"I can’t imagine myself doing something else", says Mario Ribeiro Alves, TAIKAI CEO & co-founder by@supermalvo

"I can’t imagine myself doing something else", says Mario Ribeiro Alves, TAIKAI CEO & co-founder

Aims to build a better future for misused talent and companies looking for different solutions when they face a challenge. The CEO and co-founder of TAIKAI, the Ultimate Hackathon Solution, is an economist by trade and a technologist by heart. He says he has always been driven by challenges (the harder, the better), but they either come to us or are hard to find. This is why he can’t imagine himself doing something else, as I bring these challenges straight to people.
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Mario Alves HackerNoon profile picture

Mario Alves

NFP (Non-fungible Person) 🟡 Co-founder & CEO @taikainetwork 🟣 Co-founder & Community Builder @startupftblock

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HackerNoon: Please tell us briefly about your background.

I am currently the CEO and co-founder at TAIKAI, the Ultimate Hackathon Solution.

I usually say I am an economist by trade and a technologist by heart.


I have worked at PwC as a consultant and at an Investment Bank. I have also helped startups raise funds and have helped blockchain companies design token incentive models. In 2017, I created Blockchain Center Portugal, a Portuguese blockchain community. This year I also founded Startup from the Block, the home for blockchain startups and investors.

What's your startup called? And in a sentence or two, what does it do?

TAIKAI helps organizations to run their online hackathons and innovation challenges, acting as an online management tool. We count on a strong and growing online community that participates and engages in these challenges. In essence, we are the Tinder of Hackathons.

What is the origin story?

In a global survey conducted by LinkedIn, 37% of respondents said their current job does not fully utilize their skills or provide enough challenge. This means that talent is not being put up to good use. In 2018, along with our investors, we saw there was a need to solve this problem. Creating TAIKAI was a response to that. It is a way to build a better future for misused talent and companies looking for different solutions when they face a challenge.

What do you love about your team, and why are you the ones to solve this problem?

Finding great talent aligned with the values you envision is hard. Luckily, I truly believe we have the best team to solve this problem by having the perfect blend between development and business, with several backgrounds and cultures, that bring the unique diversity we need.

On the technology side, we have the right expertise to cover all the aspects of building our platform. On the business side, we have among different team members a powerful network and a solid background in innovation and consulting.

If you weren’t building your startup, what would you be doing?

I have always been driven by challenges (the harder, the better), but they either come to us or are hard to find. This is why I have built TAIKAI, and honestly, I can’t imagine myself doing something else, as I bring these challenges straight to the people. Seeing their success in building solutions and addressing real-world problems gives me the motivation I need to keep going.

At the moment, how do you measure success? What are your core metrics?

There is the motto that says: “Happy team, happy customers.” It may sound cliché, but it always begins and ends with people. In that sense, our biggest success metric is having happy and motivated team members, clients, and the community.

If you do it right, a financial outcome will come to you.

What’s most exciting about your traction to date?

The most exciting is having all types of clients and hackathon organizers using our platform, being big companies like Microsoft, Pfizer, Nissan, Hilti, and small startups. And more exciting than that is seeing that they become loyal and completely trust you with their problem.

What technologies are you currently most excited about and most worried about? And why?

Blockchain is my favorite for the potential it brings. Typically it is only associated with crypto, but with time we’re seeing that it is the evolution of the internet itself (web3).

That is why we use blockchain at TAIKAI, as we believe it is related to our core values: transparency and ownership.

What drew you to get published on HackerNoon? What do you like most about our platform?

It has one of the best communities inside the tech industry. And considering that is the community we want to be close to makes perfect sense for us to be on HackerNoon.

What advice would you give to the 21-year-old version of yourself?

Invest in Bitcoin and keep being a good guy! It will pay out in the future. 😉

What is something surprising you've learned this year that your contemporaries would benefit from knowing?

Being able to adapt yourself to the circumstances is the best skill you can have. At the end of the day, it is not intelligence, hard work, and good intentions that will prevail. You always need to complement that with Grit and Flexibility to succeed in everything.


TAIKAI was nominated as one of the best startups in Porto for Startups of the Year 2021 hosted by HackerNoon.

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by Mario Alves @supermalvo.NFP (Non-fungible Person) 🟡 Co-founder & CEO @taikainetwork 🟣 Co-founder & Community Builder @startupftblock
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