meetup

Introducing Our New Monthly Meetup: Tech Founders

We’re pleased to announce that StartupYard will host a monthly Meetup event, for founding team members of tech companies.

The meetup is simply titled: Tech Founders. It will give company founders a chance to connect with others who have faced, or are now facing, the same issues in business, in life, and as leaders at work.

Many of the initial members are our alumni, but the meetup is open to any tech founder, in any corner of the tech industry, big or small.

What is the Tech Founders Meetup?

We aren’t 100% sure yet what the group will bring its members. But we are sure there is no group quite like it in Prague.

This meetup is unlike meetups that focus on technical issues, or specific subject areas like Growth Hacking, or Machine Learning, or IoT. Instead, there will be no strict agenda, other than simply a place for tech founders to meet and discuss anything that comes up.

From the description on Meetup.com:

Are you a tech startup founder, or thinking about becoming one? You aren’t alone. Sometimes, other founders are the only ones who understand what drives you, the problems you’re facing, and what you’ll need to get past your latest challenge.

That’s what this Monthly Meetup is all about. Have a drink and a chat with other tech founders, exchange ideas, give advice, and get to know each other in a relaxed setting. Build relationships with your fellow founders, and don’t go it alone. Each month, we’ll choose a different local venue (depending on the weather), for a free-form meet-up open to all tech founders, and future tech founders. This meetup is organized by StartupYard Accelerator in Prague.

How to Join

  1. Are you a tech founder? If not, this isn’t the group for you.
  2. Sign up for Meetup.com. It’s fun, and it’s free.
  3. Join our Meetup 
  4. Come to our next scheduled event, and introduce yourself.

 

What to Expect

This meetup will not have a strict agenda. We will only ask those who come to quickly introduce themselves to others, and say very briefly what their company does, what their role as founder is, and what problems they are currently facing. Problems can be anything from personal to professional, to philosophical. Anything another founder might empathize with, and possibly help with, is worth bringing up.

What Not to Expect

The meetup will not be an explicit promotional platform for StartupYard, or for any of our partners, or members of the group. We might, in the future, invite non-founders as special guests for some meetups (such as important members of the business community), but there will not be keynote speakers or other formalities involved.

If we decide in the future to cooperate with event sponsors, we will be transparent about this in advance.

There will be no formal pitching, and no informational sessions or other organized activities at the events. We’ll simply meet and discuss, as individuals or in groups, whatever is on the minds of whomever attends. We’ll keep it simple.

4 Ways to Never Fail a StartupYard Interview

The 17th century French poet Boileau famously said: Ce que l’on conçoit bien s’énonce clairement, Et les mots pour le dire arrivent aisément. Or: “An idea well conceived presents itself clearly, and words to express it come readily.”

Or to put it bluntly: An idea isn’t any good unless it can be explained to someone else. If there were one piece of advice I could drill into the head of every brilliant startup founder I’ve met in my career, it would probably be just that.

But since we have some time, I’m going to go deeper. Here is:

How to Never Fail at A StartupYard Interview 

StartupYard will begin interviews for Batch 8 next week, and in the meantime, we thought we would share with them (and you), 4 key strategies that any startup can use in an interview with us, or any investor, that will help them never to fail.

Now, this advice is not going to win you an investment 100% of the time.

Investments are complicated, and they involve the needs and priorities of multiple parties. A perfect meeting might not produce an investment for a million valid reasons. But I can guarantee that if you follow this advice well, you will not fail to give your best possible impression to an investor.

Follow this advice, and you will not fail for stupid reasons.

1. Answer Questions As They are Asked

Simple and yet incredibly difficult for many people. Answer a question as it is asked, not as you would like it to be asked.

Did someone ask you a question to which you can say Yes or No? Then say Yes, or No. Then explain your answer. If you’ve never interviewed someone, I can let you in on a secret: it is very obvious when someone does not want to answer your question.

It is also very annoying.

And this produces the world’s most frustrating non-answers to simple questions. The below example is not fiction:

    • Are you making any revenue?
    • Well, we only launched about 6 months ago, and we have been focusing on making partnerships with relevant partners who are going to help us scale to our target market, and define the right sales strategy while getting early feedback from customers.
    • But are you making any revenue now?
    • Currently we are in beta and we are talking with a few clients who are ready to become paying customers once the features they need are fully implemented.
    • Are. You. Making. Any. Revenue?
    • No.
    • Thank you.

We don’t ask trick questions. What would be the point? And yet this behavior is widespread among startup founders. It is a learned behavior that must be slowly and painfully unlearned.

We want to know about what we’re asking about. So don’t try to give us the “right” answer. Just give us the real answer. What do you think is worse, us hearing that you aren’t making any revenue, or us leaving the meeting thinking you’re not even capable of answering simple questions?

And the real answer can contain the same information. Just in a slightly different format:

  • Are you making any revenue?
  • No. But we have a few customers who want to pay us as soon as we have the right features implemented. We only launched 6 months ago, and we’ve been focusing on partnerships.
  • Ok, who are these customers, and what features do they want?

Now we’re getting somewhere. And it was so easy! Now we can move to more important questions. This is a real conversation.

If the purpose of an interview is to exchange information and to assess a relationship, we would much rather spend our time doing that, than trying to decode cryptic phrases and hints.

So answer the question.

2. Win the Argument: Lose the Interview

It might be in school where people learn that an impressive, intelligent answer to a question is necessarily the longest and the most complicated one. It might also be in school where we learn that the one who speaks last has won the argument. We probably learn that from watching our teachers. But are these really good lessons?

Among the worst qualities we observe in some founders is the need to triumph, rather than to persuade. But winning an argument is different from convincing someone you may be right, or that you at least know what you’re talking about. Winning is not the goal here.

Trust your interviewers to see you as a human being, and they will like you for it. Treat them as human beings, and they will love you. But make the interview into some sort of contest for control of the subject matter and the upper ground, and they will end up wanting to get rid of you.

So communicate. Don’t argue.

What’s the best answer to a question you don’t know how to answer? Try: “I don’t know.”

You might be surprised how much investors will respect a founder who is not afraid to admit they don’t know everything. In a room full of smart people, there are always going to be things you don’t know that others do.

When answering a question, watch the interviewers, and if they seem ready to speak or unsure what you’re saying, ask them: “is this answering your question?”

So much of what we do at StartupYard involves unlearning and deconstructing the behaviors and impulses that stop founders from being great communicators and effective leaders. Most of that boils down to their motivations in any given situation. What do you want to accomplish here? Do you want to win, or do you want to be understood?

So start with this simple goal in mind: you want the investors to know you. You want to get to know them. If in the course of an interview, you can achieve this basic understanding, on a human level, then you will have succeeded.

