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On learning to leave your comfort zone, as an introvert | pitching on the START Summit stage during START Hack 2023 

I like to attend Hackathons for various reasons, yet one core motivation is always to leave my comfort zone a little bit more.

My heart burns for XR Hackathons, since the community is amazing and XR Hackathons are filled with a lot of passion. Last week I attended a more entrepreneurial focussed Hackathon in St. Gallen. I have not really been active in the Swiss Hackathon scene before, but upon arrival I found it interesting to scan the room and observe, who was also skipping lectures from my university to attend the Hackathon instead. 

In contrast to other Hackathons I already built my team online prior to START Hack and was happy that we once we finally met in person had a good team vibe. 

START Hack compared to other more open Hackathons has clear challenges that participants need to work on during the intense and short timeframe of 36 hours. In total 9 case partners were present. As a team you can bid for your favorite cases. In the end we were assigned to the SIX case. The challenge was to make the stock market data more accessible. 

In the beginning I felt not to inspired, yet after being exposed to the green light conditions in the room where the Hackathon took place, I got inspired to use light as a visualization tool. 

location of START Hack 2023

In total 17 teams were working on the SIX case and on Friday morning, every team had to pitch their product in front of a jury. In the afternoon the winner was announced: team „Cutting Edge“… that was our team. 

As a case winner we had pitch our product in front of the Hackathon community. Out of the 9 case winners, the Hackathon community voted for the best 5 teams. Our team was voted into the top five. 

The top five are invited to pitch on the main stage of START Summit, which was taking place in parallel to the Hackathon. As an introvert pitching in front of a huge crowd consisting of investors and entrepreneurs is slightly out of my comfort zone. On the other hand I was so tired after the 36 hours long Hackathon that I didn’t manage to overthink it and just went with the flow. Even when we entered the backstage area of the stage I was not to nervous and I realized that this had a lot to do with the fact that I was practicing public speaking a lot in recent times and at some point pitching on a large stage does not make me feel that uncomfortable anymore. Overall START Hack was a really cool experience and a great way to extend my comfort zone.

START Hack Finalist pitch (top 5)