Alumni winners of the Opentop Hackathon | “A unique opportunity to collaborate with talented people and develop innovative solutions that can really make a significant impact”

25/06/2024. We interview and learn about the experience of the winners of the last edition of the III Hackathon of Valenciaport: Beatriz Araujo Soria, Senior Technician in International Trade and Port Logistics Management; Vicente Ferri Navarro, Solutions Specialist at Microsoft and student of Industrial Organization Engineering and ADE; Fernando Belda Penadés, student of the Double Degree in Industrial Organization Engineering and ADE Analyst at BBVA – Global Seed Program IV; and Francesc Gimeno Ureña, Aerospace Engineer, and Mechanical Engineering MSc student with focus on Logistics and Transport Equipment.

Remember that the opportunity to be part of the next IV Valenciaport Hackathon is open to you, register before June 30 and participate in the new edition to be held from 5 to 7 July 2024!

What memories do you have of your participation in the Opentop Hackathon? What would you highlight from the experience?

Beatriz Araujo: I remember it was a very fun experience and an intense day of learning, we had help from all the people who came as guests, but what I would highlight most would be the colleagues I worked with and the people I met, with some I still keep in touch with through social networks. From the beginning we all showed ourselves as people willing to learn and undertake, the illusion of everyone to have a good idea is what most marked my experience in the hackathon. 

Vicente Ferri: I remember with great enthusiasm my participation in the Opentop Hackathon last year. I would say that it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in a hackathon, a very enriching experience where the collaborative environment and creativity were the protagonists of the event. During those days, I would highlight the opportunity to have been able to work with the great team that developed Seanergy, seeking to reduce the carbon footprint of the port. The combination of the technical challenges we experienced in the process and the need to make a positive impact on the environment made the event especially challenging and, above all, motivating. Winning the first prize was an incredible recognition of our effort and all the dedication our team put into it, thus confirming the value of our idea.

Fernando Belda: Of all the hackathons I have participated in, the Opentop hackathon was undoubtedly the best. I have very good memories of the experience and I would especially highlight the organizers and mentors. They were very good and I learned many things during the three days of the event that have been very useful to me both personally and professionally.

Francesc Gimeno: I have a very special memory of the Hackathon experience. Thanks to it, I met many people who I consider friends to this day, in addition to having the opportunity to talk to many people from the port, logistics and renewable energy sectors. I would also like to highlight the teamwork skills that I developed, since in 3 days we had to develop an idea and form a team to work on it, identifying the strengths of each one and exploiting them to the maximum.

What encouraged you to participate?

Beatriz Araujo: A friend of mine suggested me to participate because we were told about it in a training session at the port of Valencia. 

Vicente Ferri: What encouraged me to participate in this Hackathon was the simple fact of having an opportunity to face a significant challenge and contribute to an important cause, such as reducing the carbon footprint of the Port of Valencia. The possibility of meeting very talented people from different disciplines was also a great incentive. In addition, I am always curious about challenges that test me and allow me to expand my technical and creative skills in such a competitive and stimulating environment. And finally, the prospect of developing innovative and sustainable solutions in a real-world environment and getting recognition for it was a key motivator.

Fernando Belda: I had a great professor who worked at the port and encouraged me to participate in the hackathon. I had participated in others before and I was encouraged by the idea of being able to do it now in the port of Valencia.

Francesc Gimeno: Chema Leal Sancho contacted me via LinkedIn, and once I read about the different problems that were proposed, I got curious. Finally, I decided to participate since I had not done anything similar before, and it seemed like a good idea since I am always looking for challenges to face.

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

Beatriz Araujo: Do not miss the opportunity to experience this opportunity, I have been so proud to have won, I literally tell it in every job interview or when I’m with a group of friends, it’s not just the winning if not just having participated in a contest dedicated to get great ideas to develop in the future is a great topic of conversation and it’s also fun to get out of your comfort zone and face challenges, it is an experience that I would always recommend. 

Vicente Ferri: To those who are considering signing up for the next Opentop Hackathon, I would say don’t think twice. From my point of view, I think it is a unique opportunity to face real challenges, meet and collaborate with very talented people, and develop innovative solutions that can really make a significant impact. An experience of this level will not only allow them to expand their skills, but also to connect with a community passionate about technology and sustainability. In addition, the hackathon environment is super inspiring and motivating, you meet top professionals, and the food is great, especially the ham. I know that at first it is hard to decide, especially if it is the first hackathon in which you participate, but I assure you that you will not regret it. As an anecdote, I met one of my best friends at this event. I could not recommend you not to participate in this hackathon, because you never know what you are going to learn or who you are going to be lucky enough to meet.

Fernando Belda: They will undoubtedly sign up. In the worst case scenario, they will make new friendships with amazing people and meet exceptional mentors. Best case scenario will be the same but winning the Hackathon.

Francesc Gimeno: They should definitely sign up. I had no previous knowledge about any of the challenges, and during the weekend I learned a lot of things about them. Besides, it is not necessary to have them, since with an open mind and willingness to participate, meet people and learn is enough. 

A tip for participants to win the prize by solving one of the challenges?

Beatriz Araujo: I would recommend that they focus on making something real and possible. Our group from the beginning focused on how the port was composed and what would be the advantages and disadvantages of making our idea work somewhere in the port, but we always came back to the reality of how everything truly works, I think having the mindset that your idea is going to develop 100% makes you organize it and build it in a more real way and allows you to convey it in the same way. 

Vicente Ferri: One tip for entrants who want to be eligible to win an award is to focus primarily on innovation and feasibility. It is super important that the solution is not only creative and technically solid, but also practical and capable of being implemented in the real world. Work as a team, very important. Divide the tasks according to the area of expertise of each team member, support each other, keep the conversations flowing and, above all, ask questions! There will be very interesting people, very important professionals who know the sector and have many years of experience, support them and show enthusiasm and passion for your solution. And, as a final tip, prepare a presentation that will be remembered, a different, original presentation, showing innovation and feasibility. Make the jury remember your presentation for the final decision. Lots of encouragement and, go for it!

Fernando Belda: The Opentop hackathon is the place to innovate, be creative and disrupt, so even though it may be a slightly outlandish idea, worked with the team and mentors it will become a winning idea.

Francesc Gimeno: Don’t get stuck on one idea, or think that your idea is the best. Throughout the weekend your idea will go through many phases until you come up with what seems to be the «right» one. I also recommend listening to both your teammates and the other mentors/participants, as they are a great help and can inspire you.

Opentop hackathon