A Start Up Competition




chore fair (2) personalized
enable spare part one-stop-shop
role venture venture capital
polish relegate public relations
found incubator lose weight
para- consider perspective
access encounter keep track of
jury suppress place bets on
quasi- promising free-enterprise
pitch recognize picked up on
bet remotely stay in touch






Forty young people are here in eleven teams with eleven ideas.

Participant One: “This is a solution for roommates that helps them organize their chores. Fairly.

Participant Two: “We offer a truly personalized smart newspaper.

Participant Three: “We’re doing a 3-D printing one-stop-shop service that is enabling people to repair their objects through 3-D printing their spare part close to their place.”

And the man with the cash for them is Christopher Seabolt, a senior investment manager with T-Venture, Deutsche Telekom’s venture capital company.

Christopher Seabolt, T-Venture Senior Investment Manager: “We’re not looking for crazy ideas. We’re not looking for youth. I mean this is not a public relations exercise.

What we’re looking for is excellent business ideas.”

Hupraum is an incubator founded by Deutsche Telekom in Krakow especially for Eastern Europe.

Now eleven business starter teams are here for training. They come from Poland, Hungary and Romania.

Professionals help them polish their business ideas.

The investment manager advises his start-up from Croatia that’s developing an app for losing weight.

He believes electronics will be playing an ever greater role in the health sector — a promising field for investment.

Christopher Seabolt, T-Venture Senior Investment Manager: “Also from the perspective from the competition, which telecommunications company are seeing from . . . shall we say quasi or para- communications like Google, Microsoft, and others.

The danger is that if we don’t look to these kinds of ideas and seek these kind of services, then we are going to be ultimately relegated to more or less earning rent on the network.”

Thirteen start-ups are already at work at Hupraum. One of the best ideas from previous years is a way to keep track of pets.

Deutsche Telekom has already put 80,000 euros into it. Plus support such as access to its own contacts.

Piotr Gawinski, Dandelion Founder: “When you have an idea, you walk up to somebody and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got this really, really cool idea: I have the idea to make dogs glow.’ And they go, ‘aw come on; that’s not really a good idea.’

But when we have a telecom saying well this person is very, very smart and he does very, very smart things.’ And then everyone goes ‘Ooooooo’!”

Krakow is attracting lots of start-ups. It’s well situated in Eastern Europe, and hosts nearly 200,000 students at various institutes of higher education.

Christopher Seabolt worked in Silicon Valley and then specialized in Eastern Europe where the culture of free enterprise was long suppressed.

But the people have lost none of their creativity.

And wages are still much lower than in Western Europe.

Christopher Seabolt: “One of the interesting things is that they recognize that they have things to learn — and sometimes you encounter a little more resistance in the West.

But here they’re open to new ideas and they’re open to experience and they are open to things which perhaps they haven’t considered, but also ways of building businesses that they recognize they have a weakness in.”

At Hupraum, the teams make their pitches — meaning they present their ideas.

Seabolt and the jury give each start-up five minutes . . .

It’s not easy for the jury to choose from the eleven ideas.

Some jurors place greater value on the presentation.

Seabolt looks more closely at the business model, and asks, “Will it really make money?”

And the 5,000 euros prize money goes to the team from Romania, and their idea for a way to connect analog devices to the internet and remotely control them.

Christopher: “At the end of the day, the way I see the market is the internet of things: machine to machine. And that’s what I really picked up on and as did the rest of the jurors.”

He hopes to stay in touch with three of the start-ups.

As a venture capitalist, he places bets on what the future will bring.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


Poland. This was a volleyball competition. True or false? What were some ideas or proposals?

Austria. Who is Christopher Seabolt? Is he a rich, independent investor?

Czech Republic. He is looking for radical, breakthrough ideas by young people. Is this right or wrong? What are they looking for?

Belarus. Does Krakow have advantages? Do the contestants only come from Poland?

Hungary. A Silicon Valley-based company is sponsoring the start-up contest. Is this right or wrong? Why are they sponsoring start-ups?

Slovakia.Christopher sees more potential and ideas in Western Europe. Is this correct or incorrect? Why does he see more opportunities there?

Romania. What is the format of competition? How is the “game played”? Does Christopher decide the winner by himself?

Ukraine. Who won the competition? What was their business model?
Serbia. Do you have any ideas for a tech start-up? Do your friends have lots of ideas?

Does your company sponsor developers and start-ups? What are the advantages?

Croatia. More companies and the government should sponsor people with ideas. What do you think?

Bosnia. How can individuals with good ideas launch their products or services?

Bulgaria. What will happen in the future?


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