Defence Makeathon 2020

When 31 January-2 February 2020

Where RTU Design Factory, Riga, Latvia

  • Overview
  • Agenda
  • Get Ready
  • The EU defence industry is important for the European economy as a whole. Like all other industrial activities, it is required to deliver increased efficiency in order to provide value for money for its customers and, at the same time, protect its shareholders’ interests.

    In 2020, The Ministry of Defence of Latvia, Riga Technical University and Garage48 will give you a chance to INNOVATE and BUILD for the Baltic states and for the whole of Europe!

    The hardware hackathon (makeathon) brings together engineers and specialists from the defence sector, connecting them with students, developers, engineers, designers and other experts from the civilian field in order to raise the awareness and knowledge about this specific, mysterious, but critically important field. Our goal is to attract new and ambitious talent and to develop innovative product concepts which could one day help defend our country.

    Traditionally defence market has lots of regulations and long sales cycles. But we see a possibility to a mind-shift - state of technology enables more agile and faster development, and maybe we can have fewer regulations and shorter time to market? Public defence sector and the private sector must break through the cultural divide that hinders cooperation between commercial technology companies and the military - and we are ready for that!

    Garage48 Defence Makeathon is a perfect place for Baltics and Scandinavian military and defence schools to mix and mingle, share their expertise with civil experts and find new ways to cooperate with the private sector in the future. What can be a daunting task alone, could be easily done together!

    But bare in mind - all the registered participants must agree with the mandatory background check!

    Let’s come together and innovate the defence sector. We will provide food, snacks, hardware (based on your project it could be from 3D printing materials to batteries and wires), super cool mentors and inspiring atmosphere!


    ·       Defence-field experts

    ·       Developers (IT people)

    ·       Designers (product designers, artists, architects, UI/UX etc)

    ·       Hardware specialists and engineers (mechanics, electronics, 3D printing experts etc)

    ·       Team leaders, visionaries, marketers and business minds

    WE OFFER: Warm meals three times a day, snacks and coffee to keep you going, wifi, tools and equipment to build hardware prototypes (you need to let us know what you might need in the application form) – everything is available at the venue.

    PS! There are no busses organized either from Estonia nor Lithuania. 

    Friday, 31st of January

    17:30 - Check-in, networking, coffee, snacks

    18:15 - Opening remarks

    18:45 - Presentation of ideas  

    20:30 - Team formation

    22:00 - Team work begins!

    Saturday, 1st of February

    09:00 - Coffee & breakfast

    10:00 - Checkpoint #1

    11:30 - Mentors go around

    13:00 - Lunch

    13:45 - Product development

    17:00 - Pitch training (theory)

    18:00 - Checkpoint #2

    19:00 - Dinner

    19:45 - Product development continues

    Sunday, 2nd of February

    09:00 - Coffee & breakfast

    10:00 - Checkpoint #3

    11:30 - Pitch drill #1

    13:00 - Lunch

    13:45 - Pitch drill #2 with demo

    16:00 - Coffee break with light meal/snacks

    17:00 - Final Pitches

    20:00 - Winners & networking

    PS! The schedule might slightly change! 


    In the application form, please let us know what you need for building your prototype - 3d printer, magnets, different wires, other stuff we can't even think of at the moment? Please write us in advance so we have time to order some hardware we might not find from Latvia or Estonia. 

    Secondly, as this is a defence-oriented event, we need you to register in advance for background check! So don't leave it to the last minute this time!


    Positive attitude, an open mind and lots of energy! Also, everything you need for a rapid product development. We will have equipment and materials on site, but to be sure, we recommend you to bring your own stuff as well. You never know when you need something yourself or if you could help out another team. Sharing is caring :)

    The fact is that, if you build something what really works on Sunday evening, then we will not ask the bits and pieces back - you don't have to break your prototype, the team can take it home and continue working on it. This does not apply, though, to more expensive things - you can not take an oscilloscope with you or set of tweezers etc.

    But like with any other hackathon and makeathon, please take your:

    • laptop
    • 3-5m power extension cord (as power might be on distance),
    • mobile phone
    • all chargers
    • if you have your own hardware things - bring them along.


    We will provide some floor room at the venue for accommodation - so take your mattress and sleeping bag with you. 

    We'll start on Friday at 17:30 with opening doors. Please come on time, as the registration process might take some time - use it to get to know the crowd and to network. See the agenda for further information. And bring your ID with you!


    Consider following key points:

    - Describe briefly your background (10 sec)

    - What is the name of the idea (5 sec)

    - What's the idea all about? What is the problem your idea solves? Target user count and description (30 sec)

    - Technical solution and if there is a revenue model (in case of non-profit idea, how the maintenance and further development costs will be covered?) (30 sec)

    - Minimum viable product and plan for 48 hours. Who do you need for the team? (20 sec)

    NB! Practice your pitch to your friends or family before you present! 90 seconds goes really fast!


