On Oct 3rd, the six finalists at the Istanbul SmartCamp Kickstart event went head-to-head and presented their solutions to over 90 investors, mentors, and experts in the entrepreneurial space. The winner of the event was Exa-Tech, a startup whose mission is to redefine sports analytics through innovative software. In addition, companies Compello and Minder were in the top three finalists, and MRME was given the “People’s Choice” award after winning an online vote. The day had an exciting program of expert speakers and presentations; here were some of the highlights.
Cengiz Ultav, Chairman of TTGB’s Board of Directors and IBM SmartCamp Turkey 2012 Project Partner, gave one of the first presentations of the day, saying,
“The world is not just becoming more interconnected, interdependent and interlocking. At the same time it is becoming more and more complex and uncertain. Companies need to be more instrumented and they should consider being flexible and engaging in sustainable businesses that are useful for the planet. I believe that initiatives such as IBM Smartcamp will support this positive environment, and in the future skilled entrepreneurs will be the ones managing this complexity.”
Following Ultav, Reha Denemec, Grand National Assembly of Turkey member, reminded the audience that IBM’s Smarter Planet vision was first announced in Istanbul in 2008 and highlighted the importance of this announcement in making Istanbul into a regional hub. Denemec touched upon the consistently rising status and geopolitical position of Turkey and said:
“For SME’s and dynamic companies to become globally known, programs like SmartCamp offer superior advantages. IBM has been carrying out a global social project for the last 4 years worldwide and for the last 2 years in Turkey. Ensuring that our small and medium sized enterprises are introduced to global platform is only possible with this kind of collaboration. Therefore, I would like to extend my special thanks to IBM and others who put this project into practice.”
After the opening speeches, Jale Akyel, IBM IDR Turkey Leader, gave information on the previous SmartCamp winners and their progress. She also said how difficult it had been to choose the finalists for this Istanbul event, because all of the applicants came to them with successful projects. Among 74 applicants, 35 companies were selected for the semi-finals and 6 were chosen to compete at the event. You can read more about each of these 6 companies in our previous blog.
Later in the day, after the 6 finalists gave their final pitches, Kenneth P. Morse, CEO of Entrepreneurship Ventures, one of world’s leading entrepreneurship companies, gave the keynote address. Morse talked about some global success stories and defined key characteristics an entrepreneur should have, with this advice for the entrepreneurs:
“Some of world’s top companies were founded in times of recession because in such times people only purchase what they really need. Therefore, entrepreneurs of those times always needed to keep that in mind and they worked accordingly.”
At the end of the day, Exa-Tech was announced as the winner of SmartCamp Istanbul. An early-stage technology driven startup at Bogaziçi University Teknopark, Exa-Tech is one of the pioneers in sports analytics. The company develops hardware- and software-based systems and solutions called “Sentio.” The business started with a focus on football (soccer), analyzing the field via optical sensors to track each player, referee, and the ball, combining location information with supporting data and developing sophisticated analysis on athletic performance, team structure, and other technical aspects of the game, both on individual and team levels. Exa-Tech is also planning to develop solutions for basketball and (American) football.
As the winner, Exa-Tech will benefit from IBM’s expertise and experience for 3 months in a variety of areas ranging from technical support to creating a detailed business vision. The award was represented by Mauricio Sucasas, Director of IBM Growth Markets Unit and Michel Charouk, IBM Turk General Manager. Exa-Tech also now qualifies for the Regional European SmartCamp event in Berlin in November, where they will have the opportunity to meet with worldwide entrepreneurs, investors and receive consulting services.