When great ideas and future visions meet many years of experience and young founders get together with successful entrepreneurs, when a mesmerized audience of around 500 guests has taken up every seat in the auditorium and is watching a varied program – then Startup Day’n’Nite is taking place. Last Wednesday night, everything revolved around founding ideas and entrepreneurship at stage talks and startup pitches at the first startup conference of Burda Bootcamp, which Natalia Karbasova, head of Burda Bootcamp, was in charge of. Hubert Burda, who cares deeply about Burda Bootcamp and its commitment to innovation and young founders, was an enthusiastic participant of the event taking place for the first time, and followed it from his seat in the front row.
“The conference was an achievement of the whole team, with great support from the Munich startup scene”, stresses Natalia Karbasova. “We managed to bring together the local founders’ community and create a networking platform. I’m pleased that the participants were able to gain so much from it!”
Successful with investors
One highlight of the event was the 40-minute stage talk of Burda’s CEO Paul-Bernhard Kallen and Dominik Wichmann (Looping Group). They discussed the development of “corporate investors”, changes in the German startup scene and how big companies are able to help young founders, financially and otherwise. Not only investment is essential, but also corporate culture in particular. Kallen stressed: “We offer a wide scope for development and encourage founders to promote new ideas. At Burda, we have created an ecosystem for entrepreneurs.”
How important it is for startups to be supported by entrepreneurs became clear in the discussion of star investor Judith Williams (“Die Höhle der Löwen”, German version of “Dragons’ Den”) with her young business partners, the founders of Little Lunch. Together they have made the business idea of healthy long-life organic soups a success. The experienced entrepreneur’s mentoring has enabled the startup to become one of the fastest growing companies in Germany. “I invest into the founders, not the product. The product can be changed, unlike the founders”, said Williams. The right gut feeling is crucial in her view, and in this case it was dead-on.
Steffi Czerny, founder of DLD, Christian Velbinger (The Royal Jungle) und Daria Saharova (Vito One) not only exchanged views on the potential of the Munich location for startups, but also on the passion for digital conferences shared by all panel participants. Getting to know people who take a burning interest in something, discovering common themes and promoting them was part of the great appeal of conferences, Czerny revealed.
Using blockchains to win
The second part of the evening involved, in keeping with the tried and tested concept of Burda Startup Night, ten founders and a top-class jury, including Marie Stephan, director of M&A at Burda, among others. The young founders, who competed for places on the mentoring program of Burda Bootcamp, presented a wide variety of promising business ideas, ranging from a baby article rental and a personal speech assistant to a second-hand search engine. The Munich startup Bernstein, which offers blockchain solutions for protecting intellectual property and innovation processes in companies, was the happy winner at the end of the evening. The main prize consists of the four-month mentoring program, including office space at Burda Bootcamp, as well as tickets for the Cologne Startup-Con conference and a stand.
by Stefanie Däubler
Junior PR Manager Digital