3. Look Like You Belong Here: Because You Do

My father wore a suit and tie to work for 30 years. When I got a bit older and started working, I told him I’d never wear a suit and tie to work.

What he said sort of took me by surprise. He said: “we dress according to social customs, not just to show respect for others, but also to show self-respect. We dress to show that we feel we belong.”

I still don’t wear a suit to work, because I work with startups, and nobody does. But still, I notice when a person is poorly or inappropriately dressed for any given situation.

And that can swing both ways: a guy in an immaculate 3-piece suit who wants to talk about his startup is as out of place as the guy in the bathrobe with sleep in his eyes. Neither belong in that situation. Failure to dress like you belong can show that you don’t respect the social customs of your surroundings, but also that you don’t see yourself as belonging to them.

So think just a bit about how you look. Do you look like a startup founder? If you’re not sure, you may need to think more about this. Not too much. But a little.

4. Plan Ahead: Most Questions are Obvious

Here are three things any startup investor should ask you about:

  1. What is the problem you’re solving?
  2. What is the solution?
  3. Who are your customers?

If you can’t answer these three questions clearly, and succinctly, then perhaps you don’t know the answers well enough yet.

And when you sit down to answer these questions, try and imagine an investor hearing this for the first time. What is that person likely to ask you?

  • The problem we are solving is that X can’t Y when Z
  • Why does X want to Y when Z?
  • They just do…

Oops. Do you know why your problem is actually a problem? It might surprise you how frequently founders aren’t all that sure that the problem they’re solving is even a real problem at all.

Because “answering the question,” as in literally stating the problem, is not really answering the question. The object of the question is to get a useful answer: Why is it a problem? When is it a problem? How is it a problem? What is the result of the problem?

So be ready for a follow up. It will come.

Remember, a good investor, especially at an early stage, should be evaluating your ability to think clearly, as much as the idea you are describing to them. They can hate the idea, but be impressed with the clarity of your thinking. That happens to me all the time.

We have invested in companies whose ideas we didn’t fully agree with, because they showed they could think well and be receptive. That’s more valuable than an idea you love, and a founder who can’t answer simple questions about it. In assessing which of those two founders is likely to be a success, the one who can answer questions is the one we pick every time.

StartupYard Batch 8

StartupYard Batch 8: Visualized

Applications for StartupYard Batch 8 closed this weekend. Selection has now begun, and acceleration will kick off in September. You’ll get a full overview of the selected teams only after they’ve been with us for at least 1 month. Until then, we have some initial data to share with you. For the past few years, StartupYard has shared anonymized application data with our community, to give you a picture of what’s going on in StartupLand East of Germany.

As we did for Batch 6, and then again for Batch 7 we find it very useful now to look back on the applications, and see what’s changed this time around. Where are people applying? What are startups working on? What are the hottest buzzwords? Previous experience has shown us that StartupYard applications can be revealing about the key trends to watch for in the next 6-18 months.

Here we’ll give you a visual trip through our applications for this round, with our analysis, and comparisons with previous years.

 

StartupYard Batch 8: Who’s Applying?

StartupYard Batch 7 was the first time that StartupYard attempted two rounds of acceleration in one year. As we noted last year, the increase in frequency did not affect the number of total applications significantly.  This round, despite the open call closing just a few months after Batch 7’s Demo Day, we saw more applications even than Batch 7.

And, at least according to our initial scoring, the quality of applications has risen yet again, despite the shorter pause between programs. We expect to invite up to 30% of applicants for a first-round of interviews with our selection committee – a percentage more than double that of Batch 6 and possibly more than even Batch 7, which was a great year for qualified applicants.

This year also continues the trend of better overall match between startups and our program. Up until around Batch 5-6, it was typical for StartupYard to receive about 60% “Junk” applications – applications so bad or so disconnected from our core focus, that they couldn’t be seriously considered. This year, despite growing hype among high tech startups, junk appears to be under 25%. This is something we would have thought impossible two years ago.

What Applicants Say about Themselves:

The above is a “raw” word cloud, including the 150 most commonly used words across all application questions that involve a free-form response. In this cloud, the most commonly used words have been compressed to emphasize the secondary words, so what you’re seeing is not precisely to scale.

Still, we recognize some bog standard words that are familiar in any application: platform, product, marketing, customers, content, and people.

Here is a look at the same data, but now with the most frequently occurring words to scale:

What is perhaps most interesting here is what is not here. In previous years, certain words really stood out against others. Words like Data, Marketing, Mobile, and Platform, along with wildcards that seemed to vary by year like Advertising, Education, and Management. 

This year, there is no strong contender for the buzzword of the year, except for Customers, which is frankly odd. While the focus of this cohort is Deep Tech, and while many of the startups are dealing with AI, Machine Learning, Blockchain, Big Data, and other related issues, the applications are much less buzzword heavy than in previous years.

Why this change? We noted last year, especially during the final selection round, that many of the applicants had seemed to pepper their applications with these buzzwords in order to draw attention to themselves, even if the Deep Tech aspect of what they were doing was not central. This year, despite many companies with a central focus on this kind of tech, the applications talk about more banal issues such as Customers, Software, Product, and Service. 

Where are Startups Applying From?

The above is a heat map of applications by country. Those in the palest blue represent no more than 2 applications in total from that geographic area. It should be noted that this data is imperfect, as the question being asked is “Where are the founders located right now?” And is not a question about either incorporation, or national origin. We expect, for example, that many of the Czech applicants will have team members from other countries, and that a number of applicants will be of a different national origin than represented here.

Anecdotal evidence tells us that by asking this question, rather than “Where are you (or will you) be incorporated?” we get a better picture of startups by region, as many choose to incorporate abroad for various reasons. We also do not group startups by regional market focus for the same reasons: many would be focused on English speaking markets as a default, and a breakdown of that data would be less useful.

Here is a worldmap with all countries represented:

Here is what the location question looks like in a to-scale wordcloud:

 

As you can see, Czechia is still the heavyweight, with 30% of the total pool represented. Next are some surprises, such as Ukraine (7%), and the UK and USA (Both 6%).  Slovakia, as with the past two cohorts, is nowhere to be seen at only 3%, and unlike our last round, Hungary has also faded away, at only 2%. Romania holds at a lower than expected 4%. Bulgaria and Poland are practically absent with only 1% each.

Here is a look at the applicants with Czechia removed:

Why are we surprised? Well, for several rounds, the Visegrad 4 countries had been on the rise in our applicant pool. Bulgaria and Hungary made strong showings last year, and we expected that to continue. It has not. Instead, to our surprise, we received more applicants from the USA and UK than ever before. Is there a growing appetite in this post-Trump, post-Brexit world for the old continent? It seems that this may be the case.

