“How Roger Federer helped to found my Startup”: Interview with Oliver Brümmer

Hi Oli, nice to have you with us. Please introduce yourself briefly to our readers: 

I’m Oli, 40 years old, a family dad, married and grew up in Mannheim. I founded “The Hackathon Company” in 2018, back then it was still called “Brümmer Digital Ventures”. We quickly realized that we actually wanted to organize hackathons, so The Hackathon Company was the right name. 


How did the idea to start a business originate?

It all began with the issue of large companies struggling to digitize quickly. Today, there’s a shortage of skilled workers, and everyone is wondering where to find those who can speed up the digitalization process. To solve this problem, I searched for a format that would work. Hackathons, which were already very popular in the USA seemed like a cool format to me. It brings together people from different disciplines to address a problem in a time-compressed way. Usually, something good comes out of it in a very short time. So my initial thought was: That’s exactly what big companies need. Fast solution to business cases and personal contact with potential applicants. Now, five years later, I’m here, doing an interview as the founder of the largest Hackathon organizer in Europe.

What exactly does the company do?

I believe our slogan describes it quite well: “where tech talent meets corporate vision”. We bring together international companies with skilled tech talents to drive digitalization and digital strategy. They can bring these visions to life, and I think that is always very important. We believe it relies on two key components: people and work methods. Collaboration is the name of the game. Digital products are complex because they involve not just tech experts, business managers, and designers but also lawyers and data handlers. Our company brings all these professionals together to provide a complete package for clients. We specialize in tech talent, which includes various types of fields e.g., engineers, data analysts, and user experience designers – people who work with lines of code We source them and incorporate them into our tech talent recruiting experiences. We also place people directly, but mainly we focus on Hackathons as a recruiting experience format.  

What makes “The Hackathon Company” special?

I think our strength lies in serving the needs of big corporates. Our events are scalable and can be adapted to different sizes. We have organized small hackathons with 20 people, but we have also conducted the world’s biggest online hackathon with 27,000 participants. However, it’s essential for us to concentrate on the abilities of prospective candidates while also considering the goals and objectives of businesses. Occasionally, these interests may conflict, and that’s where we step in to coordinate. 

Did Mannheim play an important role in your founding story 

I believe it could have occurred anywhere, but being a Mannheimer, starting in Mannheim was fantastic due to the city’s immense support. What do I mean by that? The city may not be Berlin or Munich, but it offers a lot. This includes the contacts and time that are given to you here. A mayor who advocates for the interests of startups as well as financial resources and spaces like the one we are currently speaking in. There was a whole bouquet of support services.  

Do you have a role model? 

My role model is the tennis player Roger Federer. Why? I see many parallels between business and sports, especially when it comes to values. Discipline, competition, and fairness are important. Always embracing new challenges and personal growth. Federer has not only been one of the great tennis player, but he has always known how to combine family with his loaded professional life. He played amazing tennis, was an incredible champion, and at least from the outside, it seems like he also has a happy partnership with his wife and kids. Furthermore, he has invested in a very cool company called On-Running and has signed strong advertising contracts. He’s just a cool dude!