Alumni Opentop hackathoners: «Lifetime experience and professional growth»

    We interview and learn about the experience of four participants of last year’s edition of the Valenciaport Hackathon: Francisco Fernández García, former winner of the II Valenciaport Hackathon and currently working at Nextport, tech partner of the previous edition; Antonio Campaña, also from the winning team and who got a job opportunity with one of the challenge partners of that edition, Navis; Víctor Calatayud, profile with extensive work experience in the sector and currently Head of Management System at Intersagunto Terminals; and Toni Garcia, entrepreneur with extensive experience with the Recontainer project ( previously Desafío en Azul) that after his experience in the II Valenciaport Hackathon participated later with his startup in the I Opentop Incubation Program.

    Remember that the opportunity to be part of the next III Valenciaport Hackathon is open to you, sign up and participate in the new edition to be held from June 30 to July 2!

    – What memories do you have of your participation in the Opentop Hackathon?

    Francisco Fernandez (Nextport): Undoubtedly a memory for life. In it I made great friends including my current co-worker, a job which I also got thanks to the Hackathon so if you add to all that the adrenaline of the moment when you realize that your team has won…. What more could I ask for?

    Antonio Campaña (Navis): The memory I have is that of an intense weekend in which you disconnect from your day-to-day life to focus on solving the proposed challenge while enjoying recreational activities with which you meet and talk to many people inside a professional market. It is important to remember that a very important feature of these events is the possibility of networking while enjoying with colleagues. In my personal case, I also remember the enormous illusion of winning the first place after having worked so many hours.

    Victor Calatayud (Intersagunto Terminales): I would highlight, without a doubt, the good atmosphere that reigned in the Clock Building. Both the participants and the organization were enthusiastic about the work done by everyone. On the other hand, I remember the feeling of tiredness for trying to solve most of the challenge in a reduced space of time. 

    Toni García (Recontainer): I remember my participation in the Hackathon as a very intense weekend. I arrived there with a lot of expectation and nerves for what I was going to find since it was the first time I faced something like this. From the first moment the organizing team made us feel very comfortable and the time passed very quickly between activities, express training and work. The atmosphere was very pleasant among people with the same concerns and although it seemed impossible in a very short time very interesting proposals arose for all the challenges. I ended up very happy with the experience and the atmosphere of the event. In addition, I was lucky to work in a team with very good people in which we were all from different disciplines and we managed to come up with a proposal that the jury liked.


    – What would you highlight from the experience?

    Francisco Fernandez (Nextport): I have all kinds of memories, without a doubt it was an intense weekend. But if I had to keep something, I would have to keep that, the experience. What makes this Hackathon unique is that you don’t just go to work to develop an idea, but all the group dynamics that we had throughout the weekend. They connected you with your colleagues and made the competition take a back seat for a moment so that you could develop non-technical skills that were very useful in this event.

    Antonio Campaña (Navis): I would highlight the good organization and schedule of the event. Not everything is focused on the challenge you have to solve, but it is combined with several parallel activities. There were outdoor physical activities, talks with mentors, boat tours of the port of Valencia, caterings where you could talk to professionals in the sector, etc. It is a very enjoyable experience in which the final solution is not so much important as the journey.

    Toni García (Recontainer): Over time, I have learned 2 things from the Hackathon. First, the experience of the innovation weekend was very interesting and enriching. And secondly, I found the right environment and the right people to be able to continue training and developing myself in the world of logistics-port innovation, which was one of my goals when I applied. 


    – What encouraged you to participate?

    Francisco Fernandez (Nextport): To be honest, when I received the invitation I didn’t really know what it was all about, so it was the uncertainty associated with facing a new challenge that aroused my interest.

    Víctor Calatayud (Intersagunto Terminales): My case is not very common. It is normal for people who have just finished their studies to participate in these events and they see the hackathon as an opportunity for companies to get to know them. I, with extensive professional experience, was looking to compete side by side with these younger profiles.  

    Toni García (Recontainer): I was very hesitant to participate, I didn’t know if my profile fit in, but once there you see that the more diversity, the better. Thanks to the advice of friends with a lot of experience and with the idea that in order to change my professional approach I had to act, I decided without thinking about it and I am very satisfied with what it has brought me.

    – What would you say to people who are considering signing up for the next III Opentop Hackathon?

    Francisco Fernandez (Nextport): That if there is anyone reading this while thinking about whether or not to sign up, please stop reading this and go to the link to sign up NOW. Comedy aside, it’s too enriching an experience to pass up like that, whether you get the prize or not, you’ve already won by signing up.

    Toni García (Recontainer): If you are interested in innovation or in the logistics sector, you should go for it. Even if they have no experience, they will find many colleagues there who share their interests and experts in all fields that will help them grow a lot. In one weekend you receive a lot of training and create an interesting project in a field that you might not have imagined before starting. It is a very rewarding experience that you take away for your present and your future.


    – What advice would you give to participants to win the prize by solving one of the challenges? What qualities do you think a good Hackathon participant should have?

    Francisco Fernandez (Nextport): Look at it as a game. It wasn’t until that moment when I stopped seeing the competition as such and I started to take the load off my shoulders to enjoy the event, when I could start to flow with the ideas and my team. I could go on for a thousand more lines but the summary is creativity, gamification, discipline and initiative.

    Antonio Campaña (Navis): Fundamentally, you have to be open-minded, know the limitations and strengths that you have when you pose a challenge of this type. They have to be guided both by the advice of the mentors and by the clues that the Hackathon gives you. It is typical that very technical profiles participate and focus too much on the quality of the product instead of working on more abstract and equally relevant concepts. And of course, you have to work in a team, adopt a role and complement your colleagues.

    Victor Calatayud (Intersagunto Terminales): Above all, the ability to work in a team. It is also important to be resourceful and open-minded in order to find alternative solutions to common problems. And last but not least, creativity. Keep in mind that you have to present your work in front of a court and if you are able to prepare an eye-catching and impressive presentation, your project gains a lot of weight.


    – How has your work life changed after participating in the II Opentop Hackathon? How useful can participating in a hackathon be for a person interested in entrepreneurship? 

    Antonio Campaña (Navis): My work life changed radically since my participation in the last edition. Thanks to this experience I got to know companies in the port sector and I managed to get the position I had been looking for for a long time and for which I had been specializing in one of the leading companies in software for maritime terminals. Therefore, I think that attending the event was decisive in my career progress and I would recommend it to anyone, even if they are not related to the job sector to be exposed in the Hackathon.

    Toni García (Recontainer): If someone wants to become an entrepreneur, I highly recommend participating in a Hackathon. It is a good first step to start thinking and working in that direction. You get to know the needs and the tools and work dynamics to reach viable solutions. In addition, you get in touch with people, associations or companies in the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

    If you do not know very well how to start entrepreneurship, participating in a Hackathon is an option that I highly recommend, as it happened to me. I had no knowledge in innovation, but I had the interest and concern and as a result of my participation I was aware of other similar initiatives and finally I contacted Opentop to participate in the incubation program and I am part of a team to develop a startup while in parallel I continue training in innovation and digitization.


    If you’ve made it this far, we’re sure you’re just one step away from completing your registration for the next III Valenciaport Hackathon, we’re waiting for you! Get on board!

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