The Pleo Blog

Get started
Remote Hackathon 2020

Here’s the first question we asked ourselves before this hackathon: Should we even have a hackathon right now?

We’ve only ever done them in-person before, so the thought of a remote version didn’t sound very appealing initially. How could we assemble and support teams? How could we boost morale at the key moments?

But, appropriately for a hackathon, we decided to give it our best and see what we could learn. So, in April we hosted our first ever remote AND global Pleo Hackathon!

Spotting the differences

All of our uncertainties faded once the excitement of the day began, and we found ourselves submitting ideas, forming teams and voting on the winning concepts.

We also came to the realisation that this untraditional hackathon was a good distraction for many of us from the Covid-19 situation. It was something new and fun to look forward to, something that wasn't part of our regular routines.

There were differences of course. Compared to your typical high-energy hackathon event, hosted in a big space, this remote hackathon was more suited to quiet brainstorming.

A small apartment can feel a bit isolating nowadays though, so intimate teamwork added a new level of comfort.

Allowing our entire company to not only submit ideas but to vote on what they wanted to work on boosted engagement and added to the inclusive, collaborative spirit of the event. It was a great opportunity for us to work in teams with people we don’t usually work with, from different departments, with different skills and backgrounds.

The projects we took on

The participants were asked to frame problem statements (e.g. "How can Pleo better...") and potential solutions for the following hackathon themes:

  • Making the best out of the Covid-19 situation - how to deal with the effect Covid-19 has had on Pleo, our customers and society (Bonus points if the teams could back up their ideas with data and/or qualitative insights.)
  • Imagining Pleo in a cashless society - imagine a future where cards as we know them no longer exist, how will that impact Pleo and our world?

The ideas were submitted, the votes were cast, the 13 teams were formed, and cool projects and proof of concepts were made. Coordinating the work across different timezones, with 6+ hour time differences, was a challenge as well as a perk. The judges voted and selected winners for four awards out of the 13 teams:

🏆 Ship it yesterday: the highest potential to get out there fast

🏆 Most inclusive: the most wide-reaching

🏆 Silent hero: the most impactful backend solution

🏆 Visionary: revolutionary and future-focused

We are happy to introduce some of the very cool and noteworthy projects and ideas that came out of this hackathon. Most of these are fully working proof-of-concepts, baked into the product to extend its capabilities, reach, and impact:

Forecast upcoming expenses using recurring transactions data - 🏆 Winner of the Visionary award

It’s easier than before to see where your money is going with Pleo, but it could be... even easier. Introducing Forecast™ - take a look at upcoming recurring expenses and forecast them into your wallet balance so you can see which expenses are right around the corner. As an Admin, having a forecast of future expenses broken down by recurring and ad-hoc helps to take suitable measures to ensure no double spending is happening, the wallet doesn't run dry, and that costs can be cut easily to manage cash flow.


Pleo customers can list their services in a Pleo marketplace and give discounts to each other - 🏆 Winner of the Most Inclusive award

Allow users to make a donation as their first Pleo purchase, without the hassle of inputting card details.

Also, recommends local deals and relevant perks based on spending behaviour.


Make company expenses sustainable by tracking the carbon footprint of your transaction - 🏆 Winner of the Most Inclusive award

Pleo Impact shows the carbon impact of each individual purchase using intelligent analytics. How much of an impact did your flight have on the environment? Where could your business do something small to make a big difference?


Extend Fetch 🐶 to Office365/Outlook emails - 🏆 Winner of the Ship It Yesterday award

Pleo users are already loving Fetch, which integrates with Gmail. This takes that to the next level, automatically find receipts from an Office 365/Outlook inbox. It’ll save Pleo users time and energy on this annoying task.


Disposable and restricted virtual Pleo cards

Disposable virtual cards increase online payment security and reduce fraud risk by letting the card-owner restrict a card to only accept a certain merchant, a specific one-time purchase or remain active within a specific time period.

What we learned

Overall we are very happy that we invested time in this hackathon. The proof it was worth the time we invested is all of the innovative proof of concepts above.

Stay tuned for more updates and announcements as the concepts get built into fully usable features and get integrated into the product. Which of these ideas would change the game for your team?

Let us know!

Pleo blog banner
Svetlana Yershov

Svetlana Yershov

Product Marketing Lead

Product Marketing Lead