26. March 2013–
Accelerator programme Berlin Startup Academy held its first demo day on Friday, with working mothers' site Momslink and digital bike lock hardware company Clyc bagging the top prize of €5000 from Deutsche Telekom's hub:raum.
Also gaining good feedback: Voyage for Health, Smartbrand and EMbraaSe. “All teams address real pain points that I really enjoyed working with,” says Christoph Raethke, founder of BSA (pictured above). At the helm of the project, Raethke's worked in Berlin's internet sector for over 15 years before delving into mentorship.
Over five months – split into 16 sessions – budding startups built and honed their business and tech skills over lessons, workshops and one-on-one training with industry pros. The course cost €1000 with BSA having a four per cent stake in each startup.
All up, five startups presented, with two having dropped out in the program's early stages. “I had to send a few away because I couldn't see them working out,” says Raethke.
Momslink – the job portal for mothers
One of the night's crowd-pleasers, Momslink, is already attracting the interest of angel investors and governmental bodies in Germany. Currently in beta mode and available in German-speaking countries for now, Momslink is a job portal to help mothers discover work opportunities.
Companies can also tap into Momslink's potential pool of what's believed to be seven million mums across the German-speaking market who can't return to work for a number of reasons. Ebay is the site's first test pilot. The co-founders are also expected to meet German Family Minister Kristina Schröder.
“If women manage to create tech tools that makes it easier for them to succeed in the job market, they (the government) don't need to regulate everything if the market can regulate itself,” says Raethke. “If, by this job portal, this problem can be tackled by women for women, you don't need more legislation.”
What's next for BSA?
“The biggest challenge is to find good ideas with good people who are addressing real pain points,” says Raethke.
“Ideally I want to see BSA as a meta-accelerator, since we're an independent organisation, we're not backed by big investors – so we can really invite anyone to participate because there's no politcs involved,” he adds.
The next BSA semester will run for four months and is expected to start mid-June.