Yesterday I attended the presentation of Imagine Express 2015, a hackathon I am going to, that will be happening in a train from Barcelona to Paris and then London. The winners will pitch their ideas in the upcoming Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona.

But let’s go back to the beginning. It all started on October of 2014. BancSabadell, arguably one of the best and most solvent banks in Spain, was organizing a hackhaton to see what people could do with their soon-to-be-launched API. At Quipu, we thought this iniciative was very exciting: bank APIs can (and will) improve Quipu and, most importantly, our users’ experience. Thus, we applied.

Luckily enough, we were selected for that hackathon, along with twenty-something other teams, making it a total over a hundred people. We went there with a clear idea in mind: develop a killer feature consisting of API-backed bank reconciliation. A feature, in fact, that will be released in Quipu really soon.

Saturday morning came, and the competition started. Our team developed things separately (the design, the workflow and the connection with the API), putting it together at the end of the day. We went back home late, with our prototype already working and with only a few fixes and improvements to be applied during Sunday morning. We could even release the Omniauth Strategy and a super simple and untested API wrapper.

Keynote time began on Sunday afternoon. All twenty-four teams presented, with us just before the last ones, and we waited until the veredict came out. We couldn’t win the general award, but won the technical award instead, for which we were really proud, even more as our four-people team in the hackathon were the development team plus my partner & CEO. Furthermore, this technical award got us the right to participate this Imagine Express 2015.

So, back to the train. Yesterday afternoon, a bit after 7pm at the old Damm beer factory in Barcelona, this crazy, amazing project got fully unveiled. But, what is Imagine Express? Basically, it’s a hackathon focused on exploring talent and pushing limits further, that will be partially happening in a train. Apart from some eccentricities (last year, an almost-200-pages book was written in the train, and this year a song will be created there) that make it even more special, it is a great oportunity for a lot of people to demonstrate what they can do.

The participants, a total of 36, were selected from more than 2000 candidates. Some applied directly, but most of them won hackathons or contests. All of them are divided in three groups: twelve creatives twelve business-oriented people, and twelve developers (that is me!). Twelve teams will be formed on next Friday morning just before getting in the train, and they will compete (three each) in four categories: Fintech, health, water and open theme.

On Friday afternoon, we will get on a high-speed train to Paris and, after spending the night there, a whole day of pure, focused hackathon will happen (though I don’t know exactly where). Next Sunday morning we will hop inside an Eurostar train through the Eurotunnel to London. There, we will present the ideas during the five minutes that the London Eye takes to make a complete cycle. The winners from each category will then be chosen, and they will be lucky enough to pitch their ideas in the forthcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (and I think it will be just before Mark Zuckerberg).

Next Friday morning, a crazy experience will begin!

PS. Maybe the title rang a bell. In fact, it is based on “Get on the funk train”, a great, sexually ambiguous, pretty famous song from the late seventies, composed by Giorgio Moroder and released by Munich Machine.