MEST Entrepreneurs Head to Morocco for #RAM747 Hackathon

Sylvana Lewin, Tuesday April 24th 2018

Not many entrepreneurs can say they’ve attended a hackathon on a plane, but now thanks to Royal Air Maroc several of the MEST entrepreneurs have been able to do just that! Earlier this month, Royal Air Maroc in partnership with Boeing, General Electric, and La Factory by ScreenDy hosted the #RAM747 Hackathon in Casablanca, aboard a Boeing 747, to work towards improving customer experience using technology.

MEST companies Amplify, DevLess, VendyAds, LetiArts, and EIT Charlette N’Guessan were all selected to participate in the hackathon after pitching to Royal Air Maroc representatives at MEST.

[caption id="attachment_6733" align="aligncenter" width="600"]MEST participants at the Royal Air Maroc #RAM747 Hackathon in Casablanca. MEST participants at the Royal Air Maroc #RAM747 Hackathon in Casablanca.[/caption]

We spoke to Charlette, VendyAds CTO Charles Agyeman, and DevLess CTO Edmond Mensah to hear more about their trip to Morocco!

What was your biggest takeaway from the #RAM747 experience?

Edmond: Being part of a bunch of people from different African countries coming together and trying to hack something was amazing. The greatest takeaway was how easily people from diverse cultures were able to come together and build solutions. We had different skill sets, different jobs, but we were still able to create something together. Being able to coordinate was incredible.

MEST stood out because we are already a group of people from diverse cultures and different settings. MEST helped us as we were already in the mindset of being able to work with different groups of people.

Charlette: The biggest win for me was the fact that my team and I succeeded in building our MVP by the deadline. It was very good and important for us to complete this challenge and to share our solution to the team from Royal Air Maroc.

What was your favorite part of the #RAM747 experience?

Charles: My favorite part was actually before the event started when we had the opportunity to explore Casablanca! We visited tourist sites and it was beautiful. The Hackathon was also fun, tiring and a lot of work, but it was a great experience.

Edmond: My favorite part was having to sleep and hack on a plane. People didn't even sleep because of excitement and deadlines! People were hacking, building, and coordinating throughout the whole two days. I don’t speak French, and I had two French-speaking teammates, who didn’t speak much English, so we had to find ways to communicate. It was crazy!

Charlette: My favorite part was pitch time. It was amazing to hear and see different solutions focusing on customer experience. The way people use technology to innovate is great. It was also a nice moment for everyone to learn from others and give input.

[caption id="attachment_6734" align="aligncenter" width="600"]EIT Charlette N'Guessan and DevLess CEO Edwin TsaTsu at #RAM747. EIT Charlette N'Guessan and DevLess CEO Edwin TsaTsu at #RAM747.[/caption]

Why do you believe tech innovations are key to improving customer experience?

Charles: I believe tech innovations are key to improving customer experience because tech is able to cut out a lot of work. Rather than people having to run from one place to another, they can just do something with the click of a button. The customer gets so much more with technology; I think it has a big part to play in improving customer experience.

Edmond: Right now, it’s hard to find something that tech is not affecting already. We must make sure that the tech that powers all of these innovations is up to the level we need. Tech should be there, but not there. We need to fine tune it to make sure that we are improving customer experience and even further to all human experience. At the end of the day, it’s not about the technology, but about the experience we have.

Charlette: For me the best innovations are based on technology and can be applicable in different domains. I believe that tech innovations are the key to improving customer experience because today more people are connected and more companies are moving from the traditional sector to the digital sector. We can't think of solutions to improve user experience if these solutions can't be digital. It’s also important to note that innovation never ends! We can always continue to innovate products and guarantee even better customer experiences.

How is your company working to improve customer experience in your respective industries?

Charles: VendyAds is working hard to make sure that the tedious process of requesting an ad on a radio station is easier. VendyAds is taking on the stress upon itself and making the process seamless for customers.

Edmond: If you look at any kind of innovation, at the core of it you have technology. We need to make sure the best of technology is available. At DevLess we believe that creating the best tech solution should not take so long or require so many resources. We want to help provide solutions without all the barriers.

The #RAM747 Hackathon ended with six teams being selected to move forward and work on their proposals with Royal Air Maroc, including MEST portfolio company Amplify. Certainly an exciting opportunity, these entrepreneurs will now have the chance to work with a major airline on improving their customer service through the use of technology! 

We'll be catching up with the Amplify team later this week on this exciting development so make sure to keep your eyes on the MEST Blog for an interview on their next steps!

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