improving the overall quality of the education and control.

Newcon - On-demand streaming platform, that provides conferences | webinars | summits, the best tools to distribute and monetise their content.


Let’s give a round of applause to those who made this hackathon happen and enabled the game-changer ideas to live on.

Thank you to our organizing partners - US Embassy in Tallinn, US Embassy in Latvia, US Embassy in Lithuania, US Embassy in Denmark, Startup Wise Guys, and Garage48 as the implementing partner.

Thank you to our jury members -

Thank you to our mentors for sharing your guidance and expertise with the teams - Kaari Kink, Gerardo García Díaz, David Clark, Katharina Skolimowski, Sohail Taraky, Beatriz Botão, Rostislav Roznoshchik, Jeremy Glassenberg, Michael Dorka, Juarez Filho, Maido Parv, Oleksandr Zakharchuk, Mohammed Buallay, Yogesh Kulkarni, Ruqiya Bin Safi, Nick Malbraaten, Amandeep Midha, Kjersti Martino, Shahin Katebi, Himanshu Singh, Eric Bhatti, Rivu Chakraborty, Dharmesh Vaya, Vikram Tiwari, Mustafa Ali, Yasser El Kabbout, Ahmad Awais, Guillaume Blaquiere, Rising Odegua, Marton Kodok, Bruce Mcpherson, Kristina Simakova, Vin Lim, Kuma Arakawa, Zivile Einikyte, James York, Stine Sorensen, Deborah Hutchison, Lana Ugrcic, Raido Lember, Angelo Burgarello, Asta Vasiliauskaite, Mihkel Rembel, Mentor Rexhepi, Alvar Soosaar, Rui Costa, Michaela Kuliskova, Birgit Lao, David Richards, Sabita Manian, Thor Ellegaard, Angie Eilers, Miquela Burke, Uday Kumar, Dan Goncharov, Serdar Yucel, Irina Sergeeva, Pavlína Louženská, Ivana Sediva, Vanessa Vorteil, Megan Riley, Monika Karu, Liina Maria Lepik, Imbi Lepik-Martinson, Esta Rahno, Aivar Ruukel, Annely Tank, Erika Mork, Ted Massey, Jason Hutchison Andrea Lindgren, Amy Reichert, Rebecca Grutz, Lisa Mallner, Fabrice Charles, Kristo Reinsalu, David Parker, Brett Makens, Aayush Arora, Sergii Khomenko Rayan Al Zahab

Thank you to our like-minded community partners, who has joined the movement without any hesitation - Microsoft for Startups Europe, Google for Startups, AmCham Estonia, AmCham Latvia, University of Lynchburg, Copenhagen Capacity, AISI (AI Startup Incubator), SPI, SPOCK, Kickstart Aalborg, Innovation Centre Denmark SV, Visit Estonia, Work in Estonia, Invest in Estonia, Education Nation, HARNO, Startup Day, MVA, Proekspert and AtlanticLink

And last but not least, thank you to the organizing team from Garage48 - Triin as the Project Lead, Nilay as the Marketing Lead, Joao as our Host and Mentor, Kadri and Anna as on-spot project managers, Helena and Käisa-Triin as our fierce volunteers, and of course Mari as our CEO, full time advisor and on-spot project manager!

You can rewatch and relive:

Remember - The best way to predict your future is to create it!

You may also like

SPARTA CyberSecurity Hackathon: building solutions on the open-source software
For Garage48, the year 2022 started with a SPARTA Cyber Security Hackathon that took place on...
Read more →
SPACETECH EUROPE Online Hackathon: solving present and future challenges in space.
In cooperation with Garage48 and SpaceOn, the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine has launched the SPACET...
Read more →
How we met the future female founders of Estonia, Latvia and Sweden
Over the weekend of 22-24th of October, 85 girls in the age of 15 to 18 across Estonia἞...
Read more →