LinkedIn Hackday Winners Far From Klappd Out

By David Knight |

A platform using augmented reality and image recognition to create an automatic business card feature was the winner of the first ever LinkedIn hackday to be held in Europe. The five-strong klappd team emerged triumphant on Saturday after the 24-hour event – and put their victory down to having a lot of fun and drinking plenty of beer.

The team – which included people from Berlin startups Klash and Scrappd, hence the combined name – was in good company, with around 60 participants producing 14 finished products as the hackday at Sankt Oberholz lived up to the high standards set by its American equivalents.

With klappd, users can connect with companies on LinkedIn and Twitter by scanning their logo in order to find the latest news and job opportunities. The idea is to enable consumers to have instant access to information when they need it the most.

For example, shoppers can scan logos at a store to access information like consumer ratings and online price comparison, the opinions of their friends and location-based recent purchases.

The team included Emiliano Saurin, Riva-Melissa Tez, Alessandro Petrucciani, Anthony Hsiao and Tomas Duenas Uribe, and the product used Moodstocks, jQuery, LinkedIn and PHP.

A Real Business Model

Riva told Silicon Allee: “We didn’t expect to win, but we were building a product that had a real business model and a real use case in that we all could see how it could scale. I thought that what we built was solving a problem; it shortened some steps so that when you’re at an event you can just scan a company and be automatically linked to them, and I think that is a pretty cool idea.”

While it may seem surprising that the winning team was one which focused more on having fun, that fact probably helped them emerge victorious. Riva added: “We had such a great time. We had a lot of beer. We went home early – we slept the most out of all of [the teams], so it says something I think if you get some sleep… If you are enjoying what you’re doing then you are going to build something great.”

Three Macbook Airs went to the winers, while second place – and three iPads – was awarded to LinkedJobs, a psychology-driven service to assess your aptitude for a particular role. Third place and some Amazon vouchers, meanwhile, when to ChallengIn, a platform to increase user engagement while providing more insightful data for recruiters.

The event and the products produced impressed Florina Xhabija, LinkedIn’s engineering brand manager who is responsible for all the hackdays. She said: “It was a great event – the quality of the pitches and the products was really good. They also had really good technologies; they were up to date and exactly what we’re using in Silicon Valley to create all the latest and greatest stuff. It was really great to see the passion but also the technical savvy of the hackers.”

Beer Rather than Red Bull

So how did it compare to events in the US? “I would say it’s very much on a par,” Florina added. “I don’t think you would be able to tell the difference. What I’m super pleased to see actually was how friendly everybody was with each other; the level of interaction, communication and collaboration with each other was great. They had a great time while they were doing it; many of them were drinking beers during the night which was awesome to see. That doesn’t really happen in the US – they usually have cans of Red Bull and then by the time the judging happens they are all like zombies up on stage. But these guys were with it and very energized and very, very cool. I’m super happy we chose Berlin for this first venue.”

As for a personal favourite, Florina plumped for Happy!, a place for users to find happiness in this fast-paced world. Why? “Mostly because they used really cute cat videos…”

The teams hard at work during the LinkedIn hackday