Announcing StartupYard FastLane Prague: September 2nd at Node5

As we announced recently, StartupYard is hosting a series of Fastlane events, giving startups in 7 European cities the opportunity to pitch directly to StartupYard, and advance to our final rounds of selection for StartupYard 2016, kicking off in January.

StartupYard FastLane Prague: September 2nd

Our event in Prague will take place on Wednesday, September 2nd at 6pm, at our homebase, Node5.

Time: 18:00-20:00

Place: Radlicka 50/180, Prague 5

Anyone interested in learning about the StartupYard accelerator program is welcome to attend. We have guest speakers from startups who have attended in the past, and we look forward to being able to answer questions about StartupYard, our partners, and our program.

How to Pitch StartupYard

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If you’re interested in pitching your startup to StartupYard, all you have to do is fill in the short form below.

We will inform you the week of the event whether you have been selected to pitch on stage.

Preparing Your Pitch

On September 2nd, StartupYard will host open hours at Node5 from 14:00 to 16:00, which any interested startup may attend. We will also host a pitch training session for those startups that are selected to pitch at the evening event.

But we highly recommend that you start working on your pitch right now. We’ve published a number of pieces about pitching in the last year or so, and those are a good place to start.

6 Things to Remember When You’re Pitching Anyone, Anywhere

Three Pitching Disasters and How to Avoid Them

4 Tips for Targeting Your Elevator Pitch

Making Your Pitch “Real” From Day One

StartupYard’s 3rd Unconference: Remote Year, Work/Home Balance, and Blogging

Wednesday night, at Node5, StartupYard hosted our 3rd “Unconference.”

Unconferencing is an alternative take on a conference in which the participants help shape the talks and sessions offered.

An Unconference differs from a traditional conference or set of workshops, chiefly in that none of its content is planned or scheduled ahead of time. Instead, the content of workshops is decided spontaneously, by whomever is in attendance, and is interested in contributing.

 

The whole process looks a bit like this:

1. Introduce the format to attendees.

2. Attendees write down a workshop topic they would like to host or to attend on sticky notes.

3. Participants vote on the topics to be included in a series of time slots, with multiple workshops running simultaneously. The total number depends on the space and the number of attendees.

4. The moderator proposes a schedule of the events, striking a balance between topics, and not putting the most popular workshops in competition.

5. Attendees suggest changes, and the conference kicks off, with the topic owners either presenting themselves without preparation, or asking for others to present on the topic they’ve proposed- in some cases, workshops become idea-sharing and brainstorming meetings.

Remote Year

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This unconference was presented in cooperation with Remote Year, an interesting organization from the US. Remote Year collects a group of people who work independently or remotely, and offers them a once in a lifetime chance: to work in a different city, every month, for an entire year.

The object is to get to know their fellow travelers (people from around the world, not just the US), and experience life in a huge range of cities around the world, while continuing to work remotely. The organization plans and organizes all travel, accommodations, and workspaces for the workers, as well as occasional events, such as our Unconference.

The group we met, about a third of Remote Year’s 75 current members, were engaged and interesting. I’d love to hear more of their feedback about how Remote Year works for them, but they’re just at the start of their journey. They’ll soon be moving on to Slovenia, then to Croatia, Turkey, and later to Asia and South America, visiting Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Argentina, Chile and Peru.

Remote Year doesn’t seem cheap, at $24,000 for the full year (paid twice a month), however, considering that this is probably competitive with rents in many American cities, and it represents travel and accommodation expenses, it might not be as expensive as it seems.

Topics

There were a wide range of topics, including “video games as a business,” and “monetization of mobile apps: subscription vs. one-time payments.” But as I often do, I gravitated to soft skills topics, so these are the sessions I’ll talk about here.

Session 1: Understanding Neuroscience for Sales and Pitching

Cedric Maloux, StartupYard’s Managing Director, has given this presentation a few times, and it is always interesting. He based his talk on two books: Pitch Anything, by Oren Klaff, and Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert B. Cialdini.

He talks about the concept of human evolution being related to “three brains:” the “reptilian brain,” the “middle brain” and the “thinking” or intellectual brain. One brain has been built “on top” of the other through the course of human evolution.

The important insight here is that while we think of ourselves as intellectual beings who make rational decisions, we in fact base many of our actions and thoughts on more primal, less rational instincts. The reptilian brain assesses the world according to the most basic terms of survival, more crudely put: “can I eat it, can it eat me, or can I have sex with it?”

