- Date: Sep 23th – Sep 25th 2011
- Place: Karlsruhe, Germany
- Participants: 47
- Mentors: 19
- Experts: 5
- Idea pitches: 18
- End presentations: 13
- Nationalities: 7
For a long time, the PionierGarage planned to host a weekend where people can concentrate their entire energy on their startup ideas. In April 2011 this student club of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology started with the organization of the Startup Live RhineValley.
With the great support of KIC InnoEnergy and the possibility to host the event at the headquarters of Vollack, the efforts of the organization team were rewarded. The date of the event was set to the 23. – 25.9.2011.
The goal of the event was to help young, fresh business ideas getting to the next level. The creative people who presented their ideas were looking for a team, improvement of their idea, design of the corresponding business model or money to implement them. Therefore the PionierGarage provided the general framework. Eight students organized transport, accommodation, food & beverages for participants, mentors and experts.
On Friday, 23th September, 47 participants gathered in the late afternoon at Vollack, Germany. Many arrived by train and were brought to location by the “PionierGarage”-Shuttles. Immediately, ideas were shared with each other and first discussions came up while eating cake and drinking coffee. Shortly after 17 o’ clock the pitches started and 17 ideas were presented. Before, the pitchers were inspired by Matthias Greve (CEO VideoWeb, founder WEB:DE).
Afterwards, the PionierGarage established an “idea-marketplace”, where the needs of ideas were matched with the skills of the participants that didn’t present an idea. In doing so, teams were formed that went to assigned group working places to start working. The goals for the weekend were defined by each team individually. For example, some worked on their marketing & sales concepts; others implemented/constructed a prototype or discussed customer segments.
The main task for the following day was: getting things done! Since most teams worked late on Friday (doors closed @ 02:00), breakfast was provided from 8 till 10 in the morning.
Around lunch time, the mentors arrived. (Serial) Entrepreneurs, startup consultants, investors, business angels and domain experts came to support the venture teams with their experience. The mentors were introduced and then went to the group working spaces of the teams, listened to their plans, gave feedback, pointed out critical issues and suggested possible solutions. Usually, after one hour the mentors switched to the next team in order to get in touch with many different ideas. The feedback gave the participants essential insights on their business ideas. Afterwards most mentors stayed longer then planned to discuss further business ideas in a loose atmosphere.
After the mentors were gone, the venture teams refreshed themselves with excellent food & beverages and then tried to work the feedback of the mentors into their business ideas. Again, although the long night of the day before, many teams stayed till late night and worked on their ideas.
The teams used the last day to prepare for the final presentations. Based on these presentations the jury consisting of Dr. Frank Diedrich (KIC InnoEnergy), Clemens Engler (IBM), Thorsten von Killisch-Horn (Vollack), Tim Lagerpusch (CIE) and Benjamin Rohé (makeastartup) awarded prizes in different categories. The winners were:
- Best startup (STARTeurope): musicclip.tv
personalized music video channel
- Best new venture (CIE): feelthetouch
tangible touch input
- Special prize “energy” (KIC InnoEnergy): project97
low-cost sea water desalination
- Special prize “b2b” (IBM): simQ
cloud-based quality management
All of the prizes include a specialized coaching and possibilities for further events that support the teams and the development of their ideas. For example the special prize “energy” (sponsored by KIC InnoEnergy) included team building as well as a professional idea assessment with the experts of KIC InnoEnergy.
Afterwards, the PionierGarage had organized a little party to celebrate the great improvements and developments of the ideas over the weekend. During the party, the people exchanged cards and made further plans for cooperation, mentoring or financing.
We think the event was a big success and therefore plan to host another event like this in the near future (spring 2012). The Startup Live RhineValley achieved all of its goals: inspiring people to start a business, connecting entrepreneurs, pushing existing startups to the next level and having fun with amazing, enthusiastic people.
In the future, events like this one will be more topic-related and include additional side events. Also, we’re planning to involve more participants and an optimized structure of the participants. This means a better balance between business, tech and design people as well as a better balance between pitchers with ideas and participants that like to work with them on their ideas.