How BESPACED took part in Northern Germany’s biggest business competition.
The news that we are in the final of Jacobs University startup competition had sent us in a state of excitement and anxiety at once. We had to pack our things fast and move to the glorious city of Bremen to compete with the most promising young startups from both sides of the Atlantic — and prove that our concept works.
At late night on March 12th we found ourselves at the Bremen station and were instanly picked up by eversmiling Emily wearing a blue Jacobs University Jacket. She took us to the campus that is located on a vast territory uptown. Eugene went to the student pub to get in touch with the organizers and value the rivals in an unofficial atmosphere, while Tatiana stayed at the dormitory.
Jacobs University is remarkable for its international, English-speaking campus culture. It is normally a home to 1200 students from around 100 countries — the community appears to be very diverse but open and friendly. The campus is divided into 4 residential colleges, each having its own atmosphere — one is more artsy, and another is famous for constant partying, but each of them values creativity and communication the most. We got a room at college C next to a charming Macedonian girl Angela who eagerly helped us in all cases. We were provided with everything from wi fi to breakfast tickets.
Simple and effective architecture and presence of all necessary assets make the University a city in a city — you don’t need to leave it for any reasons and can concentrate on work — which we did.
Next morning we gathered at the main building. All teams introduced themselves shortly (including us), next followed the masterclasses of prominent startup founders on various topics from sound design to business planning. These lectures lasted the entire day only interrupted by a social lunch break in the yard (see above photo).”Ready for takeoff” Workshop was represented by speaker Alexander Schucht. One of the most important topics in the startup world was covered by Sascha Günther from Project A Ventures: he gave an amazing presentation on “Funding”.
We were also under a huge impression from JSC Founder Christian Angern’s talk about “The Lean Startup”. A facsinating lecture on Business Model Canvas was read by Jürgen Funke from Syngenio AG. Among the lecturers (all of whom were quite mighty) we were especially impressed by a new approach to sound marketing depicted by Dr. Cornelius Ringe from WESOUND.
Basically, he spoke about the aspects of business that is often ignored — the Voice of your brand. It literally means that besides the appearance, your company must have its own sound effects, musical theme and other audio symbols expressing its identity. That’s when we got the idea of how we would present ourselves.
We figured out that we may be the only startup at the competition that has its own song — and we should perform it along with the presentation! After the last lecture, when all participants started preparing for tomorrow’s contest, Eugene and Tatiana started rehearsing. Eugene was learning his rap verses, while Tatiana practiced the chorus vocals. We still had to take care of the presentation itself — everyone should be impressed by our self-confidence just as with our business idea.
Next morning everyone gathered at the conference hall. Eugene went there earlier than the rest to do the soundcheck. BESPACED were the 6th in the order, which meant that we had to wait for the most of the participants to perform. The atmosphere was a bit nervous, but insprining — beautiful ideas and impressive performances made the rivalry pretty tough. Finally Tatiana came onstage and gave the audience a full and deep depiction of what and how BESPACED is doing. Next appeared Eugene and together they made everyone smile with their track performed in duo. After several questions about the specifics of our startup, the two went back to their seats with feeling they did all they could.
The winners were announced only 2 hours later. First Prize went to the Georgian startup InGlove (which is a virtual reality glove). To our delight, we were called out 2nd. Receiving the award was
The third place prize went to Team Waveroll! Nick Lee and Siddharth Shukla from Jacobs University representing Waveroll, a company whose aim is to bring free wifi to trains. We made friends with the guys right after the award ceremony — thought Eugene already knew Siddharth from the first night at the local student pub – and he already seemed brilliant there. The winner of the co-working space at Hub:raum in Berlin was Team Datamine whose business idea helps researchers in their everyday work with data sets.
Later that night everyone – both competitors and regular students – celebrated the end of the annual competition at the “White party” that we briefly attended.
Holding the giant check and hearing the applause was the most amazing experience that an entrepreneur may ever feel. We defended the honour of Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf that we represented. Also, the award gives you confidence that you are on the right road. And the entire experience, especially lectures and coaching coined our understanding of how startups should develop.