Advertisers have long known that fear, aggression, and reproduction are the most powerful drivers of human action. But that insight shouldn’t be limited to advertising. So Cedric talks about how to appeal to the “reptilian” brain in all of us: by evoking these same feelings, either with images in presentations, certain words, or ideas that appeal to our basic survival instincts.

At the same time, Cedric highlights the “power of because.” Also long known to marketers, psychologists, and salespeople, research dating back to the 1970s shows that by supplying reasons for our need to do something, or for our need for others to do something, we can influence them to go along with us at a very high rate.

The classic experimental proof involves a woman asking to cut in line at a copy machine, but there have been variations that included people asking for seats on metro cars, and other situations. Research shows that when you ask to cut in line at a copy machine, even giving a bogus reason like “I have 5 pages,” you only stand a 60% chance or so of getting what you want. However, when you state the reason more clearly, using “because,” you can reach a 94% rate of assent from subjects. If you ask: “can I cut in line because I’m in a rush?” you’re over 50% more likely to be allowed to do so.

Interestingly, the increase in acceptance also applies even if no new information is added. So, for example, if the “I have 5 pages,” is reworded to “because I have 5 pages,” the results are the same as when giving a valid reason.

These experiments also showed that the power of because extended even to unreasonable requests, although its power diminishes as the request becomes more unreasonable. While a person with 5 pages could get up to 94% acceptance, a person with 20 pages might get only 42%, but that would still be almost double the amount that they could get without a “because.”

Work/Home Balance

Cedric Maloux introduces the concept and organizes the conference.

Cedric Maloux introduces the concept and organizes the conference.

A topic of interest to me as a newly minted dad who annoys his co-workers with pictures of his kid, this was more of a discussion group. The StartupYard team, along with the Node5 team and a few members of Remote Year got together to discuss the issue of balancing life and work, or, for some, the concept of there being a difference between life and work.

This session focused on two things: the problem of balance and priorities, and the issue of extraversion vs. introversion.

We first discussed the “four burners theory,” a concept popularized the American writer David Sedaris, which poses the problem as one of priorities. A balanced life has 4 burners, as on a stove. One is for family, one for friends, another for health, and the fourth for work. It being difficult or impossible to cook on four burners simultaneously, a successful person will usually choose to remove one. For example, a person who values their work and family, must then choose to abandon either their health, or their friends.

It stands to reason that a successful career, a solid family, and a healthy lifestyle doesn’t allow someone to keep up friendships, which involve nights out, hobbies, and other time consuming activities. At the same time, a person may choose to have a great career, and time to go to the gym and eat healthy, but must then choose between spending time with their friends, or going out on dates in the hope of finding a mate.

Again, a person may choose to have a family, have friends, and be healthy, but must then spend less time focusing on a career and making money.

Moreover, the theory goes that a person who wishes to be *really* successful, must only use two burners. You can be very healthy and have a great career, you can be an amazing friend and parent, or you can have a great family and an ambitious career, but you can’t perform at the top of your game in three areas at once.

While we all shift our priorities over time, I found some truth in this framework. I have sacrificed mostly friendships as I have transitioned to my interest in my family. My wife has stayed out of the workforce to raise our son, but has been able to maintain friendships and a healthy lifestyle. As some in the discussion pointed out, these changes are cyclical, and they need not be permanent. Roles can switch, and the needs of families change over time, as kids grow up and look after themselves.

We also discussed the concept of the “outgoing extrovert.” While Petra of Node5 described herself as an extrovert because of her ability to talk to groups and be outgoing, she also described her need to be alone with her own thoughts. It was pointed out that she might not be extroverted, but rather outgoing. Cedric too, pointed out that his public speaking ability and his career working with so many people was in fact a defense that he has built up because of his introversion, and not because he is extroverted.

On the other hand, members of the discussion who really are extroverts talked about how difficult it is for them to pass up spending time with their friends, while the extroverts couldn’t easily sympathize with the dilemma that the extroverts face; they would almost always rather be on their own. For the extroverts, not being among their friends was a draining experience, rather than a relaxation.

These are the sort of layered and spontaneous discussions that a really good Unconference can generate: when’s the last time you talked about your emotional needs at a business conference?

Blogging and Writer’s Block, and “Brand Building”

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Time to become famous.

Finally, I participated in a discussion about blogging. Something I’ve come to think a lot about in the past few years.

