HackAdTech’23: Interview with Winners in the AdTech Category

by The Content Team at AdTech 16 January, 2024

Our second open Hackathon — HackAdTech’23, awarded us with brilliant people who came to our event with bright and smart ideas. In the next series of our posts, we want to tell you more about these people and ideas. 

Today, we introduce HackAdTech winners IndigoOwl — the winning team of the challenge ‘How can we improve the AdTech industry?’

Sebastian and Maria are a family couple who combined their strongest sides to compete for the main prize at HackAdTech. What was their project about, how was the idea born, and what are their plans? We asked all these questions during our awesome talk.


– Hello, and congratulations on your success! Please tell us a little bit about yourself: what do you do for a living, and how did you decide to create an AdTech project?

Sebastian: My name is Sebastian, as you already know. I grew up in Austria and studied IT in Austria and Germany – so this is my academic background. For the last few years, I’ve worked as a freelance data engineer with different companies, mainly in Germany.

Speaking about our project, we read about the hackathon about a month ago and decided to participate. We were looking for something that would combine Maria’s area, which is online marketing, and my area, which is IT. So, this is how we came up with the idea.

– Please tell us more about your project! What is it about, and how may it help digital marketing specialists?

Sebastian: There are many Facebook groups like ‘Brits in Cyprus’ or ‘Germans in Cyprus’, etc. People there regularly ask for some recommendations, for example, ‘I’m going to Cyprus for a holiday next summer with my family. We have three kids. Can you recommend a hotel?’

The GPT-based system that we created during HackAdTech scans all relevant Facebook groups and detects the ones that Maria (or any other marketer) wants to find. Only a very simple filter will be required: in simple words, you just say, ‘I would like to get all Facebook groups that mention the topic of family hotels.’

After the system completes the search, a marketer can interact with the person who asked that question. So, our project is a way to find a direct connection to the customers.

– Sounds very exciting! And will it work exclusively for Facebook, or can it be integrated into any social media?

Sebastian: As we decided to continue working on our project, we plan to include other platforms, too. For the Hackathon, we used Facebook for a basic demonstration of the project, but it won’t be limited by it.

Here is the presentation of the project Maria and Sebastian prepared for the HackAdTech jury:

— Your project seems very promising — and do you think HackAdTech helped you to grow your idea? Did you overall like the event, and what was the most helpful for you as a team?

Sebastian: The most helpful thing about the hackathon was getting to know people. We got to meet many people from AdTech. Among them are Sergey, our mentor, who gave us extremely helpful feedback, and other participants and sponsors — we had a great chance to network during the after-party. 


Overall, this was our first hackathon ever, and it turned out to be definitely a great experience.

— So, your first hackathon — and you are the winners! Was it hard? The competition atmosphere might create some tension — did you feel anything like that?

Sebastian: We did work hard: all we had was our idea and enthusiasm, so we needed to complete everything on time. This was a bit stressful — especially during the last few hours, as we needed to create slides and practice the presentation.

Honestly, we didn’t really expect to become HackAdTech winners: from our own point of view, we made a few mistakes that could cost us the whole competition. What we wanted was to have fun and meet new people, so our winning was like another bonus.

— And what were those mistakes you were worried about?

Sebastian: First, for some reason, Maria’s design for our slides looked completely different on the big screen. Already not a good start — however, people did not notice that because nobody had seen the presentation before. 


A bigger issue was that I skipped the most important slide of our presentation — the one explaining our product use cases — and went back to it when everyone was clapping already! However, people were patient enough to let me get back and finish my presentation —  so it was not a big deal in the end.

–  Do you have any plans for future project development?

Sebastian: That’s a very good question. Some people gave us positive feedback, like ‘You should try to continue working on it.’ However, we would like to do this through some partnership — if it’s only two people, it would be a very hard project. 

Besides, we will obviously need some financial resources for it. So we are looking for partners who would like to join us and help us get this off the ground — team members or investors for the financial side.

If you are interested in supporting this project, please contact Sebastian at me@seble.info

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