The Jacobs Startup Competition is an annual competition organized by Jacobs students in the spring. This year, the event took place on the 13th and 14th of March, and it featured an exciting list of participants from all over the world. Teams from MIT, Cambridge, WHU, Jacobs University, and many more, gathered at our university to show off their startup ideas or businesses, and after the intense two-day event – walked away with experience, connections and other additional prizes.
The two days featured a diverse list of workshops, presentations and pitches. Workshops featured guests such as Alexander Schucht from Ernst & Young, Christian Knott from Capnamic, as well as Christine and Kenneth Breeze from the Founder Institute Bremen, and presentations were given by Hieu Nguyen from Holidog, Axel Springer Plug and Play, Christian Renner from Hub:raum, Sebastic Schoefer from HTGF and Marcus Rohde from Hannover Impuls. These workshops and presentations gave the participants many insights into drafting a business plan, crowd-funding, pitching to Venture Capitalists, startup correspondence with partners and sponsors, as well as how to approach Accelerators.
On Friday, the “input day,” the event was closed off to the general public, and was particularly intended to create as much value for the participants as possible. Participants attended events and received intensive coaching from their individually assigned mentors; of course, there was also fun and great food involved throughout the day. A BBQ at Nordmetall was a perfect fit for the amazing weather that Bremen had on Friday.
On Saturday, the “output day,” the participants had to show off all that they had learned and gained from their mentors through a 10-minute finalist presentation. These finalist presentations were open to the general public, and by 13:00, the Conference Hall was packed with excited members of the Jacobs community. Each group was given their 10 minutes to shine, and then they had to answer questions from the jury and audience for 5 additional minutes. Between the finalist presentations, we also designed networking coffee breaks with a ‘start-up’ atmosphere – we had beanbags, a Foosball table, and a huge lounging area, as well as little activities of paint, post-it questions and a photobooth set up in the IRC hall.
After ten finalist presentations from a diverse list of ideas, the jury deliberated and came up with three winners to JSC 2015. Our JSC 2015 1st Place winner was Kingii! Michael and Sascha represented Kingii, and both of them currently study at WHU – the Otto Beisheim School of Management. They were able to take home the first prize of 3000€, the opportunity to attend the Innovation Leaders Conference 2015 and a wildcard for the Heureka Conference’s one-on-one pitch in Berlin! The second place went to Kaskodrive, a team from the Vienna University of Economics and Business – and finally – our third place went to Safi Organics, a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A huge congratulations from all of us here at JSC and at Jacobs University to these outstanding teams and a great competition.
As an organizer, I can only marvel at how successful and smooth this process was – the team was dedicated and systematic, and made sure that no problems would arise at any point during the event. Organizing the Jacobs Startup Competition is one of the most exciting parts of my time at Jacobs University, and I can only wait eagerly for JSC 2016.