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2021 in review and our roadmap for next year!

Carlos Mendes
Carlos Mendes

We're nearing the end of 2021, and as usual, we'd like to share with you a recap of our year at TAIKAI.


This year was important for us since we established our digital footprint as a hackathon management platform. But there's much more to it!



This article is divided into four sections: TAIKAI, Community, Organizations, and Product Development.


We'll go through our year in numbers, our milestones and achievements, as well as the challenges we faced. We also struck up a conversation with our CEO and CTO, who shared their views on TAIKAI's present and future.


Oh, and you should definitely stick around until the end to get a glimpse at our 2022 roadmap 👀 


Without further ado, let’s take a look at our year in review 🔥


TAIKAI 🚀


Investment round 💰


One of the biggest milestones this year was, without a doubt, the €2M investment round we raised!

The German FinLab EOS VC Fund led the investment round and was also joined by existing investor Bright Pixel and new investor Portugal Ventures.



Mário Alves, our CEO and co-founder, shared the importance of this investment: 

“Closing a €2M investment round was a vital step in the path to ensure our vision comes true. 

It has helped us scale our team and our company, expand to other regions and the journey has just begun. 

We have high expectations for 2022 as this investment will put us on the map worldwide, not only as a platform but as a true developer ecosystem.”

Which is a great queue for the next topic: our team!



Growing the team 👥👥


Back in January, we had a team of just four people.


As soon as we started to gain traction, we quickly realized that in order to scale fast and achieve our ambitious vision, we needed to add talent to our team.


Fast forward to today, and we are now a team of 12, striving to make TAIKAI’s vision a reality.



We grew the team in a year highlighted by economic recovery, but the pandemic still posed many obstacles.


Once again, our CEO recognized this as an opportunity to expand and strengthen our market position:


“We quickly realized how the pandemic is turning everything digital, so we focused on the opportunities, instead of the setbacks.

Digital transformation processes are quicker and we just had to be in the middle of the storm to actually succeed as a product and as a company. 


Recruiting, however, despite the pandemic, is even more challenging now as we face global movements such as remote work and digital nomadism accelerating. 

That was probably our biggest challenge: find the right people that believe in our vision, roll up their sleeves, and are ready to build one of the best companies in the world.


The future is the decentralization of hiring and development and we’re getting ready for it, as a company and as a product.”


We’re not planning on stopping here, either. If you’re looking for an opportunity to work in a remote, startup environment and with a great team, take a look at our open positions!



Web Summit: Gathering the team and being a PITCH finalist 🏅


We had a great time at this year's Web Summit. On the one hand, we managed to bring a large part of the team to Lisbon, and many of us met for the first time in person.


On the other hand, it was fantastic to be in touch with members of our community, speak with other organizations and startups, as well as meet our investors.


We also participated in PITCH by Siemens. For those that are unaware, PITCH is a startup competition hosted at Web Summit, in which the world's leading early-stage startups battle live onstage.


 


Even though we didn’t win the competition, it was really rewarding to be a PITCH finalist, considering there were over 650 startups competing against each other 🤯


In the words of our CEO, “being a finalist at the PITCH competition at Web Summit is an important market validation that we are doing something right, and that we play a significant role in the startup ecosystem, not only in Portugal but throughout the world.”


We’ve also participated and hosted other events throughout the year, such as DeNites web3 parties, Blockchain meetups, NFT conferences, and even university lectures!


Our CTO and co-founder, Hélder Vasconcelos, also stated:

“In the upcoming years, TAIKAI's growth will be built on three pillars: community, organizations, and new products. These three components will enable TAIKAI to grow and expand its customer base, positioning it as a key player in the market for innovation and decentralized product development.


In addition, it will allow us to have access to a global talent pool that is currently extremely valuable given the high difficulty faced by companies in attracting and retaining talent.


Our growth strategy also involves winning new strategic web3 partnerships for our ecosystem. These partnerships will be essential to broaden the spectrum of action of our services.” 


Community 👩🏾‍💻👨‍💻

Our community keeps growing on a daily basis. We had 35,000 members towards the end of 2020, and we now have more than 50,000! Thank you so much for being part of TAIKAI 💎


We take pride in having a diverse community with different profiles and geographies, even though our focus will always be developers and web3 enthusiasts.


