BikeHack19: done and dusted - and won!

We did it! We won BikeHack19. Here’s our two-and-half-day long journey.


Waiting for pitches (Photo credit: Nina Ginsberg)

Waiting for pitches (Photo credit: Nina Ginsberg)

Friday night I was sitting next to Shaw and deliberating over my idea that I wanted to pitch. Earlier that day, he had mentioned some weaknesses of my idea. So here we were, waiting for the pitches to start, and I am dubious about my idea. I was hesitating whether to pitch it. But Shaw encouraged me to pitch. He said, half joking, if there was no better pitch, he might join my team.

I was in the queue to pitch. I was making an effort to listen to the pitches, whilst managing my nerves. Josh Wulf, as always, gave a  confident and compelling pitch for his idea: Park Ride. Park Ride is a Park Run inspired social movement.

Friday night pitches. (Photo credit: Nina Ginsberg)

Friday night pitches. (Photo credit: Nina Ginsberg)

Other memorable ideas were: bike budding matching platform, cycling for discounts app, and crowd sourced data for cycling infrastructure and experience issues.

I get quite nervous with public speaking, but a one-minute pitch is a great practice tool. My pitch was based on the idea that a scavenger hunt app could be used to engage users in a new cycling experience. Users can get to know cycle infrastructure in their city, including safe, off-road bike paths and how to hire a CityCycle, in a fun, gamified way. Watch a 45 second video of my pitch on Twitter.

Captains trying to form teams. (Photo credit: Nina Ginsberg)

Captains trying to form teams. (Photo credit: Nina Ginsberg)

After pitching, each speaker wrote their idea on a whiteboard. After the 27 pitches, we proceeded with the sticky note voting method. Everyone gets 3 sticky notes and gets to choose 3 pitch ideas that they like. After voting, Aaron Birkby, facilitator of the weekend, invited the speakers for the top 8 ideas to pitch again and get people to join their team. My idea got the most votes! It was great to start on a mini-win, but I knew that the ultimate Sunday pitch win needed perfect team execution.

Friday night we formed a team of 8. We could not take any more team members. 8 is the largest size team that has possibility of still being functional. We introduced ourselves to get started and shared what we wanted to achieve from the weekend. Most of us wanted to learn new skills and meet new people. We spent the evening planning our activities and priorities for the weekend. Then we were kicked out of the Aurecon officee at 10pm and it was time to rest and be ready for a full weekend.


Saturday morning we returned back to the office. Overnight we got a message from a team member, he said hackathons were not for him and that he would not be returning. So we are now down to 7. How many would we be by Sunday night?

I loved our team. We were harmonious and productive. Sub-teams formed and reformed as we completed tasks and moved on to the next task. We all worked with different team members over the weekend. We had a sub-team working on customer validation, filming, story lines and riddles, branding, digital marketing, and business partnerships.

I had a bit of a headache on Saturday, so in the afternoon I dropped into Aurecon's Zen room and had a little lie down. It was a beautiful peaceful space: lots of plants, a water feature, sparkling water in the fridge and cosy couches facing out of the windows. When I got up I was energised to keep going.

I left Saturday evening thinking that we were going gangbusters and it would be an easy Sunday.


Hashing out the business model. (Photo credit: Nina Ginsberg)

Hashing out the business model. (Photo credit: Nina Ginsberg)

I spent Sunday morning around Southbank with Cangie engaging more customers. I was not as successful as Cangie. She managed to get a bunch of users activate the prototype as well as take their photos.

I got into the office and the team was worrying about our business. Yikes!

Ok, so I got myself a tea and some fruit from the breakfast bar. We needed to nut out our business model. We had too many ideas, validation in different directions, and we were now confusing ourselves. That’s a good problem to have. Other teams were struggling with getting validation and developing a working business model. We had too many ideas and validation in different directions. We did not want to confuse ourselves and the judges with having ideas all over the place.

We only had 5 minutes to pitch. We needed to be succinct, clear, and compelling. There were 13 teams pitching and we needed to cut through 13 teams’ messages. We had thrown everything we had on the wall and trying to see what stuck. Many things stuck. But we could not see a pattern and develop a crystal clear, compelling business model.

These were the questions we were struggling with:

  • Are we selling to consumers?

  • Are we selling to businesses?

  • Why not both?

  • Do we have a solution without a problem?

  • What cycling problem are we trying to solve?

