Shaping the Future
of Hackathons
and Employer Branding
Aleksei Marakhin, 2019 Alumnus, MSc in Photonics and Quantum Materials
Phystech.Genesis Co-Founder
Meet Aleksei Marakhin: a Skoltech and MIPT graduate who co-founded the hackathon company Phystech.Genesis. Explore Aleksei's strategic academic and professional path and learn how he organized the world's first ever online hackathon for 1000+ participants during the pandemic.
where it all began
I got my Bachelor's Degree at MIPT, Department of Physical and Quantum Electronics. After that I applied to Skoltech's Photonics and Quantum Materials MSc Program. During my Master's studies, I gained a ton of industrial experience. I also enjoyed E&I courses, which eventually helped me formulate my own vision in shaping my company.

Let me tell you about the company, yes?
My mate from MIPT called me to start a business. In the beginning, we aimed to create student teams at MIPT for our student accelerator. However, later we found that hackathons worked brilliantly as an employer brand instrument, and we pivoted to this market.

So, we decided to start our company, Phystech.Genesis, which is primarily engaged in organizing hackathons and technological competitions in the IT industry.

Our mission is to connect as many companies and hackathon participants as possible. This helps them to find the best employer and employee fit. We are like Tinder in the IT job market :)

I found our first partners for our hackathons at Skoltech. For example, the company Align Technologies. We also worked together with Professor Zeljko Tekic to run the first-of-a kind course made of solely hackathons with Lenta, Astra Zeneca, Nvidia, Sbermarket and Tinkoff!

Since 2019 we have organized 100+ hackathons with 70+ partners from 7 countries. Our partners include IT giants like Sber, Tinkoff, Yandex, VTB, Rostelecom, MTS, VK, and others. More then 15,000 developers, managers and designers from 20+ countries took part in our events across the country. And they've made hundreds of job offers to our participants.

The Phystech.Genesis team
Our company has 4 co-founders, who right now combine roles of CEO, COO, CTO and Sales. We also have 2 full-time managers, an SMM specialist, an outsourced marketing team, 40+ moderators and 5 trainees.

My role is to lead our marketing and platform development. So, my goal is to help as many experts as possible learn about hackathons and, in parallel, build a platform to make participation in hackathons transparent and convenient for everyone involved.

We use Trello for strategic tasks, Jira for development, Notion as a knowledge base, Telegram is our chat. We make separate chats for every single event.

By the way, we are always looking for hackathon managers and trainees. The 3 main qualities we are looking for are:
- Self discipline
- Analytical thinking
- Will to grow fast

All other skills can be quickly learned. If you've been accepted to Skoltech, you likely have all these qualities already. So, if you're interested in hackathons and want to join our team, feel free to text me in Telegram.
our biggest success and challenge
The biggest highlight in our company's history was, in fact, staying alive during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before March 2020, most of our events were conducted offline with a maximum of 300 participants. However, with the beginning of COVID, we developed our own brand new hackathon mechanics within just 2 weeks. We organized the first-ever worldwide online hackathon for 1000+ participants — that was a breakthrough!

The biggest challenge is to lead large teams. For example, while organizing the last hackathon with 1000+ participants, we had a team of 50 on our side and a team of 100 on the side of our client. Through trial and error we realized that the solution is to regulate the organization processes and hire skilled managers.

I really like the way everything runs. However, we are always looking for opportunities to grow. Right now we are searching for new markets and truly scalable products, as well as better IT solutions.

advice for students and entrepreneurs
If you aspire to start your own company, you can save yourself a lot of time and resources doing this:

1. Building your network
2. Before starting a new business, making custdev. Conduct as many interviews as possible and as fast as possible. Your experience is not representative of your potential clients.
3. Be ready to work a lot, but try to build teams and delegate.
4. Find a large market to build scalable products.

By the way, my parents who run their own business played a significant role in shaping my career choice as an entrepreneur. I also stay in touch with great MIPT alumni Andrey Krivenko (VkusVill) and Andrey Ivaschenko (KhimRar), who make it their mission to connect with students and inspire them.

So my final piece of advice is to connect with thought leaders and learn from them. They always have fascinating stories and insights to share. Who knows, maybe they'll inspire you for new ventures!

and now about Skoltech
We are Skoltech – a new international English-speaking STEM university that was founded by the group of world-renowned scientists in 2011 in Moscow, Russia. In just 8 years, we united dozens of researchers and globally renowned professors, built a stunning campus, set up world-class labs and made it to the top 100 young universities in the Nature Index. Read more >>
Discover Skoltech in less than 3 minutes
more stories? sure: