As Thomas Edison, Co-founder of General electrics, rightly said “the value of an idea lies in the using of it”, the live stream trans border Indo-German Entrepreneurship pitch competition kick-started on the 7th of July, 2018, both in Heidelberg and Mumbai, simultaneously. The event was jointly organized by Heidelberg Indian Students Association (a non-profit organization), Bluebilities (a career advisory firm) and Z Nation Labs (a startup accelerator). The objective of the event was to provide a platform to aspiring entreprenaurs in-order to communicate start-up ideas in a social and technological context across borders.
The theme for this startup pitch competition was “Innovations with a social and global impact”.
The event was heightened with the presence of the Chief guest, Mr. Sugandh Rajaram, the Consulate General of India in Munich and as he majorly pointed out the initiatives that the government has taken in-order to encourage and push forward the startup scene in India and he believes that Indian startup scene is one of the most mature ones in the world. He also highlighted that the startups are now arising from areas such as health, education and environment apart from the traditional IT or Digital sector. He ended by saying that events such as the pitch competition help in exploiting the synergy or potential of the startup community between the two countries by focusing on the most important areas that are required in the current scenario.
Dr. Gunjan Bharadwaj, CEO of Innoplexus AG, then went on to share his experiences of his stay in Germany as he tried to explain the concept of normalizing the context in the culture or setting you are in, every domain has its own language and its important to get hold onto it so as to understand the context and finally talk about how relevance is always relative whether its people or process oriented in different cultures. As he goes on to talk about Innoplexus and it’s working as an universal crawler in life sciences, he highlights that purpose is the most important driver and should always be kept to the core.
The next speaker of the event was Mr. Matteo Consonni, Business creation manager at German EIT health GmbH. In his talk, Matteo introduced EIT health innovators and its network all around Europe with their partner’s spaning key areas of healthcare, such as pharma, medtech, payers, research institutions, healthcare providers, and universities. He went on to explain on the working of EIT health in performing incubating and accelerator functions of the budding startups, by introducing to the various programmes that are available such as the Venture lab, Headstart funding programmes, validation through living labs and test beds and finally mentoring and connecting startups to potential investors.
Next, a charismatic personality, Dr. Nana Bit-Avragim tells us that time is one of the most expensive things and how technology is now currently in the process in making use of it judiciously. She than questions what is the future: Disrupt or transform? With this she comes up with the collaborative efforts of ants to build up a farm for the future and believes that this could be a model system for the future health care. She then talks about the necessity of transforming the volume of information into the value of knowledge, as seen even in the corporate world with tech companies which were disruptors before, are now stepping into healthcare in order to address the key issues of the healthcare sector. She then shares her vision of creating a well multilayered, connected and undisrupted ecosystem, which could be highly sustainable and produce high quality and positive outcomes and finally she introduces XPOMET, the Nextgen Health Care MEDICINALE that is happening on October 10-12, 2019 at Berlin ARENA. This being a convention which celebrates every aspect of medicine be it the past or the future.
Rudradeb Mitra, a Machine-learning entrepreneur then talks about the significance of Machine learning in day-to-day lives in order to make things simple and the world a better place. He shares two examples; one being the energy sector in India and the other involves the banking sector in Vietnam. He talks about how machine learning is based on patterns in everything and how these can be studied and used in improving such conditions all over the world. He further points out the challenges that artificial intelligence now faces and how the community has to come together in order to overcome them. He finally brings out his focus on community driven development and introduces us to his book “A journey to become an AI monk – Transform the way you think about Artificial Intelligence ”.
Finally, I come to one of the most interesting parts of the event, the startup pitch competition itself. The jury for the pitch competition included the highly esteemed Dr. Prateek Mahalwar, Dr. Czuee Morey and Nitin Pande.
The first pitch was by Maren Schneider, where she presented her idea of providing “Mobile-Water Disinfection services” in-order to provide clean and safe water in India based on an innovation German technology. The next pitch was the one of its kind “Crowdpouch”, a crowdfunding service that helps in raising funds for the development of client startups, an idea presented by Vittal Ramakrishna. Next, a pitch titled “Artbook”, presented by Priyanka Wankar tries to bring artists and an effective audience in different parts of the world by giving them a virtual platform to communicate/showcase their art. Fourth, was an idea presented by Ketaki Tappu called “nexTrip”, a MaaS app which provides seamless mobility to its users by providing a platform where people can explore different options to reach their destination by different modes and moods. Next, Shivali Sugandh presents her idea on Interactive Indo-German ICT platform for promoting learning, service exchange & research for waste management & recycling in urban cities. Pankaj Mishra than presented his idea on a new Mobile Application based “Student Empowerment Program.“ Next, Niklas Gemp presented his renewable idea of “Nexol-Biolers” – a new innovative way of solar water heating which produces clean green energy without any CO2 emission and with unbeatable low energy cost. The Last pitch of the event was “Rootify” presented by Ehsan Parsa, a language-learning platform which helps in connecting cultures through their all in one business model which includes gamification, socialization and spaced repetition.
Though all these ideas were unique and innovative, but there were two ideas which outbeat the others, the first prize of 1000 euros sponsored by the Gründer Institute and Bluebilities went to Ehsan Parsa of Rootify and the second place which was a membership of TiE Deutschland worthy of 500 euros went to Niklas Gemp for his unique idea of solar water heating.
The final talk of the event was by the president of TiE Deutschland, Mr. Suhas Patel who introduced the audience to the platform that TiE Deutschland provides in bringing the entrepreneurs abroad together with the Indian legacy in order to build fruitful cooperation and helping each other with bundling skills and funding great new ideas. He spoke about the network that the TiE Deutschland is connected from the Silicon Valley through Germany and back to India. He also pointed out the various initiatives such as TiEphoon, which is a platform, which brings people looking for jobs and recruiting startups together, another one being Industry 4.0 – a startup based on building a solution on automotive predictive analysis and computational additive intelligence.
Finally, the last part of the event was a panel discussion with five panelists, which included Dr. Czuee Morey, Dr. Markus Wiencke, Nitin Pande, Dr. Prateek Mahalwar and Suhas Patel. The discussion started with each panelist sharing his experiences on the two turfs, India and Germany, and then about their involvement in the Indo-German sector. Each one shared their opinions on the synergy and potential of the startup ecosystem, which could be translated across the borders. They also shared their tips for coming startups on the things that should be kept in mind before entering the European or the Indian market based on their experiences.
Overall I would say that the trans-border exchange of information was a unique idea and surely a great one in encouraging the aspiring startups in widening their horizon and providing them a global platform and an insight into the opportunities that are available on the other side of the world on a business perspective. It was huge deal to pull off the live streaming across borders, but was done marvelously though some more technical expertise is to be improved in the future events. The quality of the pitches selected was really apt and included a range from art to language to clean water and what not. The speakers chosen fit so well to the theme and the knowledge that was shared by them will surely hold great significance in the present and the future.