What the hack is happening? It was Billie’s Hack Day, of course!

We put 30 people with lots of brain power, energy drinks, and snacks in one room for a whole day to see what they could create during Billie's first ever Hackathon. On 8 July, people from our Engineering, Design, Product, and Data Science teams got together for a pilot Hack Day. Let us take you on a journey on how Billie’s Hackathon went and which project was declared the winner.

Winning Team of the Billie Hack Day

A hack what, you ask? For all German readers, this has nothing to do with “Mett” or “Hackfleisch”. A Hack Day, or hackathon, is simply an event in which a group of people, most commonly developers, work together for a limited duration to create something innovative and new. “The idea is for everyone to step out of their day-to-day and get creative,'' said Blerina. At Billie, this was a pilot event, which is why only a smaller group participated.But one thing became clear very quickly: This is just the beginning, and there will be more Hack Days for everyone to participate! 

So what was the set-up? Billies from Product, Engineering, Data & Science, and Design formed eight teams to work on projects they wouldn’t usually do. Ranging from a new feature for a product or testing new technology, there was only one rule: it had to be fintech-related. 

The ‘why’ behind the Hack Day

A Hack Day is about learning, innovating, and teamwork, all while having fun. It’s the perfect opportunity to get participants out of their comfort zones, and to try out new technologies, processes, and ideas. A new challenge is like fresh air, not just for the teams and how they work together but also for Billie’s ecosystem — because this is where innovation happens. 

“The creative work gets the collaborator into the habit of thinking outside of the box while also building upon team spirit, “ says Leticia, a Senior Frontend Engineer, who helped organize the event. “If you want to make your idea reality, you need to work with people from different teams: ‘I need someone who can help me build this tool’ or ‘I need someone who knows our front-end and a designer to make my features look cool.’ But above all, it’s about having fun,” she adds. 

Ready, Set, Code! 

After a quick introduction on Friday morning, the Hackathon kicked off. Our hackers got together with their teams to give their creativity free rein and immediately began on their projects, with only seven hours to do so. Throughout the day, everyone worked hard, and it became clear that there are different approaches to realizing a project. We took a look over the shoulders of our hackers: 

Some people were busy writing their concepts and ideas on white boards, while some could be found in our meeting pods going through the next steps. There were many group discussions, but also some Billies worked on their own. Everyone was very engaged in their projects, and you could feel the coding atmosphere as you walked through the office. 

Everyone worked in the way that was best for them. This shows how different processes can be in order to achieve a goal. “Learning new technologies and building a strong development culture were two of the most important learnings we could draw from Hack Day”, said Leticia.

Hack Day Team working
Team working together on their project on Billie's Hack Day

The projects

With eight teams working on eight innovative fintech projects, all with the aim of improving the Billie customer and employee experience using digital solutions. Each team had between two to four participants from different functions. But all united by one common goal: to create the most innovative project. 

A few examples of the projects: 

  • One team worked on Graph Databases to help Billie better understand and detect fraud patterns. 

  • Another group created a “Jolly Journal Journey” to improve the readability of invoices and visualize all the steps a financed invoice goes through. 

  • A third team built a Slack bot that will return a timeline plot of an order journey in Billie’s payment system. 

  • Another invented the BillieCoin as the first cryptocurrency named after Billie. 

  • Finally, what would a Hack Day be without a robot: the financially literate robot that aims to monitor and alert stock market changes.

The presentation/voting

We are amazed by the great ideas everybody came up with during this year's Hack Day and their continued dedication to our product. After seven hours of hard work, a few energy drinks, and donuts, it was time for everyone at Billie to join the final demonstration of the work created by the participants. To wrap up, everyone voted for their three favorite projects, whether they were on-site or working remotely.

Drum roll for the winners please:

1st place: Progressive Web Application for Merchant’s Dashboard 

2nd place: Fraud Graph Network and Jolly Journal Journey (We had a tie, nothing is fairer than rewarding both teams!)

3rd place: Financially literate pet robot

"It was a great experience to host the first official Billie Hack Day. We saw how important it is to build a strong development culture and that our teams can develop exciting new technologies together for the benefit of Billie and our customers," concludes Blerina. 

Congratulations to our participants and winners of Billie’s Hack Day 2022. A big thank you goes to Leticia Fernandes, Blerina Beqiraj, and Gabriel Anhaia from the Billie Engineering team who put together an amazing Hack Day. We can’t wait for the next one! 

Organizational team of the Hack Day
Organizational team of the Hack Day

Rebecca Grzyb

Rebecca Grzyb

Rebecca is a social media and communications specialist at Billie. On our blog she shares stories of the day-to-day work of Billie's employees.

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