$25,000 up for grabs at BikeHack19

I’ve signed up and I’m ready to take part (and win) ;)

Join BikeHack19! BikeHack19 is a “Startup Weekend” or hackathon-style event where you get to work in teams, innovate, create solutions. A hackathon is a day- or weekend-long event where enthusiastic people of various professional backgrounds come together to innovate and collaborate intensively on software projects. But BikeHack19 is open to both tech and non-tech solutions. BikeHack19 aims to solve the question:

How can bike riding be more accessible and appealing in Queensland so that people ride bikes more often?


Why take part:

  • To solve an important community problem

  • To explore and learn outside of your (professional) bubble

  • To innovate and create solutions

  • To meet exciting and interesting people

  • To be inspired and grow

  • To push your professional development to its limits in 48 hours

  • To compete for $25,000 cash in prize money

Before we continue, who am I and why am I encouraging everyone to take part? I do not have affiliation with the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) or Aurecon. But, I do rent desk space at Fishburners, a co-working office in Brisbane, who are co-presenters with Aaron Birkby.

I am Emily de la Pena and I was a civil engineer / transport planner for over a decade. I worked for engineering consultancies in Brisbane and Melbourne as well as TMR. I participated in Startup Weekends and was on the winning team at the Brisbane event in October 2014. I was a mentor at the 2017 Brisbane Startup Weekend. I worked for a social enterprise startup and I started my own business, Coding Kids in 2016. BikeHack19 is the intersection of my two lives:

  1. Engineering-transport-planning

  2. Startups-innovation

I am super excited to partake and you should be too! You have an opportunity to solve an important community problem. You have the chance to win significant cash prize money. You have the opportunity to innovate and evolve outside of your bubble and comfort zone. What an exciting time!

How does this weekend work?

Friday night:

  • Check in from 5pm

  • 6pm Event welcome and overview

  • Challenges presented

  • Pitch your idea to the audience

  • Form teams to work on an idea

  • Dinner

  • Doors close 10pm



  • Doors open 8am

  • Team works together to develop and test prototype. Pivot idea as required. Seek market validation for prototype.

  • Discuss ideas and progress with mentors and industry experts.

  • Meals served: a light breakfast, lunch, dinner.

  • Doors close 10pm


  • Doors open 8am

  • Team wraps up product development and market validation.

  • Prepare and practice pitches with event mentors. Address the judging criteria.

  • Meals served: a light breakfast, lunch, dinner.

  • 2pm Teams pitch their solutions to judging panel.

  • 4pm Judges award prizes.

Who is this event for?

  • Entrepreneurs, technologists, enthusiasts, transport planners, engineers, hobbyists and citizen innovators.

  • Anyone who is over-18 and enthusiastic about solving this problem.

  • And is not an employee of the Queensland Government.

What kind of ideas can my team work on?

On Friday night, you have an opportunity to pitch your idea and encourage the audience to join your team.

What kind of solution can this be?

  • A software solution

  • A hardware solution

  • A non-tech solution

  • A community program

So… what kind of ideas? Well, the best ideas come from a specific problem you want to solve, often for yourself. If you are experiencing a problem, it is likely that others are too. Just thinking off the top of my head right now, here are some example problems you can address:

  1. magpie attacks

  2. safety for kids riding to school by themselves

  3. learning road safety for cyclists

  4. learning road safety for drivers

  5. cycling confidence

There are three “Challenges” to address which include descriptions of user avatars. The winning team wins $10,000, plus $5,000 for each category/challenge winner. You may have a solution that suits the specific needs of one of the challenges.

Now, your turn… Start brainstorming.

For the Friday night pitches, you have 1 minute to pitch your idea. Be succinct and engaging.

How to get a team?

There are many ways in which you can get a team:

  1. Invite your friends, colleagues, wider network to join your team.

  2. Turn up on Friday night solo, then meet people and join a team.

  3. Pitch your idea on Friday night and as a call to action invite people to join your team.

  4. If you hear a pitch that you like on Friday night, find that person and ask to join their team.

The focus of the weekend is collaboration and innovation. Attendees will be open to networking, meeting new people and forming teams with strangers. I would recommend that you build a team of strangers. There are so many learning opportunities from working with people you don’t know.

How to win

Judging criteria

Judging criteria have not yet been published. I will update with more tips and tricks as soon as they are published. Remember to focus on achieving results against the judging criteria. It can be easy to spin off into a tangent if you are passionate about your cause. So take time out to review your work against the criteria. This is when it is a good idea to get feedback from mentors.


Friday night we start out with a simple idea. An idea is a bunch of untested assumptions. The goal of the weekend is to test assumptions and get market validation. One person thinking that an idea is good is useless, but a market that validates an idea is valuable.

Market validation can come in many forms. Here are a few options from weakest to strongest validation:

  • Social media engagement: comments, likes, clicks. Let’s say you create a beginner-friendly cycling event on Facebook. You achieve an engagement of 500 people saying that they will attend. This is the simplest form of validation. But, we need to recognise that it is pretty easy to click a button, but it is a bit more work to get on a bike and start cycling.

  • Email sign-ups. Let’s say you create a landing page for your beginner-friendly cycling event. The landing page invites users to sign up for an email newsletter to keep them up to date for this event. Email addresses are more valuable than a social media clicks. People tend to think twice before handing over their email address.

  • $ paid. This event might be free, but a paid ticket might give you extras, say a goody bag, or queue bypass. $ paid shows significant commitment and market validation.

  • Market validation to solve the problem of getting more people cycling, is to actually get people cycling. If, within 48 hours, you are able to:

    • promote a cycling event

    • hold it

    • get people cycling

    This would be the greatest level of validation.

So get involved. Sign up. Get out of your bubble. Innovate, learn, grow.

BikeHack19 event details:

Time and date: 5pm for a 6pm start Friday 17 May to 7pm Sunday 19 May. Daily schedule here.

Venue: Aurecon 25 King Street, Bowen Hills (near the RNA showgrounds).  Get directions with Google Maps.

Who: If you are over 18, enthusiastic, ready to collaborate and full of new ideas you’ll fit right in.

Cost: $29.95. Cash prizes and catering provided.

Briefing event (free): 5.30pm, Thursday 2 May at Fishburners. Book your ticket here.

Get your ticket here.

Tweet me if you want to chat.