Brussels equalled bed. What a luxury. After crashing on the floor of SpacePortX the night before, an actual bed was a nice surprise and even a few hours sleep recharged the batteries.
On the road by 6:30 am, we were heading for Rockstart workspace in Amsterdam for a combination of quickfire pitch battles with the locals (currently in a mini accelerator) and some frantic work with some solid internet (bliss!).
Rockstart did not disappoint and we were well fed and watered before heading to the Ballroom (yes the venue was fairly amazing) for a few talks, including from a member of parliament. It was nice to see someone at the forefront of policy talking openly and honestly about what they see as the speedbumps to a startup culture in the Netherlands, namely making it easy to obtain visas and how to gear a traditional (excellent) education system more towards creativity.
Some pitch training followed and it dawned on a few this was going to take significantly more work to make the pitches slicker a teflon otter, not to mention that 3 minutes can feel like a lot longer!
By this point, prototypes were taking shape, 30 second team pitch videos were being shot, lunch fueled the Buspreneurs, coffee woke them up. Generally everyone had to be dragged away to the bus – “Just one more line of code and an upload…”.
Berlin wasn’t going to wait though. A mere 9 hours later, we rocked up to the hostel in Berlin, some grabbed food (I was suffering from ‘bus lag’ I think, not in the slightest bit hungry) and hacked the bar projector to host presentations for a late night pitch.
Some late night pitching
Much more definite than the first day, we had some really impressive introductions to the Startup Bus startups:
- PageRank for people: a platform with an algorithm to correlate all of your social network contacts and make it easier to search and connect people with particular skillsets, experience, or goals.
- One Pink Elephant: Using a virtual ‘mind palace’ memory visualisation technique (built for the demo in Minecraft!) to help you learn Mandarin characters, voice and pronunciation.
- Activoice: A political issue tracker that allows communities to rally together and vote to promote important issues and manage campaigns to local politicians.
- Clothesline: A brand recommendation engine to help you find and grow your personal clothing style.
- Growth Engine: An integrated solution that customers can add to their commerce platform that incentivises users to spread special offers amongst their friends for even more discounts.
- Vemotion: A video ratings engine pulling emotional reactions from facial recognition software. Get the best funny videos from the internet and miss the boring ones!
- Letsdothis: A motivational social network helping you achieve your goals with the help of others on a similar quests, with incentives.
- SeeVee: An interactive video CV (or resumé if you’re that way inclined) to help recruiters get their job questions answered and have a better impression of a candidate than reading a traditional CV,
Impressive as the pitches were, this was just the tip of the iceberg, as teams raced off to take on board feedback and improve the pitches. I could just feel it, there were going to be many, many rewrites!