From NXNE to Zeptopalooza: #LifeAtZepto

Rich Miller


11th December 2023

Seven cross-functional teams tackling a diverse set of challenges completely remotely over two days. Welcome to Zeptopalooza — Zepto's inaugural innovationfest and NXNE lovechild.

In mid-2023, Zepto embarked on its first ever all-of-company, in-person gathering in Cairns — an event we called North by North East, or NXNE.

NXNE's pillar of why were: connect, engage, align, inspire.

Over three days we workshopped, learned, listened, laughed, plotted and planned for success.

There were many take-outs from NXNE. But one thing we universally aligned on was the importance of embedding a culture of innovation and collaboration within the business, and taking meaningful steps to make it flourish. Don't get me wrong, innovation already streams through Zepto's veins, and that's great. But harnessing that spirit for maximum impact is what we were aiming to do.

And so it was that an annual Zepto innovation festival was born.

If there's one thing I know, it's that birthing an idea is easy. Execution is the tricky part. I shouldn't have worried.

In quick time, a committee took shape, dates were locked in, and the thing was named — Zeptopalooza — and given a visual identity. There was swag. It had a momentum I hadn't expected.

And to be frank, I also didn't quite expect the astonishing results.

On 06-07 December, seven cross-functional teams each took on a unique creative challenge. Those seven challenges were shortlisted from an original set of 20 submitted by people right across Zepto. The final seven dealt with opportunities in data aggregation and analysis, language and terminology, payment-solution enhancements, transaction monitoring, professional development and ways of working.

Just like the teams themselves, they were incredibly diverse, and the innovations developed and delivered in just two days were simply incredible. What I loved most was the cross-functional collaboration, enthusiasm and passion displayed by the entire company.

Even more astonishing when you consider that everyone connected with their teams remotely.

I had the great pleasure of being on the judging panel. As each pitch was delivered, it became evident that picking a winner was going to be incredibly difficult, given the quality of the innovations, the solutions delivered and professionalism of each pitch.

In the spirit of the hackathon, in only one hour, all seven pitches were delivered, and the judging and awards ceremony done.

Hard to believe.

From the up-and-running Zeep-Up mentor-mentee platform, and the AskZiri Slack app to a bunch of things I can't reveal, the output was mind-blowing.

CEO Chris Jewell may have said it best. 

"The first few minutes in the judging breakout room was just me effusing about the pitches we'd seen — it was truly incredible. I'm so proud of everyone. For our first Zeptopalooza, every single idea, the way they were presented, the passion and the intensity brought to it was just mind-blowing. Congrats to everyone."

Chris Jewell, CEO

As the dust settled, I checked in with people across the business for their thoughts on what they'd just experienced.

"I was blown away by the quality and volume of work the teams produced in only two days towards solving real problems. The fresh thinking delivered through cross-functional collaboration was extraordinary. The results mark the start of longer term initiatives that will bring significant value to the business in key identified areas," said Sarah Davoren, General Counsel.

Importantly, Zepto's Head of People — Geraldine Nankervis — was equally impressed.

"Zeptopalooza couldn't have been more perfect. To have the entire company collaborate remotely on seven distinct projects, challenge conventions, work with people they might not typically day-to-day, and see colleagues shine in their own way was so incredibly inspiring.

"We leave 2023 inspired by a deeper appreciation for what's possible when we're aligned. To see Zeptopalooza erupt like it did from our NXNE event in July is unbelievably inspiring. I cannot wait to tackle 2024 with this most incredible team."


Like Chris Jewell, I'm proud of what we've achieved, and grateful beyond words for the effort invested by so many to make it such a success.

Zeptopalooza was a suitably remarkable way to close out another remarkable year for Zepto.

2024, we're coming for you.

Fancy being part of Team Zepto?

Written By
Rich Miller


Next Up