In Which Domains are Startups Working?

One of the key items every year is the breakdown of “domains,” or areas of tech innovation where the startup is working. This is often somewhat different from the market focus, as startups seek to apply new technologies to old problems, or bring existing technologies into new markets for the first time.

Here is a cloud of domains for this year:

(Note: Startups that designated themselves as “other” are excluded here. Typically “other” denotes a marketplace or very specialized area of development. The total for “other” is higher than any other domain, but this does not provide any useful insight).

As you can see, IoT (Internet of Things) and Machine Learning, along with VR/AR, take the top spots this year. Analytics and AI remain important, and Security/Cryptography are also well represented. Minorities in this round appear to be Robots, and Blockchain. There were 4 applicants in Blockchain technology this year, compared with 20 in IoT, and 15 in Machine Learning.

What Applicants are Working On

Also interesting is a breakdown of what markets startups are working in, according to them.  A startups primary market, in our experience, is less important than the way in which they mix the market and tech domain. For example, AI or Gambling are two relatively fuzzy terms, but put them together, and you get a pretty good picture of what a startup is working on.

Here finally we do see some clear leaders in terms of markets. Whereas the previous look at buzzwords was about what startups talk about generally, this is about how they describe themselves specifically. As you can see, Software is strong as ever, while Marketing and Entertainment, along with Analytics and Development rounded out the top 5.

While Marketing was the leader last year, followed by Data, this year Data is on par with other secondary terms. Again, we see a trend towards more general terms, even as startups become more focused on Deep Tech solutions. Is this because the buzzwords have become less of a selling point, and more of a central focus, such that they don’t need to be mentioned so often?

Last year, upon examining the Batch 7 data, I remarked upon the same phenomenon:

This chart looks very similar to previous years, however it is broader and less specific. Few terms, other than the obvious ones like Business, Platform, Data, Manage, and App, are given special emphasis. This is somewhat different from last year [Batch 6], in which terms like Marketplace, People, and Mobile were big standouts along with the most common tech terms like Platform and Data.

Is the way startups are describing themselves changing? Is there less emphasis now on mobile, or has it simply become an assumption that all products have mobile implications? Mobile may be taking its place alongside other words that are now seen as redundant- it may be shifting from an emphasis, to a more broad category that is easily understood, and thus little mentioned.

This year those words seem to be strongly predictive: there has been no reversion to a set of narrow buzzwords, but rather a broadening of terms used by startups to describe themselves. As the hype cycle ebbs and flows, we may now be entering a new maturity stage for startup founders as well – in which there is an increasing emphasis on basic business problems, rather than on buzzy tech bells and whistles.

Ouibring, StartupYard

SY Batch 7 Alum Ouibring Gains Investment – With a Twist

Good news often comes all at once. Yesterday we announced that Neuron Soundware had raised €600,000, and StartupYard has raised €1 million in a record breaking investment round.  Today we’re able to announce that Ouibring, a StartupYard company (Batch 7) that helps travelers and shoppers to bring joy into each other’s lives by bringing rare items home with them from abroad, has also raised seed investment.

StartupYard, Ouibring

OuiBring Founder and CEO Joel Gordon, signing a deal with Busyman.cz

The Details

The seed investment comes from the Czech incubator Busyman.cz.

Since joining StartupYard in late 2016, Ouibring has quickly built a following of more than 60,000 Facebook fans. Filip Major, the founder of Busyman commented: “Ouibring has the potential to change the global consumer goods logistic system as UBER is changing the way people move”.

The investment will power global expansion, as Ouibring connects more of the 30 million flights carrying almost 1 billion travelers each year with shoppers all around the world.

Ouibring connects shoppers who need help sourcing hard to find products, and travelers with spare luggage capacity to create a win-win situation. On Ouibring’s platform it’s possible to order hard-to-find goods from your home country, or discover new items that travelers can then bring with them when they visit a city near you.

Ouibring, Startupyard

The Twist

Busyman.cz has acquired a minority stake in Ouibring using a digital commodity, “Crown,” which is a “non-pre-mined” digital currency.

Crown has a market cap of more than $13m USD, processes hundreds of transactions per day on its blockchain and provides powerful security features. As part of this deal, Ouibring will move its client-to-client transaction settlement onto the Crown blockchain, making every transaction easily trackable, efficient and transparent. Ouibring also aims to emit its own token of exchange on the Crown blockchain.

“Our customers care about security and compliance. Using the Crown blockchain to create unique new features will help make Ouibring even more reliable and easy to use for our customers” says Joel Gordon, CEO and founder of Ouibring.

About Ouibring:

In our interview with him earlier this year, Joel told us the story behind Ouibring as a new online shopping experience:

 

” The idea for Ouibring came from experiences gained living and working abroad for the last 15 years. The fun and excitement when a special package delivered by a friend arrives is the inspiration for Ouibring’s tagline – ‘Bring a little happiness’.

As any expatriate knows, living abroad can give you a special appreciation for things that those at home just take for granted. You look forward to that time when a friend will bring a special something you’ve requested from your home. That’s a magical feeling, as if you’re the only person in the world that has what you have. We wanted to capture that feeling, and make it something anyone could enjoy. A special moment of joy only for them; an experience no one else is having.

At the same time, we can give others the chance to make a bit of money, and reduce waste by sharing their spare luggage capacity.

One story I really like is how even a small, generic item that is plentiful in one location can provide a whole lot of pleasure and luxury when it appears in an unexpected context. When a Ouibringer arrived with three massive bags of Monster Munch Pickled Onion and delivered them to a travel blogger living in Bangkok. They really made her day.” 

Joel Gordon
Joel GordonCEO, Ouibring

 

What’s Next for OuiBring

CEO Joel Gordon moonlights as a user of his own product: here he delivers some treats to customers in Thailand.

Ouibring has already attracted hundreds of shoppers and travelers from around the world. The company is continuing to explore alternative approaches to shopping and fulfillment for adventurous people everywhere.

So, to celebrate this big step for the young company, why not jump over and order something for yourself, or sign up to bring a little happiness into someone else’s life?

You can now apply for StartupYard Batch #8.

  • Robots
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • VR/AR
  • IoT
  • Cryptography
  • Blockchain
Applications Open: Now
Applications Close: June 30th, 2017
Program starts: September 4th, 2017
Program ends: December 1st, 2017

4 Years and 29 Startups Later: Here’s Why StartupYard Works

This week our CEO Cedric Maloux and I sat down for a conversation about the struggles and the excitement of recruiting and working with amazing startups together for the past 4 years.

