Alumni Spotlight: Shawee and the Power of Hackathons

How did you find out about Draper University?

Four months ago one of the cofounders of my company was in a business trip in the Bay Area and one of the places he visited was Hero City. Back in Brazil he told me to apply to the program. I applied, was accepted and the magic happened!

What do you think was the most valuable lesson you learned at Draper University?

One of the most important lesson I’ve learned in the program was to never give up and always try to break through my limits. Especially in the survival week, it happened over and over. Also the 10X mindset was a big contribution for my formation as an entrepreneur.

How has what you learned at Draper University helped your business?

Almost everything that I’ve learned in DU helped me in my business. As I said before, thinking 10X is one of the things that made a huge difference in our future projections and helped us to see exactly where we’re going in the near future and how we’re going to disrupt our industry. And of course, I learned a lot on how to deal and have good investors in the table, so I feel so much more prepared to have investors and be more smart on selecting the right investor for me.


It all began with a request to organize a hackathon for a client. They may not know at that time, but this would be the first of many coding marathons managed by Wendel, 22, Rodrigo, 25, and Abraão, 31, the founders of Shawee.

Sponsored by companies, nonprofit groups, universities, and other organizations, hackathons are programming challenges that bring together multidisciplinary teams (made up of developers, designers and curious) in order to create solutions to a problem in a short time. A collaborative project in a relaxed environment shows the potential of co-creation and it is able to change the mindset of all involved.

The participants usually developed their idea and present it as a website, an app or a demo, gaining experience through the teamwork and the knowledge exchange. And from the perspective of the institutions, hackathons can promote the development of innovative ideas, create a new relationship with the brand, attract talents and even motivate their own employees.

To organize their first hackathon, the founders did extensive research, discovering that all the steps were commonly organized on paper! It was even possible to find digital solutions to help in separate parts of the process (ex., one tool to apply and other to create teams), but can you imagine how crazy it was to think about the structure of the event and to separate all the project’s data developed by the participants? There were data registered on papers, emails and spreadsheets! They had to manually cross all those information by themselves.

So, in 2017 Shawee was created. With their own initial investment, the startup started to developed an online platform (today available at https:/ that helps with all the steps of a hackathon, from the registration of the participants, to the jury’s evaluation.

The culture of hacking is well established in developed countries, but it is still growing in Brazil. The idea behind this has always been to spread this kind of event and to improve the experience to all involved — organizers, participants, mentors and judges -, providing a methodology and bringing dynamism from start to finish.

Today, Shawee has 25 employees, organizes hackathons throughout Brazil and recently started operating in Silicon Valley. Just in the last year, Shawee was present at hackathons of big companies, like Uber, Itaú Unibanco Bank and IBM, and participated at the most important events: Web Summit, Tech Day New York and Disrupt SF.