As many of the attendees were about to spend the next year traveling the world, many were thinking of writing “travel blogs.” The problem, it seems, is that many didn’t have a sense of the value of that kind of blogging. Why do it? Who is it for? How to start?

In writing, we often talk about “writer’s block.” While many people think of this as an issue of not knowing what to write, it’s actually more complicated. “Writer’s block,” is the dreaded feeling that writers have when they are unable, or don’t know how, to start writing, even when they know what they would like to write about.

A blank page spreads out before the writer like a barren desert, and the enormity of having to fill it with good ideas is frightening. This stops many people from writing, blogging, or doing many other creative activities.

I suffer this existential fear all the time, particularly when my writing is not work related. But writers can learn tricks to overcome the problem.

My trick, which works better for me in blogging that it does in longer works, is to always keep the problem in mind when I write. Just as we work with our startups to focus on the problem they are solving for their customers, and the unique value they are providing to overcome customer pain, I approach writing this blog in the same way.

What problem can I solve for our readers, by writing about something? It can be a basic problem, such as our readers not knowing about something they should know about. Or it can be more complex, such as the piece we posted earlier this week about StartupYard’s deeply held values, and how they differ from what people might expect. The problem then would be that people see something a certain way, and the writer doesn’t. So the writer must express his or her view, and persuade or at least inform people of their opinions and views.

If you aren’t writing to address a problem, or a lack of something, then you aren’t writing for anyone. If you aren’t writing for anyone, then why are you writing? Of what value is what you write?

While members of the discussion talked about having a blog in order to “build a personal brand” (an already overhyped concept on its own), the problem remains. A brand is built around values, and you have to have values (and thus opinions), in order for your brand to have any meaning.

We are all aware of this subliminally, if not intellectually.

Think of a few famous brands, and you will be able to define their values fairly clearly. McDonald’s? Family, “Americanization,” entrepreneurialism, convenience, and comfort. You may see other positive or negative connotations in the McDonald’s brand, but you’ll recognize that the brand communicates those concepts consistently. Apple? Cutting edge design, ease of use, and high-end mass consumerism. Whether you hate or love Apple, you can recognize that these are its core values, whether they are successful or not.

In “building a brand,” a blogger, just like a corporation, has to establish what the brand is intended to convey. Otherwise, readers will be less than charitable with their own interpretations. And the best way to convey your values is to talk about them passionately- to argue for them, and to make the discussion about them, rather than about yourself, your needs, or your idea of what your “brand” is all about.

If you can do that consistently, as I hope this nearly 2500 word blog post (written in less than 2 hours) will show, writer’s block may be the least of your problems as a blogger.

#PragueHacks, the Pre-event, in Tweets and Pics

What is #Praguehacks?

Earlier this year, we announced #Praguehacks, “Sharing the City,” a weekend hackathon that is taking place this coming weekend at Node5, StartupYard’s own shared workspace. The hackathon will be based on open-city data, provided by the city of Prague, and using technologies provided by our partners, including IBM, and Microsoft.

There are a raft of partners for this event, including the French Embassy in Prague, Credo Ventures, the US Embassy in Prague, the British Embassy in Prague, The Vodafone Foundation, GisMentors, and TakePlace.

The hackathon will run from this Friday evening, up to Sunday night, and will aim to generate applications, visualizations, and useful tools based on data provided by partners, including the City of Prague and the Prague Institute of Planning and Development, (IPR Praha), to make life in the city easier, safer, more ecological, and more interesting. Teams will receive access to hundreds of thousands of Czech crowns worth of services from IBM and Microsoft as part of the hackathon.

Winning teams will be eligible for fast-track selection to the StartupYard program, or to a non-profit acceleration program run by Vodafone Foundation.

129 Applications

While we had initially hoped for at least 30 teams to apply, we were soon swamped with nearly 130 applications. Clearly, this is an idea whose time has come in Prague. In the end, space limitations meant that we could accept “only” 85 teams, nearly 3 times the number originally planned.

Lead Organizer Michaela Rybickova of Fond Otakara Motejla, on the excitement leading up to the hackathon:

There have been plenty of volunteers:

The Pre-Event

Our managing director Cedric Maloux hosted a “pre-event,” Monday at Node5, to welcome the selected teams and introduce the sponsors, data, and technology to be used during the hackathon.