StartupYard this week announced our largest fundraise so far, of about €1 million for up to 20 new startups in 2017-2018. How did we get here? What have we learned? Here are the most interesting exchanges that came out of our discussion:

Hi Cedric, every week during the StartupYard program management meetings, you ask founders one question: “What are you struggling with right now?” I think it’s fair to start with the same question here:

Sleep! [Laughs].

I have two sources of stress when it comes to every StartupYard round, and this is now going to be my 5th time going through it. The biggest stress is Demo Day. Like a parent or a teacher watching their kids take the next big step in life, our whole team works very hard to make sure our founders and startups look great, professional, in control, and ready. But when they go out on that stage, our hands are off the wheel, and they are on their own. That’s a big scary moment for me, and for the founders. I don’t want them to feel that they’ve failed themselves.

The other stress is right now. We are looking for startups, talking to startups, trying to get the right startup founders to apply for our next round at StartupYard. We will invest in up to 20 companies in the next 12 months. I am always slightly panicked at the idea that we’ll miss one, or that one won’t find us, and will miss an opportunity that can really help them to succeed in business, and hopefully in life. I get real joy from making a difference in people’s lives, so I have that fear that I won’t do all I can.

What specifically are you afraid will happen, or not happen?

We can make the wrong choices. We have in the past – though not often, thankfully. StartupYard takes a big risk in trusting people we barely know, to be strong and committed and honest and open enough to go through a really demanding experience. It is very humbling. And I know we aren’t always right about people. We invest in founders, but you don’t really know someone until you spend every day, all day, with that person. Sometimes we’re not sure, and they turn out to be just amazing. Other times we are sure, and it turns out we were off.

So I’m stressed right now about those decisions, and knowing that later is too late.

So what helps you sleep at night, knowing that you’ll never be able to perfectly predict who will apply, and how they’ll perform?

Luckily we surround ourselves with really great advisors and investors. We have a great selection committee, who really get what we’re trying to do. They serve as a check against our biases and assumptions. We have been very lucky, but we also work very hard to remain humble, knowing we will make some mistakes.

In some way, every investment decision we make at StartupYard is a bit crazy from a normal perspective. We invest our time and money into people we have met maybe twice or three times. It takes a lot of faith. Among investors, accelerators like StartupYard are the ones with the least actionable data, KPIs or traction to judge in a startup. We have to believe our hearts and our noses. We have to trust in our experience and instincts more than other investors, who can point to solid numbers to tell the story. We go on much less.

Hearts and noses?

Yes. If you’re investing in a later stage, it’s all about numbers and trends. We can see trends, but we have very little in terms of numbers. So we also have to really understand people to make the right choices. I say our hearts and our noses, because our hearts are for people, but our noses are for opportunity. If we believe in someone, and we believe that there is an opportunity in what they’re doing, then that is enough for us.

Central Europe Accelerator

What makes you particularly fitted for a role like this?

I think a person can’t imagine what it takes to go from an idea to a profitable company unless they’ve done it, and experienced it themselves. I have done that multiple times in my life.

And unless you’ve experienced the opposite, which is failure, you probably think somewhere in the back of your mind that it can’t happen to you. I’ve also failed, publically. The last time one of my ventures was mentioned in Wired, it was in the context of the company going out of business.

So I know what that’s like to be notable enough to be in Wired, but still to fail. I have a deep technical background (I studied AI at University in the 1990s, when it wasn’t cool), and I’ve had a long career in sales. If a founder can’t sell; to employees, to co-founders, to investors, and customers, then he can’t make his ideas a reality.

So sales is not just about closing deals?

No. It’s about everything. Selling is essential. I’ve sold customer-facing services. I’ve sold B2B products to big corporations. I’ve sold my own company. Selling is an art. As we say, “telling isn’t selling.” You have to be able to not just talk about your ideas, but sell them.

Also, I learned a lot from running online businesses during the 2000 Internet bubble and the 2008 financial crisis. These things taught me the hard way about discipline in the fundamentals of business.

What was your hardest lesson through those experiences?

Cost understanding and control is at the heart of your company. You can only control one thing: your costs. Revenue projections, cost control: these are the things that get you through a crisis. It’s all about planning. Not your revenue, or development time, or investors, or customers. Just costs. Knowing when the money will run out. So financial hygiene is a top priority.

You’ve run companies. You’ve sold one company. So from that background, if you were starting a tech startup today, would you apply to an accelerator, even knowing everything you know?

Short answer, yes I would.

Long answer, I do have a few tech businesses on the side that I have started with other people, and with one, I’ve been encouraging the CEO to apply to an accelerator (though not StartupYard because it’s not in our area of focus). That should tell you what I think about accelerators, and not just about StartupYard.

If I was starting a business, I would go to one tomorrow, because no matter how much experience I have, I am limited by my own capacity as a human being. One thing that I’ve learned over the years, is that success doesn’t come from what you know, but from who you know. Your network is a vital ingredient for success.

A great startup has these things:  a hard problem to solve, a great solution, a clear value-proposition, a strong sales/marketing team, perfect timing, and great connections. You cannot be in control of every one of those things at any one time. You can however always work on your network. An accelerator connects you with people who help you seize opportunities and move fast when the time is right. Your connections help you discover weaknesses, and also opportunities. Knowing you need help is a strength, not a weakness.

Speaking of networks, StartupYard has quite a few corporations on its mentor list. Why do you focus so much on corporates during mentorship?

It’s a good question, and one we are asked a lot. Startups even tell us they would like to meet more people who are more like them. Usually when you meet a mentor, like at a competition or in a conference or at an incubator, or many other accelerators, they tend to be investors, or entrepreneurs.

It’s actually relatively easy to get a meeting with an investor or an entreprepreneur, which is why it’s easy to convince them to mentor startups. But, if you’re a B2B startup looking for early traction, you need to go door to door, talking to customers. And most of the time doing that, you’ll meet low level people.

What we decided early on, was to incorporate high-level corporate decision-makers, not just a lot of people, but leaders and C-level executives. The people who aren’t so much in the internal politics of their corporations, but are in a position to make things happen for startups. And we have many concrete examples of that working really well.

If the Chairman of the Board at a bank invites one of our startups to talk to his executives, that’s a meeting where people will be paying attention. It will have results. Not long ago, our mentors at Microsoft brought one of our startups to meet Satya Nadella, CEO at Microsoft, in Redmond. You won’t be able to name many early-stage companies who can get that meeting.

Yes, I was genuinely surprised when that happened too. The engagement from Microsoft was extraordinary. What do you think the corporate people get out of being startup mentors?

