Henkel Xathon; the first virtual female hackathon

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After another successful Henkel Xchange event at the Maschinenraum in Berlin, we jumped straight into Xathon – a 3 day female ideation hackathon

Henkel dx Ventures co-hosted the event with Global Digital Women, which aimed to empower 90 female tech talents and founders, to help them develop their ideas, promote diversity within the tech industry, and to create a female focused community to network within. The 3-day content programme needed to inspire and encourage attendees to create, whilst the event format needed to provide a safe environment, allowing private as well as group work, and 1-1 engagement. In order to achieve this, we were asked to provide our end-to-end virtual event services, programming, content creation and a thought leadership communications strategy for UK and German press.

This was the second year Henkel dx Ventures hosted Xathon, which was initially scheduled to be a Covid-19 friendly physical event in Berlin across 5 different venues. However, following the change in government regulations within Germany we adapted the format to host the event within our customisable virtual events platform. The group collaborative nature of the event was one of the main challenges when taking this event virtual, but this later became a huge success and only allowed us to be more creative, but also to reach a broader audience outside of Germany (from 12 other countries) and to feature a wider range of speakers from across the world.

In advance of the weekend we sent bespoke Henkel dx Ventures hampers to all participants, filled with beverages, snacks and Henkel stationery all designed to motivate and assist the attendees through the event. We curated the programming for all 3 days with the Henkel team, with the likes of Abadesi Osunsade of Hustle Crew, founder of NuruCoffe, Sara Nuru, and Henkel employees opening the event on Friday. It was incredible to see the excitement from guests, inspired and ready to work on their ideas. The day closed with a virtual cocktail masterclass and ‘blind’ meetings, so the guests could network with each other.

On Saturday, after an inspiring morning with Tijen Onaran, founder and CEO of Global Digital Women, and Sharmadean Reid, founder of Beautystack, the participants broke off to group workshops with their talented mentors guiding them through different stages of ideas development and preparing them for the final pitching in the main arena on Sunday.

In order to enhance the experience throughout the weekend and maximise networking possibilities, we created separate areas for founders, experts, speakers and mentors to view all profiles, to be able to chat and video call with each other. We also provided key resources in the digital library, which was full of recommended articles, podcasts, movies and digital tools. Not only that, but we also ensured the guests were able to have a break with our awesome Yoga teacher Jordan Ashley and HIIT work out master Kate. For downtime, focusing on individual work or just relaxing away from the computer, our Marble Music team created custom music playlists for the different moods.

Our communications department worked closely with the Henkel dx team throughout the planning stages, with the aim to position their team’s spokesperson as a thought leader within the tech industry, specifically focusing on female empowerment.

The partnership of Marble and Henkel dx Ventures across all areas of the event has allowed us to deeper dive into the greater meaning and goal of the event, with analysis from the virtual platform metrics, survey results, and social listening. The event finished with an overwhelming number of feedback from all parties, with the attendees referring to it as “the best organised online event” and sharing their positive experiences across all networks.

We look forward to nurturing this newly formed female entrepreneurs community further and expanding the ever growing event portfolio of Henkel dx Ventures in 2021.

"Thanks so much! That was a new level of professionalism and quality for us! We are very happy having you as a great partner with us and are very much looking forward to 2021 and further exciting event formats - what can stop us now? Virtual has proven it works! Thanks to the entire Marble team, especially to Silvija for your passion and spirit. We love it!️"

~Dr. Salima Douven, Head Open Innovation & Incubation, Henkel dx Ventures