Speakers included: Jiří Čtyroký, director of the Spatial Information Section for IPR,  Ondřej Profant, representative of the City of Prague and Municipal District of Prague 7, Josef Gattermayer, entrepreneur and  IT consultant at Municipal District of Prague 8, Jan Cibulka, data journalist at Samizdat, and Josef Šlerka, chief of New Media Studies at Charles University, and the head of R&D at Socialbakers.

Here is some of that event in tweets and pics:

The event was highly anticipated:

 

Michal Tošovský, open data advocacy officer for Fond Otakara Motejla, talked about problems cities can solve with open data. He shared tips for city apps based on conversations with municipal representatives. 

FixMyStreet, a service presented by Lepsi Mesto (Better City), an app that allows citizens to flag and report issues in urban infrastructure and maintenance, served as inspiration for many of the attendees on what is possible with enough data.

Some friendly competition between Microsoft and IBM was encouraged by the participants:

SocialBakers’ Josef Slerka revealed a huge source of data that will be welcome at the hackathon:

One of the centerpieces of the hackathon, city data, was presented by the Prague Institute of Planning and Development.

Not all the attendees’ data dreams were fulfilled however:

Derek Eder, lead organizer of Chicago’s “Civic Hacknights” and a co-author of ClearStreets presented his work remotely. ClearStreets tracks Chicago’s snow plows in real time- giving city residents a real sense of city services at work. 

Not everybody could be there:

But a live stream of the whole weekend will be available at the #Praguehacks website:

StartupYard Demo Day: May 28th, 2015, With Keynote Speaker Michael Jackson

The StartupYard team, and our seven 2015 startups are pleased to announce our next Demo Day, which will take place May 28th, 2015, at Nod Roxy, in the center of Prague. There, at 6:30pm local time, the seven startups will pitch to the public for the first time.

StartupYard’s Demo Day is a peerless opportunity to meet innovators, investors, thought leaders, and disruptors from the local tech scene. The event is a mix of presentations and individual networking opportunities.

We expect not only guests from Prague’s vibrant startups scene, but also representatives of large companies and sponsors, such as Mazars, Microsoft, Google, Seznam, Skype, and IBM, among others.

We are also very excited to announce that Michael Jackson of Mangrove Capital Parters, will join us as a keynote speaker. This will be Jackson and Mangrove’s first public appearance in Prague.

In addition, Aymard  De Scorbiac, Director of Mazars Lab, a StartupYard partner, will be coming from Paris to speak briefly at the event.

When: Registration at 18:00, May 28th, 2015 (Keynote begins 18:30)
Where: Nod Roxy, at Dlouhá 33, Prague 1 

A Special Keynote Address: Michael Jackson

1868608-nous-aimons-investir-a-contre-courant-des-tendancesMichael Jackson, a Mangrove Partner, is a celebrated seed investor and former Chief Operating Officer of Skype. In his over 25 year career in telecom, he has worked for, grown or started a dozen businesses.

He leads Mangrove’s investment efforts in the mobile space. “I look for big ideas. But above this, I look for the passion, drive and ambition in a founding team, and a genuine reason why they believe they can dominate their sector,” Jackson says: “I like to work closely with unusual entrepreneurs and need to feel some connection to them.”

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Mangrove Capital Partners is a venture capital firm based in Europe which is focused on investing in early stage information technology companies. It aims at being the first institutional investor and supports its best companies through successive rounds of financing.

Mangrove is best known for making early investments in Skype and Wix.com, which became the largest-ever IPO for an Israeli firm when it floated on Nasdaq in 2013.

The firm’s co-founder and CEO Mark Tluszcz was among the first investors in Europe to feature on the ‘Forbes Midas List of Top Technology Investors.

The Venue: Nod Roxy

Nod Roxy, the “experimental space” at the heart of one of Prague’s most innovative cafes, is a popular venue for many of Prague’s alternative culture offerings, including musical performances, film festivals, and other live events.

Founded in 1987, and including a club, cafe, and concert venue, it’s cool, forward thinking, and the perfect place to host StartupYard’s latest Demo Day.

You can take a live tour of the venue on the Nod Roxy Website.

SOS: StartupYard Open-Source

Last month, we announced that we would be “open-sourcing” The StartupYard Program, and inviting local Prague-based startups to attend workshops with the StartupYard team. We’re happy to announce that this program has now started.