As it happens, those heads of industry share many of the qualities of startup founders. Ambition, drive, vision. So they love to be exposed to young founders and interact with them, not just about ideas, but about ways of working and thinking. The CEO of a global corporation told me a while ago that it’s his job to know what’s going on outside his company, because they are under constant attack from startups. You have to know your adversary.

We sometimes call corporations “dumb and slow,” but it would be a mistake to think that the people running them are either dumb or slow. Often the people at the top are thinking very far ahead, and when a startup is looking for the right stakeholder, the top is often the best place to start. Outside of our program, our founders would just never get meetings with such people. Even if they did, it would take years to get them all, and by then it wouldn’t matter.

I feel very proud of our mentor group. One mentor told me recently, that it was an honor to be included. That just made me feel very proud. We have spent years developing StartupYard as a platform, but we can’t rest on our achievements. We have to keep improving and building that network ever round, or it dies.

You said you can’t rest. What is your biggest difficulty when it comes to talking to founders about acceleration?

I would say we see two types. There is the founder who really understands the value accelerators can bring, and is eager to join. The other is the one who is more defensive; defensive of their ideas, of their priorities, of their sense of control and sometimes pride as well.

They may see joining an accelerator as a risk rather than an opportunity: that they risk wasting time. But often I think it’s just that they risk giving up control. Startup founders can be control freaks, as everyone knows, and we ask people to give up some of that control in order to grow, and that is a hard thing to ask of people who have always performed at a high level in their lives. Even the tiny amount of control we want them to give up can seem like a big, big change.

But if you’re so concerned about making the wrong choices, that you don’t act, then you risk never making decisions at all. Our biggest challenge is to show skeptics that the accelerator is called an “accelerator” for a reason, and it is not to slow them down or take up their time. That interrupting their process and refocusing them can actually save them time, and not waste it.

All our alumni will confirm this to you and in fact, they often talk about the empty period after the program. Once a founder told me he wished the program never stopped. And this was a startup which already had some revenue, but had skyrocketed with us.

You have to be a bit smart and a bit arrogant to start a business, but you need to let your intelligence prevail, and admit when you need other people. We all start as fools in life, and the only people who are doomed to remain fools are the ones who refuse to admit this, and don’t let themselves be questioned.

Some founders will tell us that all they need is cash.

That’s true. But when you ask them: “If all you need is cash, then why don’t you already have it?” They start telling you about their real problems – the reasons investors aren’t giving them money. It’s usually because they haven’t earned it yet. They don’t have enough data, they don’t have enough traction, or they don’t know how to sell to the investors.

You are absolutely right, and in an environment where cash is king, it’s sometimes difficult to explain to these people that to deserve cash you need to go through some steps.

What we find is that the act of just applying to StartupYard, and answering very specific questions about their business can help founders to realize what they don’t know. Even just forcing yourself to really answer these questions, you can begin to see that there are a lot of areas where you can grow and learn more.

So you need to bring people down a bit to build them up?

Yes. The acceleration process is challenging not just intellectually, but also emotionally for some people. But if you want to really run a global business, and meet your potential as an entrepreneur, that is the kind of challenge you will have to face, one way or the other.

We aren’t here to judge people and their ideas. The projects we look at are very early stage, and the people running them have a lot of room for mistakes and wrong roads. Our job as an accelerator and the job of our mentors is to support people who are taking these creative risks, exposing them to dangers and opportunities. We prepare them for taking good risks, and being aware of the dangers they will face.

Over the past 5 years, I have repeated certain things over and over again through every program. One of them is: “be careful, about what might happen if…”

To you, what is the biggest misconception about what StartupYard does for founders?

What I think some founders don’t expect is that the mentorship process, and the whole acceleration program, is aimed not just at their business, but at them as people. It would be waste of their time, and ours, if we spent our energy trying to make people into something they don’t want to be. So we pay very careful attention to discovering, with our founders, what it is in their hearts that they really are passionate about and want to do and to become.

So it’s not just about business for you?

There is a saying: “just business, not personal.” But I think this is very misleading. Growing a global business is all about who you are as a person. If you do something that is true to who you are, and who you want to be, that is infinitely better, for everyone involved, than if you’re just trying to make money. You can make money in a lot of ways, if that’s what you want. We want to help people to become their best selves as founders, and that means finding in them that special energy they possess that no one else does, and helping them to tap into it.

The biggest successes in business don’t think “It’s just business.” They know it’s about more than themselves or this one goal. It’s about relationships and it’s about being true to who you are.

Any last words?

Apply to StartupYard! Applications close June 30th, so I hope anyone who recognizes themselves in what we’ve talked about will consider applying now.

I can’t wait to be impressed.

You can now apply for StartupYard Batch #8.

  • Robots
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • VR/AR
  • IoT
  • Cryptography
  • Blockchain
Applications Open: Now
Applications Close: June 30th, 2017
Program starts: September 4th, 2017
Program ends: December 1st, 2017
 

StartupYard Accelerator

StartupYard Closes €1 million Funding Round; New Follow-On Fund

In a week of big fundraising news for our alumni, StartupYard has some news of our own. We can now reveal that StartupYard has closed a €1 million round that will power two cohorts of up to 20 startups, as well as a new follow-on fund, to allow StartupYard to make seed investments in our best performing startups.

Record Breaking

This is not only the largest round of funding StartupYard has ever secured, but it is also the largest such crowdfunding-based investment in Central Europe to date. We partnered with Fundlift.cz, to offer a private placement to qualified investors. Our Fundlift campaign contributed the majority of funds, and private investors pledged the rest. Fundlift, backed by Roklen as a licensed securities broker, previously assisted StartupYard in raising a smaller investment in 2016.

The fund, which was ultimately supported by nearly 100 private investors on the Fundlift platform, will be dispersed to up to 20 startups in two rounds of acceleration in 2017/2018. The amount raised will also allow StartupYard to invest further into selected companies from the current StartupYard portfolio.

The news comes as StartupYard has celebrated a number of high profile fundraises among its portfolio startups, most recently €600,000 invested in the machine learning startup Neuron Soundware by J&T Ventures, and a seed round investment in another AI startup, Rossum.ai, from Miton, on StartupYard Batch 7’s DemoDay in February this year.

“4 Years ago, StartupYard set about putting high tech Central European startups on the world map, and we are very proud of what we have accomplished in that time,” said StartupYard’s Cedric Maloux, who has served as CEO since 2013, “the growing confidence and enthusiasm among Czech investors is a testament to the hard work of our alumni and to the intelligence and forward thinking nature of the tech community in Central Europe.” Under Maloux, StartupYard has increased the pace and scope of its activities in Central Europe, recruiting startups from 16 countries, and has increasingly focused its efforts on high-tech startups, in the fields of AI, Machine Learning, AR/VR, IoT, Big Data, Cryptology and most recently Blockchain technology.

