Garage48 - as fresh as ever

Launched in 2010, Garage48 has grown to be one of the central figures in the startup ecosystem in Estonia and beyond. Starting from just a few hackathons in the first years, in 2018 we are putting on 20+ events a year plus hardware hacks, ideation events and student camps for universities. The passion project of 5 active entrepreneurs, Ragnar Sass, Priit Salumaa, Martin Villig, Jüri Kaljundi and Rain Rannu, has grown into an organisation with a mission. As Rain Rannu of Fortumo puts it: “Now 8 years, 100 hackathons and 20 countries later, I feel we have changed the whole startup culture towards more action, getting people out of their comfort zone and getting things done.”

Garage48 is constantly growing and evolving but the main idea stays the same - what matters is execution, constant learning and change. Everything about Garage48 reflects our attitude - less talk, more action. Our co-founder Jüri Kaljundi of Weekdone explains the evolution: “8 years have shown that at any moment there is something Garage48 can innovate in. While our core hackathons are as popular as in their early days, there are also many fresh initiatives changing the world. We're helping corporates and company teams innovate with Elevate by Garage48. University students learn on our Student Startup Camps. We're partnering with the Superangel fund and the Garage365 accelerator to kickstart new companies. Our Garage48 HUB has span off to new great heights with the launch of now independent LIFT99. It will be interesting to see what coming years bring. One thing is certain: just like a startup, Garage48 never stops changing and learning.”

Over 100 participants (except one who is sleeping already) celebrating crossing the finish line of Garage48 "Gamification & Entertainment" hackathon in Tbilisi (Dec, 2017)

With all the things happening on the sidelines, the mission of Garage48 stays the same. Our team’s full focus is on developing the hackathon community and bringing more founders and tech enthusiasts to the field in our 20+ target countries. But a lot has changed in 8 years in the field of hackathons and we are constantly working on taking a fresh look. As our co-founder Priit Salumaa of Mooncascade puts it: “We are not anymore only focusing on general type of hackathons in our region, but we look into all sorts of industries and technologies, all markets in the world, different social groups and we experiment with new event formats. Can-do attitude and bringing this to everybody and anybody in the world is our mission today.”

Priit Salumaa getting excited about the pitches starting at 
Garage48 "Open Banking" hackathon (Feb, 2018)

Leading the mission and keeping things fresh is our brand new COO Mari Hanikat who explains our team’s focus in 2018: “Our goal is to organise hackathons in new and emerging tech hubs or where we see Garage48 events bringing in the most value for the local community. Exploring new territories. Fine-tuning our landmark events and making them the best ever. Supporting the new teams that exit the hackathons in a more structured way, in cooperation with the brand new Garage365 powered by Superangels. Building a strong team that will support us growing bigger together.”

(Some of) our team & volunteers at Garage48 "Tech for Humanity" hackathon (June, 2017)

With all the exciting things happening - new directions, new event formats, new countries, new people - we feel as fresh as ever. That is why we think it is the perfect time to launch our whole fresh look. We want to reflect the new energy and focus of Garage48 through a new visual face. As we are overly excited to share this with you, we will start with launching the brand on all our online channels, new event materials and swag items and will soon follow with our new website as well. The beautiful work is done by our long time mentor and a great designer Cesar Zeppini

When we first had the idea to refresh the face of Garage48, we were playing around with several versions but none of these were quite right. After discussions with our team members at a hackathon, Cesar decided to send us his ideas for the brand out of the blue. We loved that it represented the feeling we wanted to channel: even though the organisation is now 8 years old, we feel as fresh as ever. Cesar breaks it down further: “I combined a colder dark grey with a bold bright and warm pink, which will carry the fresh feeling of the brand. I also decided to go more minimal on the logo structure, leaving only what is necessary, exactly how a startup product should be. The font is sharp and edgy, giving the logo the maturity it needed.” The result that Cesar has presented really nailed it. Thank you Cesar for going the extra mile (once again)!

That is what really keeps us fresh - the community behind Garage48. The passion we see in the people who relate to our mission is incredible. Our team of organisers and volunteers whose endless energy is inspiring at the least, old and new participants who get excited about spending 48 hours together building, hacking, learning, working hard and willing to call all of it “having fun” and our mentors who keep on giving us their valuable time and sharing their skills. As one of our stellar mentors and hackathon host Joao Rei has said: “There are only a few projects like this that I’m willing to help on my spare time. Some things just drive you to action because of their mission and I’m happy to go along for the ride!” We are endlessly grateful that you are all with us for the ride and as our COO Mari concludes: “We are bursting with energy and can’t wait to share it with you!”

This blog post was written by Kai Isand. Visuals by Cesar Zeppini, Gabriela Liivamägi, Timo Treit, Gela Bedianashvili, Maido Parv. 

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