 

SOS: StartupYard Open-Source: The Schedule

There will be 4 sessions a week, initially, and the first term will run from next week, until the end of February. Depending on the interests of both local startups and our StartupYard mentors, we may soon be able to add more sessions, including some run by members of the StartupYard Community.

The Workshops will be individual for each team, and will take place at our homebase at Node5 and will not be public.

The sessions will be free of charge. Teams need only fill out a short application, and they will then be invited to sign up for a slot in one of 4 workshops.

  • Mondays: Write the Perfect Press Release, with Lloyd Waldo

  • Tuesdays: Keys to an Effective Landing Page, with Lloyd Waldo

  • Wednesdays: Writing and Presenting A Killer Pitch, with Cedric Maloux

  • Thursday: Perfecting User and Financial Projections, with Cedric Maloux

 

Sign Up For A Private SOS Workshop

Note: We may select which teams will be invited for the workshop based on various factors. 
 

Thank you for the opportunity to consult our project with Mr. Maloux, it was very inspiring and beneficial. I appreciate his advices very much and of course we will use them.  He does a great job!” – Marie Ratajová

 
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Why Open-Source StartupYard?

 

The aim of SOS is to give a small slice of the StartupYard experience to a local team, and just as importantly, to open StartupYard’s doors to the local tech community, and increase the quality and depth of our connections with local entrepreneurs. As our director Cedric Maloux stated when we announced this program, we hope to see StartupYard grow in its important role as a vital resource for local tech entrepreneurs, as well as the investors and advisors who make entrepreneurship in the local ecosystem possible.

What benefits the local tech community, in terms of the quality of work being done, the quality of the investors interested in the region, and the innovativeness of new projects, ultimately benefits StartupYard and our investors. We have to recognize and promote this virtuous cycle with the local tech community, and that’s what we aim to do.

What you Can Expect from SOS

These sessions by no means comprise a complete list of the skills that StartupYard promotes among its accelerator teams. However, they focus on the key areas of weakness that we consistently observe among local startups and entrepreneurs. The communication workshops (on Press Releases and Landing Pages), which I will run myself, focus on the key concepts of good communication that will help a small company to avoid quite a few common mistakes. They will also lay the groundwork for a company to develop a strong communication style that can be applied to many different areas, by focusing on a few crucial communication formats that all startups have to master.

Cedric’s sessions, dealing with the topics of pitching and making financial and user projections, will focus on another crucial failure point for startups: investment. Not only will his workshops focus on practical skills for pitching, and practical issues of creating and maintaining good projections, including specific best practices, but they will also show how crafting a pitch and a financial plan will define the early success or failure of a company in the eyes of investors, and help make clear the best path forward for a growing company.

 

 

The StartupYard 2014 Open House at Node5 A Success

The StartupYard 2014 Open House was a big success. In front of a packed house of over 100 guests, startups, mentors, and investors, Chairmain of Microsoft Europe Jan Muehlfeit and StartupYard Managing Director Cedric Maloux held forth, while our panel of StartupYard mentors reviewed 8 pitches from local startups.

Wayra gave us a little love as well:

 

 

Jan Muehlfeit

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Muehlfeit, who is stepping down from his role as European Chairman at Microsoft to take a more active public role in “unlocking human potential,” spoke for about 40 minutes. Topics ranged from education, to issues of labor and creativity in the digital economy. He shared a few anecdotes about his friend and colleague Bill Gates, and about his career with Microsoft, which is ending this year.  Muehlfeit plans to work as a “mentor, coach, and trainer,” as he puts it, for entrepreneurs and technologists around the world, to unlock human potential. He will start as a senior strategic advisor for  the private equity fund Atlantic Bridge, and will lend some of his time in the coming year to advising StartupYard’s incoming teams.

Muehlfeit covered a broad range of topics during his address. We live tweeted his talk, and here are a few of our takeaways:

 

 

 The Pitch-Off

We were pleasantly surprised at the number of applications we received for the pitch-off, in which 8 entrepreneurs pitched theirs startup ideas to Muehlfeit, and our other mentors in attendance: Ondrej Bartos, of Credo Ventures, and Petr Ocasek, a StartupYard co-founder and CEO of AngelCam. Over the coming week, we will write a bit more about how the pitching went, and about the process we used to select the pitches that appeared at the pitch-off. Here is a quick overview of the pitches, along with their self-descriptions:

Factorify

Factorify is an SaaS for manufactures and small and medium-sized factories which want to be more effective and be able to plan, calculate and track everything. We want to bring inovation and flexibility to production.
 

hotcar.io

The HotCar.io application reveals the history of used car advertisements, puts the data insight into used car market and shows often car defects so the customers can negotiate the best price and minimize risks for the used car they are eager to buy.
We also provide market benchmarks, analytics and demand/offer program for used car sellers.
Moreover, we would like to do a Full Customer Service – we search, inspect and ask for a discount on a car/car type specified by a customer.
 

shards.io

Shards.io is aiming to provide a real-time BI over large amount of structured and semi-structured data. Our stack of technologies includes a distributed storage able to run on commodity hardware or cloud infrastructure and web-based UI for data analysts.
 