Fundlift’s Biggest Campaign to Date

“After two successful fundraising rounds with StartupYard, we are delighted by the enthusiasm of trend-setting investors on our platform. Approximately 100 investors were invited to participate in the round and many more expressed their strong interest,” remarked Radek Musil, CEO at Fundlift. “They have shown us definitively that the Czech investor community has a strong appetite for cutting-edge technologies, and faith in StartupYard’s track record of smart choices among startups,” he added.

Applications for StartupYard’s nearest acceleration round, Batch 8, are almost due, on June 30th. Now those startups that apply will have the additional opportunity of seeking follow-on funding beyond StartupYard traditional seed investment. 

Introducing the StartupYard Follow-On Fund

“It’s important that we are able to offer early-stage startups financial resources when they need them most,” Maloux explained, “we’re looking for companies working on technologies and products that are unique, and difficult to replicate, so access to capital is key for these founders to be able to develop their operations and reach the right customers as soon as possible.”

StartupYard’s next two rounds, dubbed Batch 8 and Batch 9, will take place over the course of 2017/2018, with Batch 8 applications closing June 30th, and the program set to kick off in September 2017.

You can now apply for StartupYard Batch #8.

  • Robots
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • VR/AR
  • IoT
  • Cryptography
  • Blockchain
Applications Open: Now
Applications Close: June 30th, 2017
Program starts: September 4th, 2017
Program ends: December 1st, 2017

Pavel Konecny, Neuron Soundware, StartupYard

SY Alum Neuron Soundware Closes €600K Investment from J&T Ventures

We are very pleased to announce that Neuron Soundware, or 2016 Alum, and winner of “Vodafone Idea of the Year 2016” has closed an investment from Prague-based J&T Ventures, of €600,000 to grow their team and expand their sales to capitalize on early traction with clients like Siemens.

The story broke first on Euro.cz this morning.

Congratulations @startupyard alum @NeuronSW on exciting progress, and fundraising €600K to expand operations! Click To Tweet

The Details

Pavel Konecny, Co-founder and CEO of Neuron Soundware, made the announcement today in Mlada Fronta, together with Adam Kocik, Managing Director of J&T Ventures The investment will help Neuron Soundware to beef up its team, refine its technology, and expand its customer reach to include aerospace manufacturers, rail operators, and automotive companies.

Neuron Soundware, founded in 2016, joined StartupYard the same year. There the founding team, a group of AI experts led by Konecny, conceived of a device which can listen to heavy machinery, and over time, learn to recognize mechanical issues and predict when the machinery is likely to fail. Since attending StartupYard, they have developed a device employing high-end sensors used in aerospace, and audio processing software that can be plugged directly into heavy machinery and can warn of future mechanical problems. The company announced a cooperation with Siemens in 2016, and was invited to join the Airbus Innovation Lab the same year.

“We are continually impressed by the Neuron Soundware team’s technical prowess and ability to attack very complex problem sets with novel approaches and technology,” Kocik commented on the investment, “this technology is going to be even more essential as the IoT [Internet of Things] matures. Neuron Soundware will help to make machines safer, more efficient, and longer lasting.” The investment, a cooperation between J&T Ventures and a private investor, will be used to refine the engineering of Neuron Soundware’s physical devices and software, and to support its outreach to large industrial machinery firms, where demand for the technology is already growing.

Neuron Soundware, StartupYard Accelerator

According to Konecny, the technology, based on “deep neural networks,” learns from the sounds machinery produces, and can detect patterns too faint or complex for a human to hear, diagnosing issues with machinery well before they become catastrophic. Konecny says of the technology: “Sound is a rich source of data, and also quite universal, which is why mechanics and engineers rely on it so much. But a human cannot listen to 100 airplane or diesel engines for 1000 hours each, and make sense of it all. A machine can do this, and when one engine fails, it can apply that learning to all it has already heard, thus greatly enhancing our ability to detect and prevent future problems.”

“When Neuron Soundware joined us for our 6th program [out of 8], their approach to understanding sound had never really been tried before,” commented Cedric Maloux, our CEO, “leveraging StartupYard’s mentor network, locally and abroad, they were able to very quickly prove that there was a huge need for this kind of technology.” The company notes that future applications for machine learning and sound reach beyond machine maintenance, to product testing, autonomous navigation, green energy solutions, and even security. “Sound is everywhere,” remarks Konecny, “and we’ve just started to see how we can use it to understand more of how everything works.”

About Neuron Soundware:

Neuron Soundware is a deep tech startup, exploring the use of self-teaching, constantly learning neural networks in a wide range of audio analysis and audio manipulation applications. Since 2016, Neuron Soundware has focused on technology to monitor and diagnose industrial equipment to predict failures and increase efficiency. They include Siemens and a number of other leading industrial and transportation equipment manufacturers among their clients.

About J&T Ventures:

J&T Ventures is a Venture Capital fund based in Prague. The fund invests up to €500 000 in technology firms at the seed stage in CEE region. Since 2014, J&T Ventures has been invested in 11 growing and promising innovative startups with the goal to contribute to their dynamic growth and value creation. The fund focuses mainly on B2B sector with a particular interest in FinTech, IT (Big Data Analytics), IoT/IoE & Smart City IoT and Retail.

 

You can now apply for StartupYard Batch #8.

  • Robots
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • VR/AR
  • IoT
  • Cryptography
  • Blockchain
Applications Open: Now
Applications Close: June 30th, 2017
Program starts: September 4th, 2017
Program ends: December 1st, 2017

Update: StartupYard in Bucharest: June 6th, Partnering with Bucharest.ai

Update: June 1st, 2017:

We’re pleased to announce that StartupYard will partner with Bucharest.ai to reach out to AI specialists and enthusiasts in Romania ahead of and during our visit on the 6th. Bucharest.ai, a part of the CITY.AI project, will speak about the current state of AI in Romania, and give insights and inspiration to potential founders of AI companies in the region. 

A Talk from Alexandra Petrus: 

We are witnessing a nascent playfield where innovators are building amazing products that address unthinkable human problems.  During this talk, we’ll see the Current State of AI: AI beyond the hype, bold predictions and why build an AI product. This talk will take place immediately following a presentation by StartupYard (more info below)
About City.ai
CITY.AI is a community of 23+ cities that share discoveries in applied AI and connect you to international peers. City.AI powers Chapters throughout the globe. The local communities bring unique contributions, perspectives and are bound by the purpose of collaborative knowledge in the field of Applied AI. By increasing transparency and collaboration, we aim to enable more people to better apply artificial intelligence.
About Alexandra: 
Alexandra Petrus is an experienced operations and product leadership professional, with 6+ years of international startup experience who focuses on new technology products and services. Currently contributing to the fintech & ecomm world through products @2checkout; she ran Products @Reincubate – the app data company, helps build the Bucharest City.AI Chapter as an Ambassador and is igniting her hobby and passion that are the emerging technologies & how to contribute to a better life and environment experience through the side projects that she runs (#healthtech).