For 2022, our goal will be to provide more incentives and engagement with TAIKAI in order to grow the community on a massive scale.


We are working on new products, improved community channels, designing a new system to reward interactions, and obviously, we have bigger plans for our beloved KAI tokens.


Stay tuned! 😉



Organizations 🏢


This year, we've hosted hackathons in industries like blockchain, health, sustainability, construction, artificial intelligence, and many more. 


Not only that, but we were able to increase the number of new organizers from 100 to over 150!


We work hard to bring the best organizations in the world to TAIKAI, such as Microsoft, Galp, Nissan, European Union (among many others), since we know they are at the forefront of innovation.

We hosted incredible hackathons like the CASSINI “Connecting the Arctic” (575 participants), Taboola internal hackathon (799 participants), or the Telos “Governance Challenge” (271 participants), just to name a few. 


And to kickstart 2022 the best way, we’ve already listed new hackathons from Harmony, TecStorm and Microsoft!



Product Development  🖥️

As previously said, this year was highlighted by our market consolidation and positioning, which in operational terms meant new features and improvements to our platform. 


Main hackathon features implemented ⚙️


 

  • Live Streaming: to help hackathon promoters and participants to connect and learn, in a secure way.
  • Integration with other apps: we’ve integrated your favorite apps to automate workflows and build engaging experiences.
  • Voting Cart: we designed a fun, simple voting system that resembles a shopping cart. Pick your favorite projects, add them to the cart and submit ✅
  • Private Hackathon: introduced the ability to host private/internal hackathons.
  • Improved Onboarding Experience: now it’s easier than ever to host a hackathon or be part of one.
  • Programmable Internal Forms: we provide more options for organizations to collect relevant data from participants.
  • UX/UI Improvements: improved design and user experience in our platform. 


All of these features played an important role to improve our platform and product, both for organizations and participants. However, we were also developing a new product: hiring challenges!


We expect to launch this new tool in early January. In the meanwhile, you can take a look at our HILTI case study which explains in detail the process and results you can expect from our new tool.



What’s in store for 2022? 🔮


We’re really excited about next year because some major changes are about to happen!


Even though we can’t share any details yet, Hélder Vasconcelos, our CTO and co-founder, shed some light regarding our roadmap: 


“In 2022 we’ll expand our offer and value proposition by including new products. In addition to that and to a greater preponderance of web3 services, we will be revamping a large part of the blockchain infrastructure that supports the platform.


This update will enable new integrations and access to a wide range of protocols (DeFi, Governance, NFT, and so on...) that will complete and enrich TAIKAI services. One of TAIKAI's biggest challenges will be to complete this transition without creating too much entropy for less experienced users with web3 patterns.


In the near future, users will be able to interact with web3 services via a user-controlled Metamask wallet or use a wallet provided by the platform that abstracts issues such as private key management and gas fees.”




Last but not least, we’d also like to share our vision for the future of blockchain, web 3.0, and what we believe will be TAIKAI’s role in this universe!

“Web3 represents a fundamental shift in the way people use the Internet, and many scalability and usability issues remain unsolved in this phase of the transition from web2.


At an early stage, our strategy at TAIKAI was to position ourselves as a web 2.5 player.

However, expanding the platform's decentralization fits perfectly with our initial vision and the industry we intend to embrace: a decentralized innovation & development platform, by resorting to a worldwide talent pool.


TAIKAI aims to be a "permissionless" and transparent hub of web3 services with clear incentives for all platform stakeholders (innovators, promoters, and others).

These stakeholders will also be able to make governance decisions and contribute to the future of the TAIKAI economy.

Some of these incentives are currently in place, but we intend to expand the power and influence of TAIKAI’s stakeholders in the economy in the near future, as well as add economic value to all actions performed on the platform.


We believe that, in the not-too-distant future, a web3 developer will be able to make a living solely through contributions to the TAIKAI economy.” - Hélder explained.


We have high expectations for 2022, but with a committed team and the power of the community backing us, we’re sure that we’ll meet or even exceed our goals 🚀


Finally, in the name of the TAIKAI team, we’d like to wish everyone happy holidays! 


Stay safe and have a wonderful 2022! 🎉


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