TrashUp wins Hungarian round of Cassini Hackathon

Competition

TrashUp, the winner of the Hungarian round of the Cassini Hackathon, came up with a solution that encourages travelers to pick up plastic waste suitable fo creating raw material for 3D printers, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

Last month, nine countries organized the Cassini Hackathon in parallel. Besides Italy, Poland, Greece, The Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Portugal, and France, Hungary also joined the competition with the professional leadership of Design Terminal, an innovation agency that organizes incubation programs in 12 countries. Since 2014, Design Terminal has worked with more than 2,000 startups and leading corporations in many industries, within more than 200 innovation programs.

Using data from European satellites, Cassini Hackathon participants developed their ideas on how to make the continent’s tourism sustainable. Teams of the Hungarian round received mentoring in business development, marketing, finance, space industry, tourism, and data processing. The side that came out on top is a team called TrashUp, consisting of two, already existing startups.

Hunor Kiri, founder of ReFilamer, and Beáta Dobsa, founder of Tripful got together during the competition to work on a mutual idea. This resulted in them winning the main prize and getting the chance to present during the European finals.

ReFilamer is developing a machine that produces raw material for 3D printers from waste. Kiri says it began as a hobby for him to build these kinds of printers since as an engineering student he was always fond of DIY and electronics.

"What I liked about this was that I could create something from nothing. It was a great deal of detailed work and visionary DIY with the potential of looking into the future that I really enjoyed. A few years earlier it was cheaper to build the machine than to buy it,” he said.

He soon realized though that this is still a costly occupation because the filament – raw material for such printers – is rather expensive. At that time, he had a seminar at the university that taught him what startups are and how they were created, so this was a great opportunity for him to brainstorm about his own solution with a social impact.

He quickly built a team around himself, they came up with the idea to recycle general waste for the printers. Then, based on cost- and energy-effective considerations they changed this from general waste to just PET bottles.

The Tripful community app targets GenZ female travelers who with the help of the platform can connect with each other on their journey. Dobsa came up with the idea of Tripful during her professional internship in Malaysia from where she wanted to travel to Singapore, Bali, and other destinations in the area. She was looking for a travel buddy or someone who she could meet up in these countries.

"There were apps for that but I had mostly bad experiences – pushy guys wanting to find a date... That’s why I created Tripful in the first place in 2020. Travel buddy apps seemed like a good idea but people weren’t using them as they should have," she said.

So Dobsa created a platform only for women. Tripful started as a travel buddy platform, but from this year on, female travelers can use it as a meetup solution. After its new, mid-summer launch users traveling to big cities in Europe can find like-minded women to have a coffee with, go to a yoga session or a party – simply to network.

"We want women to be able to travel solo, but not alone,” she added. 

Tripful was named as the most creative startup of Denmark in 2020 and they were nominated for Initiative of the Year award at Nordic Women in Tech. Now Dobsa wants to get a foothold in her native country, Hungary, and teaming up with ReFilamer comes in handy for that purpose.

"Hunor needed a distribution channel so it seemed only reasonable to collaborate. Our target users are the ones who can easily be enticed to care about sustainability.”

The combined solution, TrashUp uses satellite images (that’s where Cassini’s condition about using space data comes into the picture) to direct travelers to tourist routes heavily contaminated with plastic waste. Users can help recycle the rubbish by getting them to the nearest ReFilamer machine. They reward the user and the printer owner uses or sells the waste filament.

Ugo Celestino, Policy Officer for Space Research, Innovation and Startups at the European Commission's DG DEFIS, which organizes the Cassini Hackathons and mentoring series, also participated in the two-day event in Budapest. Based on his evaluation, Design Terminal proved why the European organizers chose the innovation agency to be the Hungarian partner.

“The main challenge for organizers is always to provide the right direction and expertise for participating teams to progress. On the first day in Budapest, I saw guys come up with pretty bold ideas, but receiving the business and technical mentoring as well as the pitch prep session steered their thinking in the right direction.”

Kiri says besides gaining useful knowledge networking was the main advantage for them during the Hungarian round and also the European finals.

"We are now prepared enough to target space industry incubation programs like European Space Agency’s Business Incubation Center," he said.

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