Portadi

Portadi helps workplace teams manage access to cloud apps with minimal effort. Portadi increases compliance and visibility into access rights to cloud apps and minimizes the security risks of distributing sensitive passwords to users.Each team member gets a custom dashboard with their team or company cloud apps or websites. Users don’t see app passwords, they simply sign in with a single click and land right in the web application.Portadi gives team managers and business owners the definitive answer to who can access which cloud app or website and provides a centralized audit trail. Portadi exposes how each apps is utilized allowing team managers to optimize paid subscriptions and better assess ROI of app purchases.
 

f8

F8 provides a two-way sync between the world of documents (meeting minutes, brainstormings, project documents, business analysis documents, theses, etc.) with the world of personal task management.It significantly reduces the time overhead keeping those two worlds in sync (e.g. distribution and tracking of meeting minutes actions, agenda preparations, etc.).Its target audience are project managers, analysts, writers, students and possibly more.
 

Datlowe

We are trying to provide a top class text processing tool which enables users to get information out of texts, search the texts better, and classify them. DATLOWE digs really deep into the language providing us with the structure of sentences. It means we understand the text well. We know what words are subjects, predicates, objects, etc. and how they depend on each another. Combining these information with smart dictionaries allows us to extract more information with higher precision than most of the competing methods.
 

SentiSquare

A StartupYard alum, SentiSquare discovers the most important topics in social media content and automatically produces summaries of the topic-related comments. It’s a “sentiment analytics” engine that will revolutionize the way global brands engage with their customers online and offline.

 

Educasoft

Education and content platform, Educasoft, maker of MyPrepApp and Hrave.cz another StartupYard Alum, took this pitching opportunity to announce that they have closed a funding round, and are focusing on the Czech market, soon to be followed by other Central European markets. 
 

StartupYard Announces Strategic Parternship with Mazars

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Finally, StartupYard is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Mazars, the global accounting and consulting group with offices in over 50 countries. Founded and headquartered in France, Mazars is the 11th largest single accounting firm in the world. Their consultants will meet individually with StartupYard startups to ensure that they are taking all the appropriate legal and accounting steps as new companies.

Maloux noted of the new partnership: “even though they don’t cover the preferred topics of novice founders, tax, accounting, and legal advice are extremely important and need to be done well. I’m very happy that the experts from Mazars will help our teams to establish solid foundations, and make the best possible financial decisions early on, setting them up for success after leaving the accelerator.”

The partnership will extend for a minimum of two years, with Mazars consultants in close communication with all StartupYard teams.

Pitch StartupYard Investors and Mentors at the Accelerator Open House

Nearly 100 people have already signed up for our Accelerator Open House, Dec. 4, which celebrates our recent move to Node5, and the opening of StartupYard as a more public resource for local and regional startups, and features exiting Chairman of Microsoft Europe, Jan Muehlfeit, who will deliver keynote remarks.

In addition, we’re happy to announce that we will hold a “pitch-off,” inviting entrepreneurs who can attend the event to pitch their ideas in front of StartupYard mentors and investors, programmers and entrepreneurs. Pitches will be 90 seconds, and will not include demos or slides. It’s just you, your charm, and a microphone, in front of a full house.

 

Applications close this Friday, November 28th (Edit: Applications are now closed).

This isn’t a contest, and there’s nothing to win, but rather an opportunity for you to pitch an idea you may be thinking about, or a startup you’ve been working on, and see whether it peaks the interest of investors, mentors, or others at the Open House. Your pitch will hopefully be the start of a conversation that may see you joining the StartupYard accelerator, or having further talks with potential partners, advisors, or investors.