 

Are Romanian deep tech startups, those working on AI, Machine Learning, advanced Cryptography, Blockchain, and IOT applications, competitive yet on the global stage? That is what the StartupYard team will explore during a day of workshops and networking at TechHub Bucharest, on Tuesday, June 6th, 2017.

Are you a Romanian entrepreneur with a love of technology and a potentially killer idea for a global business using AI/ML/Blockchain/IoT or something else? StartupYard is your stepping stone to the wider world. Find out more, and sign up for one of the workshops or presentations below:

WHERE: TechHub, Bucharest 

Agenda:

14:00-15:30: Making it Real: Storytelling and Positioning for Deep Tech Workshop with Lloyd Waldo
16:00-18:00: Office hours with StartupYard
18:00-19:00: From Genius Idea to a Global Business: Creating AI Startups from ScratchPresentation with Cedric Maloux

About the Events:

Office Hours with StartupYard:

Looking for feedback, advice, or connections in a specific domain, or on your ideas generally? We’re here to lend you a hand. You can sign up to meet the StartupYard team for a private 20-minute session on June 6th. No obligations whatsoever.

 

Making it Real: Storytelling and Positioning for Deep Tech.

In this spellbinding workshop, Lloyd Waldo, creative marketing veteran of dozens of startups, will show entrepreneurs how early stage companies can apply practical storytelling skills to convince their earliest stakeholders (including cofounders, investors, customers, and employees), of the power of a new idea. Learn to instinctively transform ideas from dry descriptions and speculation into compelling narratives, that put you in control of the conversation. Learn how simple positioning and framing devices can help you to achieve greater clarity in your ideas, and persuade others to believe in what you do.
Hosted by StartupYard Community Manager Lloyd Waldo , 14:00-15:30, Tuesday June 6th at TechHub Bucharest.

 

 

cedric maloux startupyard

StartupYard Managing Director Cedric Maloux

Presentation: From Genius Idea to a Global Business: Creating AI Startups from Scratch

Cedric Maloux has been an internet entrepreneur almost since there has been an internet after graduating in 1992 as an Engineer in Artificial Intelligence. He started his first major online venture in 1996, and sold it in 2000. He’s been starting new ones ever since reaching millions of users around the world. StartupYard, which Maloux runs as Managing Director, helps technically sophisticated developers and makers turn their ideas into real, growing businesses. In recent years, we have helped launch a series of high tech startups including TeskaLabs, Neuron Soundware, Cryptelo, Chatler.ai and Rossum.ai. Find out how these startups went from a brilliant idea, to companies serving clients all over the world with cutting edge technologies. –Hosted by StartupYard MD Cedric Maloux. 18:00-19:00, Tuesday June 6th at TechHub Bucharest.

 

Krakow Tech

Tomasz Wesolowski: Krakow Breaks Out as High Tech Capital in Poland

Tomek Wesolowski is Founder and CEO of the high tech startup 2040.io. Based in Krakow, he also organizes one of Poland’s biggest meetup groups for AI specialists and enthusiasts: AIMeetup.

StartupYard will partner with AIMeetup in Krakow on June 8th, for an event full of AI speakers, workshops, and a presentation from StartupYard for potential startup founders.

 

 

I caught up with Tomek recently to talk about his company, AI initiatives in Krakow, and the Polish tech ecosystem generally. Tomek also contributed to our in-depth analysis of the Polish tech investment landscape last month. You can read it here.

Here is what he had to say:

Hi Tomek, first, tell us a bit about yourself, and your journey towards becoming a tech founder.

Tomasz Weselowski, Krakow Tech

I’ve spent the last 16 years in the internet-industry as an entrepreneur, advisor, and board member of several companies. My main scope of activities was connected with the software house Empathy, which I founded in 2000. It started from 2 people, and then, with my business partner Bartek, we managed to grow the company to 60 employees. From 2012, after M&A process of three companies I was the Managing Partner of Unity Group (over 200 employees).

Meanwhile I was also a co-founder and board member of PROFEO – the community for professionals (Polish Linkedin competitor), founder of Techcamp –  biggest Polish technological barcamp meetings and co-founder of Ecommerce director’s club.

In 2015 I decided to leave my position at Unity Group to build something new from scratch. Now I am fully focused on the new project, creating an intelligent assistant Edward, as a co-founder and CEO of 2040.io.

Tell us more about your latest startup: 2040.io. How are you hoping to change the way the sales process happens in the mobile connected world?

During all these years we’ve managed to complete hundreds of projects for different types of customers: from small to medium and big players. My main knowledge gained from this period concerned the observation of how end-users use their software. I found out that people are very reluctant to use programs that are too complicated. On the other hand, the constantly increasing number of data and processes somehow enforces this complication and makes it difficult to control the business without using modern software.

When we created 2040.io we decided to make it simpler. We wanted to create an intelligent assistant that will communicate with the users in the form of a “chat” interface, and at the same time will be smart enough to automatically learn the behaviour of the users. We also wanted to take advantage of the dynamic growth of the machine learning segment and combine these algorithms with a natural conversational interface.

What kinds of industries do you think 2040.io could disrupt, and how?

Starting from the name of our company: We believe that by 2040 artificial intelligence will be as smart as humans. Now, let’s imagine a world, where artificial intelligence will help you with most of your daily activities. A world, where machines and humans will cooperate to provide better products and services.  The fact is that in the future every user will have his own A.I. assistant that will learn from his data and help him to draw proper conclusions.

Using these types of intelligent assistants will revolutionize the way we use business software. We like to think of this segment comparing its early stage of development to early websites. The capabilities of such typse of assistants may soon become unlimited, just like it was with the web-application industry. This is why we created Edward – an artificial intelligence powered assistant for sales teams.

What can Edward to right now?

We managed to create our own software for creating intelligent assistants for various industries. It consists of a multi-language platform for building interactive conversations, a system for efficient processing of large data sets (big data), and models for automatic classification of data based on machine learning. Edward was created on top of this platform.

When it comes to the interface, we focused on the user’s convenience, and not on the necessity of understanding a natural language. This is why Edward is not a typical chatbot. It uses a conversational interface, but we are not forcing the users to enter data, questions or messages. We must remember, that if we will try to fake a real conversation, the user will expect human behavior and intelligent conversations from the assistant. At the moment, we are not ready for it, so we decided to use a “hybrid” interface that combines conversation, suggesting action on the keys and other multimedia elements facilitating system use.

