Base Camp revamped startups’ growth engines

Every single startup founder has more tasks on their hands than time for doing it. What if someone invented the time machine that allowed them to have extra days and complete all the strategic and important things on the to-do list?

This is where Base Camp comes in – a hackathon for existing startups wanting to do undistracted deep work with their team, and get weeks worth of work done in just 72-hours. 

The 7th edition of the Base Camp hackathon was rather special. For the first time in a long time, we were able to host the participants in a hybrid setting, merging the positives of an online and off-site format. 16 Superangel portfolio and acceleration program startups and 5 not-yet-in-portfolio startups came together to get their growth machine going and do deep work without any distractions. What started out as a testbed for a new format of doing hackathons back in 2018, has now evolved into a community gathering of some of the most ambitious early-stage companies in the area. 

“Beware! Base Camp is extremely addictive! After the first participation, it is very difficult to say no to their next hackathons. You can drop everything for the time of the hackathon and set focus on one or two goals. There’s just no time for micromanaging.” – Kelly Lilles, team Alpa Kids 

Base Camp startups gained 400+ working hours

“Base Camp is a cheat code for growth.” – Darius Semper, team Ringo 

21 startups jumped into Base Camp, or as some (old people) may say – a time-travelling DeLorean – and were able to gain 400+ extra working hours as a result of that. For some startups, these 72-hours gave a possibility to thoroughly discuss strategic topics that had been undecided for several months. Others managed to launch products and digital marketing campaigns to German, Polish, and Estonian markets. Tens of software products got upgraded to the next level. Feedback was gathered from 50+ customer interviews. Best of all, two startups announced that they will start doing Base Camps in their own team as this is the best way of getting deep work done. Nothing too shabby, right? 

“The impact of what we did in 3 days will last for the next 6 months.” – team SquadPal


There are 3 critical components to building the 72-hour Base Camp time machine, where each element has its own nuances. 

The mentors are world-class

If one thing is clear, it’s that there wouldn’t be any Base Camp without the amazing mentors who are willing to jump on board with us and share their invaluable knowledge and expertise. From design mentors who have been actively involved in the design industry for the past 20 years to digital marketing and tech experts who know everything, there is to know about marketing strategies, growth campaigns, KPI-s, engineering tech stacks, and building the MVP, the lineup of mentors was truly world-class this time.

“I’ve been part of the Garage48 hackathons since the very beginning. And this is by far my most favourite event to mentor. The quality of teams and content presented at the Base Camp is just exceptional!” – Helen Kokk, Digital Product Director at OCCO I Building a Revolutionary product for interior architects

What differentiates Base Camp 1:1 sessions from your regular hackathon mentoring sessions is that the 45-minute slots are a chance to actually go in-depth with a problem your startup is facing and get different perspectives on how to solve it. As one team jokingly put it, the 1:1 sessions are a great way to pick the industry best brains without spending money on consultancy hours and lengthen their runway in that way. 

“It was just awesome. The teams were really well prepared and my first day was 100% booked with 1:1 sessions. We ended up discussing concrete problems related to user research and product designs but also what the future might bring to those teams.” – Maido Parv, Senior Product Designer at Wise

Helen Kokk, Katrin Kiviselg, Erko Risthein, Greta Pudan, Patrick Collins, Taavi Raidma, Gleb Maltsev, Kristina Randver, Maido Parv, Elar Killumets, Joanna Grudzinska, Sven Kirsimäe, Kristi Märtin, Pavel Karagjaur, Anari Hagel – we applaud you! 

The speakers have been in your shoes

Getting the right advice at the right time can save startups tons of time. We listened carefully to what the most common challenges of participating startups are and brought in speakers with experiences from Bolt, Wise, Veriff, Starship and Salv, to name a few. Startups got insights on doing customer interviews and data-driven decision making, how to set up and measure the right KPIs, how to attract talent and build startup culture, how to fundraise successfully, and how the current actions of a startup can influence their exit opportunities.

Laur Läänemets, Taivo Pungas, Jeff McClelland, Marko Oolo, Käthe-Riin Tull, Reet Kaurit, Piret Saag, Sandra Verrevmägi, Karen K. Burns, Madis Lehtmets, Markus Lember, Gaspar Anton, Margus Uudam – your wisdom and insights were priceless!

The individuals bring talent and a pair of fresh eyes

Besides mentors and speakers, there’s one more secret sauce ingredient that helps startups to win time during the Base Camp hackathons and that is the talented individuals we hunt and outsource for our teams. But rather than just keeping the needs of the startups in mind, we also like to add value to the individuals- to be part of the next big thing, grow their network and break out from their everyday routine. 

“I have always enjoyed being in the startup community – between those curious, smart and brave people – so joining the Base Camp hackathon as an individual participant was a no brainer for me. I wanted to experience the magic around it and develop the curious creator within myself.” – Asta Vasiliauskaite, team Clanbeat

“Participating at the Base Camp hackathon was a 10/10 experience for me and I would recommend everyone who is someone in the startup ecosystem to take part in the hackathon at least once and put their talents into use.” – Karl Aleksander Kivimägi, team Menken

the next base camp will take place in autumn 2022

Garage48 and Superangel would like to thank all startups and individuals that participated and applied and all the mentors and speakers who made the 7th edition of the Base Camp one of the most successful events we have had in the history of Base Camp hackathons. 

One big applause for the organizing team or as we like to refer to ourselves, the kitchen side of the event – Merit Vislapu, Kaari Kink, Kalev Kaarna, Kairi Loomet, Tiit Tamme, Ahti Kaskpeit and Enriko Pedaksalu

Stay tuned for the next Base Camp in 2022 and be the first one to hear when the applications open. 

This blogpost is written by Merit Vislapu, Kaari Kink, and Kalev Kaarna.