  • Are we trying to solve a marketing problem?

  • Are we trying to solve a tourism problem?

  • How are we going to make money?

  • How is our B2C validation?

  • How is our B2B validation?

  • Which category do we aim for? Active families, Tourist & Recreation, Active Transport.

  • We have lots of validation for B2C, but do we have validation for B2B?

  • Is customer validation from Riverlife, a Queensland based tourism company, enough to extrapolate to Marvel movies, Star Wars movies or a Taylor Swift album launch?

Now was the time we needed feedback from facilitators and mentors.

  • Aaron Birkby mentioned that it is not an MVP if our description involves an ‘and’. Right now we were trying to be to many things. We had lots of ‘ands’. B2B and B2C and solving cycling problems, marketing problems and tourism problems.

  • Marc Orchard, from BDO, said to focus on brand activation opportunities e.g. marketing for upcoming movies such as Marvel and Star Wars. As well as recognising opportunities from tourism marketing budgets. If all tourists in Queensland stayed one extra day, this would be worth $6 billion per annum.

We nutted out a business model with a 5 year roadmap. We would start with building an MVP for Riverlife, a local tourist activity company. Next step is to partner with CityCycle to enable people without bicycles to take part. Engage corporate clients for corporate team building events. Final step is to get brands on board. Brands that are looking to engage their fans with unforgettable real world experiences. Our scavenger hunt app would become a brand experience activation tool.  

I wrote out our pitch in dot points. I addressed all judging criteria and responded to all concerns raised by mentors. It was a tonne of notes. It was 2.00pm, 2 hours until pitch time. We grabbed mentor Will Stubbs to review our rough draft pitch. Aayush and I delivered the practice pitch. It was 8 minutes long!

Will suggested to keep tfocused. It is ok to leave things out to be addressed during the judging panel's Q&A. E.g. Safety concerns is a topic that we can leave out. In his own words, Will gave us a beautiful, clear, succinct, and engaging explanation of our business model. It was compelling! I wrote his words downs. I wish I could speak like him.

Next group discussion point, who would actually deliver the pitch? Aayush volunteered, then asked Kirrily to join him. So the two went away and practiced. Cangie and I volunteered to cover the 3 minute Q&A section. Cangie would cover customer validation stories and cycle safety and I would cover our business model.

The most stressful time for me over the whole weekend was 2.15-3pm Sunday. I was frantically trying to finish presentation slides, whilst getting updates from the pitching duo. 3.30pm was the hard deadline to submit slides. I wanted to give Shaw 30 mins to add his video to our slides and do a tech check.

Sunday night pitches (Photo credit: Nina Ginsberg)

Sunday night pitches (Photo credit: Nina Ginsberg)

At 3.05pm my part was done. I made myself a cup of tea. The last part was up to Kirrily and Aayush, this was their first hackathon and they were pitching. Impressive!

Pitch time! Everyone did a fantastic job. It is amazing to see what people can come up with in 48 hours.

Check out the winning teams and Twitter highlights on the TMR blog. Here is the Queensland Government media statement on the event. Plus the Channel 7 News coverage.

We worked long days but it was a fun, friendly, and collaborative experience. It was not stressful at all, just a bit tiring. I met so many wonderful people, including people from other teams.

We won. We celebrated with team gelato!  :D

Our team. We won!

Our team. We won!

BikeHack19: 13 team, 79 attendees, facilitators, event organisers, sponsors, mentors and volunteers. Thank you! (Photo credit: Fishburners)

BikeHack19: 13 team, 79 attendees, facilitators, event organisers, sponsors, mentors and volunteers. Thank you! (Photo credit: Fishburners)

#bikehack19 flyers (1).jpg

Here’s our prototype. We have two adventures available:

  • Southbank Harry Potter Adventure (start at the Wheel of Brisbane)

  • Bowen Hills Adventure (start on King Street, Bowen Hills)

Feel free to have a go.

#bikehack19 flyers.jpg

Scan the QR code on the right to access our Southbank Adventure. Use the camera on your phone to scan.

Scan the QR code on the left to access our Bowen Hills Adventure. Use the camera on your phone to scan.

Post win gelato! Sans Aayush who had to take the last flight to Sydney for work. (Photo credit: Sophie Arkinstall)

Post win gelato! Sans Aayush who had to take the last flight to Sydney for work. (Photo credit: Sophie Arkinstall)