17. October 2012–
The inaugural HY Berlin Startup Competition created a rather jovial mood amongst the audience, consisting of the who's-who of Germany's media scene and a host of entrepreneurs. Mysterious startup Toywheel was the lucky winner of €10,000 and a trip to Silicon Valley, with runners up Capsule.fm and Agorique getting a mention and a trip to the Valley, too.
As part of the Axel-Springer Media Entrepreneurs Day and in association with hub:raum and Berlin42, the competition attracted over 130 applications, whittled down to 12 startups that pitched to a judging panel last night. A bit like an X-Factor for entrepreneurship, each team had five minutes to sell their startups before receiving commentary and critique from a judging panel made up of Joerg Rheinboldt, of eBay Germany fame and founder of M10 GmbH, Axel-Springer CTO Ulrich Schmitz and Podio co-founder Thomas Madsen-Mygdal.
Despite perplexing a lot of people in the audience with a rather cagey pitch, the founders of Toywheel must have struck a chord with the judges, one saying "I don't know exactly what your product is, but I'm sold on it". Officially, the startup fosters children's development by providing "age-based, context oriented and personified ideas, missions and toys and creating a global community of parents supporting each other." Stay tuned, I'm sure we'll hear more from this startup post-competition.
Runners up Agorique and Capsule.fm target a completely different market. Agorique is a business to business platform that connects emerging designers with specialty retailers, while Capsule.fm offers personalised radio content. Other stand outs from the competition included Credport - which builds trust for peer-to-peer marketplaces by aggregating data and focusing on online connections, and Eisenhower - a time management app based on the Eisenhower matrix time management principle (the latter has already found a fan in Joerg Rheinholdt...)
More established Berlin-based startups were also welcomed on stage to make announcements, forcing the crowd to pause in their fervent networking and vegan brownie-eating. Event finding app Vamos presented a new hidden feature, which lets you tap on any city in the world and you can see what's happening there in the next 25 hours. The app is going from strength to strength, they're now live in 65 markets and will be working with EyeEm in the near future.
Much hyped peer-to-peer sharing network WHYownit (in a video interview with VentureVillage here) also made an appearance, explaining how their website means you don't have to have to worry about owning all the clothes, cars, books or things you want, as long as your friends have them (and are willing to lend them to you).
Blinkist, VentureVillage's Startup of the Week for this week and the first startup from Deutsche Telekom incubator hub:raum, officially launched its beta version of the app at the event. Blinkist wants to spread knowledge by providing the key facts from non-fiction books which can be accessed on the go.
Judging by the quality of startups competing, the packed auditorium and the big names in attendance, the first HY Berlin Startup Competition was a resounding success and is a promising newcomer in the Berlin pitching competitions.
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