This past weekend Startup Live Karlsruhe dominated the local entrepreneurship community with around 40 participants, 10 Mentors, 5 Judges, and a worthy Pitch-Contest winner in a vibrant and productive 2,5-day event.
In a highly competitve field of six business ideas, Mediphant was crowned as a well-deserving winner on Sunday. They found a simple solution to tackle the problem of old people forgetting to take their medication. With this value proposition and a plausible plan they won 2 Tickets to the great Pioneers Festival 2013, a power workshop with venture capitalist Kizoo AG and a one-on-one session with design thinking guru Ahmet Emre Acar in December. The second prize, which guarantueed a second spot in this unique session with Acar, went to VitCoach, a personalized and automated fitness coach for members of sports teams via mobile app and web-browser. The special prize of two one-month spots at the new Karlsruhe-based co-working space Commodore Room, was granted to SignUpp.
As part of the European Startup Live Event Series, which is a product of Vienna-based Start Europe, the PionierGarage (PG) applied to host the event in Karlsruhe in spring 2012. Matthias Zientek took over the organization and did a great job managing the planning & operations over the weekend, backed by a hard-working PG team.
I was very happy to be part of something bigger and contribute to the event. On top of giving an introduction on designing and testing business models, which I had already mentioned in my last article, I was asked to mentor startup teams on Saturday and be a judge for the final pitches on Sunday. It was very instructional and tons of fun to sit down with teams, think through their models, give advice and then see them work even harder. I was totally amazed by the quality of the projects and the progress that these teams were able to realize towards the final pitches.
For me as a fairly “young gun” amongst the other judges in the loaded jury I felt like it was great learning experience and chance to make quality connections. The jury consisted of Matthias Hornberger (Co-Founder of web.de, now CFO at Kizoo AG), Markus Hennig (Co-Founder of Aastaro, now Partner at Agile Partners), Mirko Holzer (Founder and CEO of Brandmaker), Sven Häwel (Serial Entrepreneur and Founder of multiple e-commerce platforms), and my humble self. You would be amazed at how much insight one gains by sitting down and discussing business ideas with experienced entrepreneurs and VCs.
I hope to be able to make many more such business connections and, of course, happily share with you if appropriate.