Searching for an analogy to other projects, we can say that Edward works in a similar way as Siri, Cortana or Google Assistant. However, he focuses on one particular area which he knows the best. That means we keep our focus on vertical AI instead of building a general, horizontal AI assistant, which is very hard to create. Sometimes we call Edward “Siri for sales”.

We are currently still in the beta phase, although we already have over a dozen customers using Edward. We are now working with them to decide about the future roadmap of development to make Edward even more friendly and useful, not only for sales reps but also the managers. This is why, for example we created beautiful dashboards that are giving the sales manager an opportunity to compare sales reps performance and draw conclusions about the whole sales process (eg. how much time spent on customer leads to particular effect in sales numbers).

You’re also the leader of a major tech meetup in Krakow. Can you tell us how this got started, and what has happened in the community over the past few years?

Krakow Tech

Building a tech community related to our work was always very important to me. In my previous company, in 2011 we started our first tech meeting, called Techcamp. It took us two years to became one of the biggest Polish technological barcamp meetings. We covered many topics starting from cloud computing to technological “fights” between PHP and Java.

And in 2016 when we founded 2040.io, we noticed that the AI community is not well integrated. There are some events devoted to technical issues, but there is still a need for a meeting where people can gather and hear some presentations covering both business and technical aspects. This is how we started our A.I. Meetup under the motto “Let’s meet to talk about AI.” Looking at the number of participants currently reaching 200 people it seems that we have achieved our goal. That is why we decided to extend the formula to other cities in 2017.

Is Krakow a good place to start a tech company? What are some of the advantages?

Krakow is a special city on the Polish tech-map. Thanks to many years of history and amazing climate, it attracts creative and open-minded people. Very often they choose to study at technical universities such as AGH, or Polytechnic. This means that despite the presence of many foreign corporations, Krakow has a very strong startup community, and the spirit of entrepreneurship leads a lot of people to open their businesses here. We also have access to amazing people who want to develop and learn new things while they are studying. I was born in Krakow, so I may not be objective, but despite our limitations in terms of infrastructure, having the option of starting a business anywhere in Poland, I would choose Krakow again.

Poland has a reputation in Central Europe as being somewhat isolated and self-sufficient. Do you think this reputation is earned? Does it present a problem for Polish startups?

It seems to me that the approach Polish businesses on target the internal market is a kind of myth that we must face when talking to people from other countries. It is true that Poland has a very large internal market and for many years it was enough to run a business here to be successful.

However, over the past 10 years that changed a lot. First of all, our entry into the European Union and opening of the borders made so many young people leave the country. Some of them came back with the intention of building their business in Poland, but already with an appetite for the global market.

Secondly, the development of technology has made us start competing with our colleagues who are working on similar projects worldwide. So now, almost everyone is thinking about the market in a global way, and some businesses do not even open their sales in Poland but direct themselves from the beginning to the USA.

Our big Polish market has its advantages. We are able to get some customers and financial base here, which will allow us to scale more freely into foreign markets. Whenever possible, it is sometimes a good idea to start a business on the Polish market, test some hypotheses, and then scale the solution abroad. It is also unmatched by the lower labor costs of engineers coupled with their high competences. This is why sometimes companies cutting their core business from Poland are leaving their R & D centers here, which makes their projects better, faster and cheaper than their counterparts in other countries.

Polish startups also have open access to a lot of government backed up programs dedicated to startups, and as you’ve noticed in your blog post related to this topic this may cause a problem in terms of building real innovations in our country. On the other hand, due to lack of private capital, young entrepreneurs sometimes have no other choice to start their business, so they choose to do it by taking some public funding.

What are your plans for the future of 2040.io?

We started only with our private money, and the company was also backed up by two business angels. We are currently raising our first early seed round, as we need some money to grow sales and expand our development team. We are talking with both government backed funds, and private ones, so after we finish this stage I hope I will be able to share with you some thoughts regarding the process.

In terms of product, as I mentioned we are now testing our first version of Edward with customers, getting feedback and tuning it to their needs. The plan is to stay on Polish market till the end of 2017, as the product will be technically finished and ready to scale abroad. That means we are now looking for B2B companies from all over the world, that are willing to try the beta version and share their feedback with us. If you are interested in testing Edward, feel free to register on our webpage http://edward.ai/ or contact me directly.

Polish AI/ML Geeks: Let’s Meetup in Krakow, June 8, 2017

We’re very pleased to announce that StartupYard will partner with Krakow’s largest Artificial Intelligence meetup, for a June 8th event, where AI founders will have the opportunity to pitch StartupYard, and learn more about how StartupYard can change the course of a deep tech company.

The Krakow Artificial Intelligence Meetup

For this event, StartupYard partners with the Krakow Artificial Intelligence Meetup. Run by AI entrepreneur and friend of StartupYard Tomasz Weselowski, the meetup was founded in August 2016, and has attracted over 700 members since then, running 3 events so far.

About The Meetup:

StartupYard’s management team will give a presentation on workshop aimed at AI specialists and ML geeks, on the benefits of acceleration, and building a global business, among other topics. There will be a list of other speakers announced shortly via the meetup group’s meetup page.

Here are the presentation and workshop:

Presentation: From Genius Idea to a Global Business: Creating AI Startups from Scratch

Cedric Maloux has been an internet entrepreneur almost since there has been an internet. He started his first major online venture in 1996, and sold it in 2000. He’s been starting new ones ever since. StartupYard, which Maloux runs as Managing Director, helps technically sophisticated developers and makers turn their ideas into real, growing businesses. In recent years, we have helped launch a series of high tech startups including TeskaLabs, Neuron Soundware, Cryptelo, and Rossum.ai. Find out how these startups went from a brilliant idea, to companies serving clients all over the world with cutting edge technologies. –Hosted by StartupYard MD Cedric Maloux. 18:00-19:00, Tuesday June 6th at TechHub Bucharest.

 

Making it Real: Storytelling and Positioning for Deep Tech.

In this spellbinding workshop, Lloyd Waldo, creative marketing veteran of dozens of startups, will show entrepreneurs how early stage companies can apply practical storytelling skills to convince their earliest stakeholders (including cofounders, investors, customers, and employees), of the power of a new idea. Learn to instinctively transform ideas from dry descriptions and speculation into compelling narratives, that put you in control of the conversation. Learn how simple positioning and framing devices can help you to achieve greater clarity in your ideas, and persuade others to believe in what you do.
Hosted by StartupYard Community Manager Lloyd Waldo , 14:00-15:30, Tuesday June 6th at TechHub Bucharest.