TrenLab, Renfe’s accelerator, launches its first hackathon on board an AVE train from Madrid to Barcelona.


The objective of this meeting is to attract talent and innovation to drive the Virtual Travel Assistant, an intrapreneurial project of TrenLab that is currently in the development phase. Its aim is to enhance the customer experience of Renfe through digital solutions that improve communication between both parties and accompany the traveler before, during, and after the journey; specifically, from the origin of the journey, during boarding, on board the train, and after disembarking at the destination station.

TrenLab and Talent Garden are seeking entrepreneurial teams with potential for prototyping and testing solutions, with technical or STEM profiles. Candidates can apply from today until November 26th through the Trenlab website.

The hackathon will begin on Friday, November 29th in Madrid, with an initial session at the Talent Garden workspace where the challenge will be defined, teams will be structured, and a networking session will take place. On Saturday, November 30th, the teams will take the AVE train to Barcelona, and during the journey, they will define their proposals and have the opportunity to conduct field research on the train itself. After a day of work at the Wayra hub in Barcelona, they will take the AVE train back, where they will receive mentoring from the team developing the Virtual Travel Assistant.

On Sunday, December 1st, after two workshops at the Wayra hub in Madrid, the final presentations will be made before a jury composed of representatives from Renfe, Talent Garden, and Wayra Spain. The teams will have to defend, in pitch format, the solutions they have worked on during the last three days.

The winner will receive 3 months of workspace at TrenLab in Wayra Madrid with follow-up from the Renfe Virtual Travel Assistant team and/or the TrenLab team to continue developing their project. Additionally, Talent Garden will award them with six months of mentoring and access to their workspace in Madrid.

“Through TrenLab’s hackathon, we aim to develop new ideas that utilize digital technologies to enhance communication with our customers, hand in hand with entrepreneurs and developers, experimenting and learning together,” says Bruno Espinar, Manager of Mobility 4.0 and Digital Innovation at Renfe. “Moreover, in this hackathon, we bring together the internal innovation of the Virtual Travel Assistant team with the external innovation of the participants in the hackathon in an event of genuine open innovation.”

“This hackathon is tailor-made for the entrepreneur we are seeking. We present them with an innovative challenge, in an unexpected workspace, with three days of workshops, mentoring, and networking ahead,” explains Inês Oliveira, director of TrenLab. “It’s a journey in every sense, and the most effective way to seek talent and generate opportunities for both parties.”

“For Talent Garden, it’s a privilege to collaborate on this initiative with Renfe alongside Wayra Spain. Opening up the challenge to the public, so they can contribute disruptive solutions within the context of transportation itself, seems to us the best way to innovate,” says Isabel Salazar, Country Manager of Talent Garden Spain.

Simultaneously with the call for this hackathon, TrenLab keeps open the call for the third acceleration program for mobility startups that solve challenges related to digitalization, communication, and customer experience. The call to enter the accelerator will close on December 3rd: interested startups can apply at

About TrenLab

TrenLab is Renfe’s global startup acceleration program in collaboration with Wayra Spain. TrenLab is the open innovation hub in the mobility, transportation, and logistics sector. We work hand in hand with startups and Renfe’s business units to accelerate the best projects and generate business opportunities together.

About Talent Garden

Talent Garden is the place where professionals from the digital and technological world can work, connect, and learn together. Founded in Italy in 2011, Talent Garden is the leading digital innovation platform, school, and coworking space in Europe, with 26 campuses across 8 countries (Albania, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, and Spain), hosting thousands of talents, including startups, freelancers, businesses, and large corporations.