New company emerged from a hackathon

Artikkelikuva: New company emerged from a hackathon

What kind of benefit can the teams gain from participating in a hackathon? Are the hackathons useful for others than the winning teams? We got answers for these questions from two companies – one of them founded thanks to our hackathon!

We held a programming competition called the Digital Twins Hackathon in November 2022 that boosted start-up’s growth. The challenges presented by LiiDi2 were related to winter maintenance and logistics in Helsinki. The sources used included Stara’s production data, among other things.

In the first part of our post we talked with the winners of the hackathon, Winterpac and Perfektio. In this post we’d like to share the experiences of other teams that have profited from their participation just like the winning teams have. Let’s hear what Leo Salomaa from Make a BIM and Valeri Tshatshivili from CHAOS Architects had to say.

1. How would you describe your service?

Make a BIM: “We are creating a scalable and easy-to-use method for generating BIM models for owners of existing buildings. BIM is short for ‘Building Information Model,’ which are models generated by using apps used by architects and engineers, for example. Very few buildings currently have a BIM.”

“Currently there’s very little quantitative data on buildings. Any calculations, optimisation and design related to buildings is still primarily done by hand. Because buildings have long life cycles, this inefficient manual labour is repeated several times. This is significant, because 40% of energy consumed in the EU is consumed by buildings (source) and 37.5% of waste generated in the EU is due to construction and demolition work (source)!”

“BIMs will help with these challenges, because they can be used for multiple objective building optimisation in the energy renovations of buildings and in taking inventory of the parts to be recycled from buildings to be demolished. Being able to scale these tasks would reduce energy consumption, the carbon footprint, waste and cost. In practice, our service can soon be used on the website or via an API. Artificial intelligence is provided with the blueprints of a building’s floors and it returns a BIM in an open IFC format.”

CHAOS: “CHAOS is a location intelligence platform integrating all data about urban environment and its residents, applies innovative technologies to create urban forecasts and insights for all stakeholders involved in urbanization.”

2. How did participating in the Digital Twins Hackathon and cooperating with Forum Virium Helsinki benefit you?

Make a BIM: “The positive feedback, mentoring and development ideas we received at the hackathon helped us validate our concept. Taking part in the competition also encouraged us to further improve our technology, express its benefits more precisely and gain an even deeper understanding of the issue at hand.”

“The Forum Virium Helsinki network has also helped us find a possible pilot project after the hackathon. We are constantly monitoring the progress of the LiiDi2 project and we are already collaborating with Stara, because we have developed a working AI predicting the slipperiness of streets for them as a result of an earlier hackathon. We also got a lot out of mentoring by Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and the Testbed Helsinki circular cluster in terms of furthering the project.”

Taking part in the competition encouraged us to improve our technology, express its benefits more precisely and gain an even deeper understanding of the issue at hand.

Leo Salomaa, Make a BIM

CHAOS: “What we liked about Digital Twins hackathon was that it had very clearly defined challenges. In collaboration with Forum Virium and Stara we had chance to directly interact with people tackling the winter challenge every year. These discussions helped us to develop solution that not only narrowly addresses specific problem posed on hackathon, but can be also scaled to other maintenance needs of any city.  After the hackathon we continued discussing possibilities and timelines for further developing and piloting the proposed solution with Stara.”

The successful hackathon and discussions with Forum Virium Helsinki and Stara helped us sharpen our business case. It also helped us develop solution that not only narrowly addresses specific problem posed on hackathon, but can be also scaled to other maintenance needs of any city.

Valeri Tshatshivili, CHAOS Architects

3. How are you doing now, and what are your plans for the future?

Make a BIM: “We founded the Make a BIM Oy company after the hackathon with computer scientist Ville-Matti Tanninen and mathematician Jami Valorinta. In the hackathon, the project went by the name ‘Floor plan to IFC,’ but we like our current name better. My name is Leo Salomaa and I am an architect.”

“The long-term goal of Make a BIM Oy is to grow quickly and internationally, because the challenges I referred to earlier cannot solve themselves. The short-term goal is to develop and pilot the technology and find funding. We also want to grow our team and we are always open to cooperation with various parties, so do not hesitate to contact us if you are interested in the topic!”

CHAOS: “Our aim was to use this hackathon as opportunity for developing a solution that would become part of CHAOS offering addressing every problem probably every municipality faces: provide undisrupted maintenance service for all of its residents with limited resources. The successful hackathon helped us sharpen the business case for the solution. We believe this solution will become part of CHAOS product.”

Photo: Jussi Hellsten

Forum Virium and Helsinki City Construction Services Stara, in cooperation with Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, held the Digital Twins Hackathon – Building sustainable futures within the most functional City programming competition in Helsinki on 25–27 November 2022 as part of Forum Virium and Stara’s joint project, the mobility digital twin as an enabler of services (LiiDi2)

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