Hack Horizon takes to the skies
First TravelTech Hackathon between Hong Kong and London has received exceptional response from innovators looking to revolutionise the travel experience
Hong Kong, 30 March 2017. The inaugural Hack Horizon, a unique TravelTech hackathon on board a British Airways commercial flight between Hong Kong and London, has received 669 applications from some of the world’s best entrepreneurs, developers, engineers, designers and marketers.
With a backdrop of progression and innovation in travel, the aim of the hackathon is to enable the brightest minds to connect with industry leaders to develop new products and services that could go on to make a positive impact on the international travel experience. It is hoped that the best ideas from the ‘hack’ will be taken forward and grown into fledgling companies by their respective teams.
Thirty-two participants will be selected for the four-day hackathon that will take place in airports, hotels and on numerous modes of transport, including a 12 hour British Airways flight from Hong Kong to London. Unlike many other hackathons, Hack Horizon will completely immerse its participants in the travel experience and give them direct access to members of the travelling public so they can receive live feedback and focus on solving very real pain points in travel. They’ll also be given the opportunity to work in tandem with some of the best industry technologies and APIs and gain support from mentors and experts.
Hack Horizon was conceived by Kostadin Kolev, Kristy Hart, Johannes Jaeger and Sandra Sobanska – a team of four inquisitive global-trotting millennials based in both London and Hong Kong. They first came together through their love of visiting the world and soon discovered they shared the belief that innovative technology could be better applied to streamline the traveller experience.
Hack Horizon will kick off in Hong Kong on 5th May with the participants first pitching their ideas, forming teams and beginning developing and building prototypes with the support of expert mentors from across the travel industry. On Day 2 the group will head to Hong Kong International Airport where they’ll enjoy a behind the scenes tour and have the chance to do some customer testing and validation with real passengers. They’ll then hop on a British Airways’ Airbus A380 flight bound for London Heathrow Terminal 5, and take the next 12 hours to consolidate everything they’ve learnt as well as get a few hours’ rest.
At London Heathrow Airport there will be another opportunity for some customer validation before everyone heads into Central London for a final day of hacking and a chance to practice pitches and demos. The hackathon ends at the iconic London Transport Museum where the participants will pitch to a judging panel of serial entrepreneurs, industry experts and media.
Hack Horizon’s co-founder, Kostadin Kolev, said, “We’ve embarked on a very unique and ambitious project but we are delighted that so many leading players in the travel industry are supporting us. Through the hackathon our aim is to support the growth of new and innovative TravelTech products to ultimately improve the end-to-end customer experience in international travel. Asia has moved beyond imitating the West and has developed into a home of world-class talent, innovation and startups. Hack Horizon will not only help secure Hong Kong’s position as the region’s leading technology hub but also help break down potential silos in the ecosystem.”
Richard Tams, British Airways’ executive vice president for Greater China added, “British Airways is proud to be a partner in this ground breaking TravelTech Hackathon to support local start-up communities in re-defining travel technology for the future. We look forward to welcoming these great minds on board our flights in the lead up to the ultimate showdown.”
We are delighted to have the support of the following organisations: British Airways, London Heathrow Airport, Hong Kong International Airport, MTR, Transport for London and SITA. For a full list of partners and sponsors, please see the website.