After this week’s SmartCamp EMEA Regional Final in Berlin, we are now two champions closer to the Global Finals in February 2013! 10 smart startups from all over Europe competed for a ticket to the final in New York, and after hours of intense mentoring and presentations CaptainDash and Poikos were named the European winners.
On Tuesday Nov. 13th the startups gave their initial pitches and spent the day in several sessions with our distinguished mentors. Even though the 10 competing startups were veterans of their country SmartCamp events where they had already experienced some mentoring, it was agreed that the pitches given on the following day showed a vast improvement thanks to mentor suggestions.
On Nov. 14, day two of the SmartCamp, the audience had the opportunity to hear from several keynote speakers including Jim Corgel, IBM General Manger of ISV & Developer Relations, and Bill Liao, tech investor and Co-Founder of CoderDojo. “Berlin is buzzing with startups,” said Corgel during his motivating remarks. And Liao, during his presentation, made the memorable analogy that “The best coders in the world are poets.”
The 10 startups then presented their final, revised, and noticeably improved pitches. While the judges deliberated after the presentations, a panel of three investors answered questions about what they look for in a startup company. The panel consisted of Jason D. Whitmire of Earlybird Venture Capital, Matthias Ummenhofer of European Investment Fund, and Sasha Galitsky of Almaz Capital Partners. They advised startups to be themselves and be honest about their weaknesses.
Finally, the judges returned with their decision and CaptainDash and Poikos were announced as winners. The judges said that CaptainDash impressed them with strong leadership and early traction, a great explanation of the problem, and their link to CIO and CMO problems as well as big data analytics and smarter commerce. Poikos impressed the judges with a clear view of the customer problem, a demonstration that the industry failed to find alternatives for this problem, a strong vision for current and future business model options and industries, and great passion, drive and emotional connection to the audience. The judges also agreed that Poikos presented the best pitch of the day.
CaptainDash and Poikos both said afterwards that they were thrilled to win this leg of the competition and have high hopes for the SmartCamp Global Finals in New York City this coming February. They feel it is key to bringing their business into the global spotlight and proving that European startups are a force to be reckoned with. Congratulations to both winners, see you in New York!