    After pitching is over, we will put all the ideas on the wall. Every participant will choose their favorite idea and this is how teams will be formed. Usually, 14 to 16 best ideas will get enough interested people to get the "green light" for the implementation. The average team has about 4 to 7 people and the team should be "balanced" - covering all required roles like necessary engineers, a designer, and an expert in order to get the product/service ready in 48 hours! The minimum size for a team is 4 people and max is 9 people. If some ideas get too few people or not balanced teams (probably unable to build the product), the idea will be dumped. But don’t worry, just choose another idea/team to join.


    After forming the teams, organizers will give a room/space for every team for the weekend. You should start by dividing roles, setting the product vision, customer journey and start working right away.

    It is very important that you have a project manager (team lead) in the team - one of the tasks is to keep the focus of the team, one eye on the clock and the other on the team progress. 48 hours is really a short time.


    We provide breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday. So, you could focus on work and building your product. There will also be snacks available!


    We have arranged mentors to work with the teams throughout the weekend. Some of them are more technical, some more business savvy. Be open and ask for their advice and contacts.

    Please wear your name badge during the whole event, except when working with power tools and machines, this will help to encourage networking and gets you inside through security guards. Otherwise be open, get to know new people, share your ideas and give ideas/feedback to other teams.

    MOST IMPORTANT - have fun!

    The Mentors 

    Priit Salumaa
    CEO & Founder at Better Medicine
    Kristofer Turmen
    Co-Founder, CTO at Montonio Finance
    Jaanus Tamm
    President and CEO @ DefSecIntel Group 
    Commander Māris Polencs
    Executive Secretary, Latvian National Armed Forces Joint Headquarters
    Lieutenant Colonel Aleksandrs Holmanovs
    Head of CIS (J-6) Department, Latvian National Armed Forces Joint Headquarters
    Lieutenant Colonel Aivars Krjukovs
    Commander, Latvian National Armed Forces Zemessardze 1. Riga Brigade
    Lieutenant Colonel Oskars Kudlis
    Deputy Commandant, National Defence Academy of Latvia
    Lieutenant Colonel Aivars Spriedējs
    Head of Land Forces Study Program,  National Defence Academy of Latvia
    Niks Ozols
    Head of Information and Communications Technology Maintenance Section, Ministry of Defence
    Pēteris Sala
    Design Unicorn, Modelling, 3D Printing at RTU Design Factory
    Kristofers Celms
    Head Of Information Technology Department at Rolands Moisejs SIA; product design, electronics, CNC
    Gundars Miezitis
    product design, electronics, CNCE, engineer at RobotNest
    Janis Lapsa
    product design, prototyping, 3D modeling @ RTU Design Factory
    Ilmars Berzins
    product design, prototyping, 3D modeling and scanning
    Toms Mūrnieks
    Product Design, 3D Modelling & 3D Printing at RTU Design Factory
    Kristens Raščevskis
    3D modelling, Prototyping, Mechanics at RTU
    Sofija Jakobsone
    design, prototyping
    Juris Klava
    product design, prototyping, 3D printing
    Emils Delle
    software development
    Captain Igors Sičiks
    Head of Planning (S-3) Section, 1st Mechanized Infantry/BALTBAT Battalion
    Kristians Bredermanis
    Founder and CEO at SRC Brasa, Chairman of the Council at FSDI Latvia, Management, Tactical equipment design and ergonomics.
    Konstantins Popiks
    UAV Factory Manager, Chief technology officer Management, Unmanned aerial vehicle design and manufacture, R&D
    Aleksandrs Guks
    Chief Systems Engineer at UAV FactoryElectronics design and development, System architecture development, R&D team lead
    Agnis Jakubovics
    Founder and CEO of Apply, Education: Software engineer, Business administrationBusiness area: Software custom development - AI/CV specialisation
    Mikelis Caunitis
    Electrical power supply, emergency power supply. SIA Energolukss CEO/ owner /founder
    Sandis Kondrats
    Chief Business Officer of the Exonicus
    Karlis Kreslins
    Belss LTD military advisor, One of the creators of the National Defence Academy of Latvia, Habilitated Doctor of Engineering, Head of the NAF Joined Headquarter 2000-2004, President of Latvian Shooting Federation
    Joel Burke
    Entrepreneur at Charity Entrepreneurship
    Henrik Rank
    Lead Developer @ Montonio Finance 
    Indrek Rebane
    CTO at Hedgehog Electronics Engineering
    Karel Nappus
    Co-Founder and COO at Montonio Finance


    Liis Linn
    Project Manager at Garage48
    Jaan Kotkas
    Volunteer at Garage48
    Liene Briede 
    RTU Design Factory
    Nadina Elekse
    RTU Design Factory

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