About us
Garage48 hackathon series was initiated to boost a local startup scene by bringing the Silicon Valley attitude to Eastern Europe as well as to other developing markets. Our event series got started back in April 2010 as an initiative of 6 active Estonian entrepreneurs behind successful startups - Pipedrive, Fortumo, Weekdone, Mooncascade and Taxify. As startup founders themselves,  the idea was to create an experience which simulates a resource constrained startup environment- where decisions have to be made fast and the budget is often lean. In addition, the goal was to show that with a strong motivation and get sh*t done attitude a lot can be achieved in just 48-hours, resulting in a real prototype and learning from others in the process. 

More than 13 years later, after over 250 hackathons organized in 70 different cities and 50 countries all across the globe, more than 2000 ideas pitched and nearly over 1000 prototypes built, the goal has remained the same- to enrich the startup ecosystems all across the globe from a grassroots level to bring the utmost impact to the startup world on a lean budget in a limited amount of time. 

Our hackathons are shaped around diverse focus points varying from theme-based ones with IT-skillset requirements (e.g. AgTech, Cyber Security, Female Entrepreneurship, VR&AR etc.) to makeathon events where the main focus is on creating physical objects instead of IT-based prototypes (e.g. Wood, Hardware & Arts series, Defence etc.). 

More of what we've done can be seen on events page.

Why do we need hackathons?
People are often afraid to start their own project or business. It's easy to get stuck in the comfort zone- steady salary, good job, work that you've mastered pretty well over the years. Yet many of us often strive towards something bigger.  How to leave the comfortable nest of having a steady daytime job, when you do not have all the know-how of building a sustainable business, don't know the right folks and haven't got the necessary funds locked?  

It is true and we do not sugarcoat it - taking the rocky path down the entrepreneurial way isn't for the faint of heart. In fact, you have to be at least a tad crazy to do that. 

While Garage48 doesn't take care of all the doubts and problems on that road, we do help you to take that first step towards the unknown. We want to show that it's all about positive "let's do it" attitude, creative team members with right skills and a motivating deadline.  

Less talk, more action!

What is a hackathon?

Hackathon is an intense brainstorming marathon where people with different skills get together, exchange ideas, form teams around the best ideas and develop working prototypes over the course of 48 hours. The brainstorming sessions are well structured and the teams are helped throughout the weekend by top-notch mentors. Hackathons vary from general ones (everyone is welcomed to join with any idea) to themed ones which revolve around  a certain topic. We have organized hackathons on cyber security, agritech, spacetech, data, edtech and on so many other fields. Garage48 has also organized various makeathons- events, where the main focus is on creating physical things instead of IT-based prototypes. Some of our most known makeathons are Garage48 Wood and  Hardware & Arts series. The last one has become our true flagship event and has been running successfully for 5 years already. 

Read more about how hackathons work!


  • To boost and kickstart  startup ecosystems all across the globe
  • Match future teammates, co-founders, employers and employees- a next level networking experience
  • Give participants a true “hands-on” experience on how it is to work in a startup team
  • Show that teams can turn an idea into a working service or prototype within just 48 hours
  • To come up with fresh, innovative solutions by integrating IT-skills to different industries- enabling future trend-setters
  • To hold gender inclusive events by encouraging female participation in the male-dominated IT-industry

Less talk, more action!

Awards and Media
Garage48 events have been recognised and honoured with 
many local and international awards, varying from media coverages 
by well-known tech blogs like TechCruch, ReadWriteWeb and ArcticStartup, to numerous grants in newspapers, blogs, TV and radio channels.
Estonian Ministry of Education and Research: “Education event of the year” Hardware and Arts Tartu
European Enterprise Promotion Awards: “Encourage the Entrepreneur” winner for Garage48 Tourism Women’s Special
European Enterprise Award: The finalist of “Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit 2016”
US Embassy: Facebook Creativity Recognition Award for Trafficking In Persons Garage48 hackathon
Finalist of European Awards “Best Ongoing Startup Program of 2011" by TechCrunch Europe
Finalist of European Awards “Best Ongoing Startup Program of 2010” by TechCrunch Europe
Finalist of European Awards “Best Ongoing Startup Program of 2011" by TechCrunch Europe
Pioneer of the Year 2010" by Network of Estonian Non-profit Organizations
Pioneer of the Year 2010" by Network of Estonian Non-profit Organizations
Different Types of Events