EXPERIENCES & WINNERS
What can you do in 27 hours on a weekend? What about investing them in building your business idea from 0 to something realistic like 17 teams did at the 3rd edition of Innovation Labs Hackathon. It was a whole rollercoaster of emotions and experiences we are about to confess to you.
What is so special about Innovation Labs Hackathon that 17 teams (excepting organizers, mentors, jury, volunteers, and press) signed up for it? First of all, it doesn’t stop on 27 hours, 9 winning ideas enter the biggest Romanian pre-acceleration program for startups, Innovation Labs. Secondly, it’s a national phenomenon, in the same weekend, same hour, with the same determination, participants conceive their startup ideas in other 3 cities, Timisoara, Sibiu, and Cluj. And the third reason is that participants are not alone in this entrepreneurial run. While working on their idea, mentors (experts in essential areas for a startup) are beside them to guide and keep them closer to reality.
17 teams joined us last weekend to share their innovative ideas, but only those with real potential got in the Hackathon. All of those teams got to hold a one-minute pitch in front of everyone, talking about their ideas and why is it worth implementing. Then, the crowd-voting began. That was an interactive way of presenting their ideas to the others in a much more detailed way and letting everybody, even the teams, to influence who deserves to stay for the Hackathon. Right after the crowd-voting, the jury deliberation took place so the decision on who stays for the Hackathon was taken by the jury and the public.
14 innovative teams got into the Hackathon and they started working right after the results announcement. While the teams were innovating, the pitchers were polishing their presentation skills at the pitching workshop, 2 intense hours of learning and trying presentation techniques. Mircea Serediuc was very generous to give away from his knowledge of years of practicing and teaching public speaking.
By the way, some of the participants that weren’t selected but their passion for innovation made them join the remaining teams. For example,
The night was young and the great ideas kept coming. And so were the mentors. One by one, 13 mentors, CEOs, department directors, top specialists, were spreading advice. One good advice changed the initial plan of one of the teams. That crucial advice made some teams stay on the right track. All these advice were meant to help the teams model their ideas according to the real world. Innovative ideas were about to become innovative prototypes overnight.
Hours were passing and the ideas were no longer just ideas, even Hector, our special guest was ready to make his grand entrance. By 9 AM on Sunday, all the presentations for the final pitch were submitted and the Technical Demo for the juries had started. The teams presented their results and progress, drones that started moving, algorithms that made a platform functional or Hector, a small fish, ready to help demonstrate a monitoring and auto-maintenance system which gives you information about the chemistry and water temperature, all controlled automatically, lighting, fertilization, and fish feeding. Long live Hector with the help of this innovative idea!
After demo came to the 3-minute pitch where teams presented their ideas as a business. By the end of these 27 hours the hardest decision was made, 9 out of 14 teams got into the pre-acceleration program: vCatalog, AquaSmart, RWRD, Autonomous drone, Localis SaaS, TrueStory, Pinch’n Pitch, Not This Time Pal and NGFtech. The 5 teams who didn’t enter the pre-acceleration program still became part of Iasi startup community and can make use of made effort for hunting new opportunities.
GAPPY EVER AFTER ENDING
The winning teams are already taking part in a 3-month mentorship & development program. Weekly workshops take our participants from phase to phase of building a startup. Personal mentoring, access to an entrepreneurial network and personal determination keep them on track. Soon, we will see who is going to represent Iasi at the Innovation Labs Final at Bucuresti and who is going to take the 3000$ summer scholarship.
This event couldn’t take place without the 2 universities support: Alexandru Ioan Cuza University and