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StartupYard Announces Partnership With Node5, Making the Accelerator an Open Resource for the Local Startup Community

In another week of very big news for StartupYard, we can now officially announce that we have found our new home, Prague’s open-office space Node5. The move is part of a broader partnership, wherein StartupYard will become something of a public resource for entrepreneurs in Prague and throughout the region, hosting many more events and hands-on meetings with our mentors for those who can’t necessarily join the accelerator just yet, as well as a more active resource for companies that have already attended.

StartupYard Moving to Node5 - small

 

Introducing StartupYard’s new home base: Node5

In a sense, this move is a bit of a homecoming for StartupYard. Node5 co-founder Lukas Hudecek was a co-founder of StartupYard, and the two companies were originally envisioned as a single entity. We’re very excited to return to Node5, and pursue a much more ambitious calendar of public events, to really engage with the local tech community. What’s good for entrepreneurs in the region is good for us, and the more smart, capable founders who find investors, make the right decisions, and grow, the more investment and talent will be attracted to this region. Our goal is to see this happen in a big way over the next several years.

 

Accelerator Open House, Dec. 4, 2014 Featuring Microsoft Europe Chairman Jan Muehlfeit.

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To kickoff the partnership, StartupYard Managing Director Cedric Maloux and Hudecek will host an “Accelerator Open House,” where local entrepreneurs, programmers, investors and StartupYard mentors will meet to discuss life in and after a tech accelerator. The event scheduled for Dec 4th, 2014 will feature keynote remarks from Microsoft Europe Chairman and popular StartupYard mentor Jan Muehlfeit, who himself recently announced his departure from Microsoft to focus on mentorship in the region’s tech community.

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Muehlfeit said this week: “After stepping down as European Chairman at Microsoft, following a very fruitful 21 years with the company, it’s a great pleasure to give back to the tech community in Prague and Central Europe, focusing on helping individuals, organizations and whole countries to unlock their human potential. Being a mentor at StartupYard has presented me with a great opportunity to assess the potential of young entrepreneurs in the region, and to have a positive impact on their growth, so I’m looking forward with anticipation to the next evolution in our efforts as a community, in cooperation with Node5.”

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Venture Capital and Angel investor Ondrej Bartos of Creedo Ventures, will be available to meet potential applicants.

Following the event, a panel of StartupYard mentors, including Ondrej Bartos, StartupYard board member and partner at VC firm Credo Ventures, Petr Ocasek, a StartupYard investor and co-founder/CEO of AngelCam, will field questions from potential applicants to the accelerator. Anyone at all interested in StartupYard, as a potential strategic partner, investor, mentor, or applicant company, is encouraged to attend, and get a sense of what StartupYard can offer the Prague tech community.

 

Event Details:

Accelerator Open House
December 4th, 2015, 18:30
Featuring Jan Muehlfeit, Ondrej Bartos, and Petr Ocasek
Register at Eventbrite

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Accelerator Open House, Dec 14, 2014

 

 

StartupYard At Slush 2014, Helsinki

An exciting first day at Slush 2014! Here are a few of our pictures and tweets from the day:IMG_0908 IMG_0910

This was the view from 9am, which is 8am CET. It was a bit overwhelming for that time of morning.

The conference is hosting a record 15,000 people, from all over the world. Particularly on display were startups in the fields of gaming, and wellness.

Talks are going on at 4 large stages simultaneously, and are being given by luminaries from all corners of the industry. The lighting is quite aggressive, a combination of red and green lasers, white spot lights, and fog, lending the whole occasion the atmosphere of a rock concert, with people constantly cycling between the stages, the packed venue restaurants, and the product booths scattered throughout he venue.

We can attest to the fact that the badges are huge, and easy to read.

 

I cannot confirm or deny the existence of this sauna at a startup conference.

Linda Liukas gave a brilliant talk about her evolution from a young fan of American Vice President Al Gore, into a coder and an entrepreneur.

The Slush 100 competition, originally planned as a 250,000 prize, was doubled at the last minute.

The winner was Enbritrly, with their innovative bot-detecting ad-web analysis engine.

StartupYard Demo Day 2014 in Tweets and Images

StartupYard’s 2014 Demo Day went off beautifully last night. The whole StartupYard team is tremendously proud of our startups, and extremely hopeful and optimistic for the future of all the founders in the program, and all of their projects.

This post will serve as a compendium of tweets and images that we will be collecting from the event. If you would like your tweet or image to be included here, please send us a link in the comments.

You can find a set of photos from Demo Day on our public Facebook page

-The StartupYard Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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