Julie Donders

This is how we rocked Demo Day 2013!

Here we are! 100 days after. The past 3 months in Rockstart Accelerator have been a whirlwind experience for everyone involved.  The 10 teams selected among more than 400 applicant startups from over 60 countries all around the world have made a speed 100 day run to reach the peak moment of this program and maybe the first milestone of their early stage business.

From the very first day of the program startups have been in a constant learning and working mode, coached by some of the best entrepreneurs, investors and experts, who have been sharing their knowledge, success tips and maybe most importantly, their mistakes. During these 100 days the teams have been working relentlessly, pushing their boundaries, defying fatigue and putting aside social life to transform their vision into a business with global potential.

And yesterday they got to show to more than 400 investors, executives, mentors and the press, how far they have come. Welcome to Demo Day 2013!

Exploring the unknown with passion and devotion

The attendees of the big day were welcomed into the massive industrial hall of De Overkant, infused with the Rockstart vibe and bursting with expectation, tension and curiosity.

We kicked off the day with Don Ritzen on stage, co-founder of Rockstart Accelerator, pointing out the importance of exploratory spirit, especially in today’s internet era, where all changes are happening faster than ever and a new generation of entrepreneurs is on the rise. A perfect introduction of the keynote speaker – explorer by heart – Mike Perham, who single-handedly sailed across the Atlantic at 14, around the world at only 17 and just 3 years later became the first person in history to have solo circumnavigated the globe by land and sea. Here at Rockstart we like dreams and challenges to be big, touching the impossible and Mike is a perfect example of that. He explained, that like the young entrepreneurs he didn’t have all the experience, so he surrounded himself with people who had accomplished similar ventures before. Looking for sponsors, as a teenager planning to sail around the world alone, he was also considered a risky investment. But what he ultimately wanted to prove was, that anyone can achieve something really big with a strong desire and devotion.

Totally inspired by Mike’s adventures, we were fully tuned up for what was to follow: Lights! Camera! Action! Startups on stage!

The pitchers got on stage one after the other with their own walk-up song pumping up the audience and giving a 5 minute presentation of their business, their vision and their future steps: sharp, concise, full of energy!

For those who missed it Park Around are getting ready to conquer the London parking scene, the Brazilian iClinic is modernizing the way doctors will access patients’ files from anywhere through their mobile devices and 3D Hubs is reforming the future of local production. Cupenya took the stage next and showed how they are bringing analytics back to business, Gibbon will show you the easiest way to get ridiculously smart via a peer-learning platform and Amiquo presented their vision of a unique online platform for all gaming content to be shared. Limk saves you from the overflow of internet information by filtering it according to your interests, Syndicate Plus offers customized solutions for big manufacturers to  share product data and control their products online and Zazzy, the Instagram for jewellery creation, actually went live on Demo Day! Last but not least VanChefs bring you the opportunity to enjoy food from the best chefs in town delivered to your home, combining tech and taste.

Networking with a crunchy surprise

After the pitches it was time to switch to conversational mode in a laid back atmosphere with drinks and networking. And not only! At the startup booths investors and guests could get the feel of the products and ask further questions to the startup founders.

But we still wanted the guests on their toes ;-). In line with the true adventurous spirit of the day we served probably the crunchiest snacks they’ve ever had! Insect canapes! Dare?

Some – actually much more than we expected – took a bite of the scary looking snacks. Hats off to the brave ones!

The ice was broken, business cards were exchanged and hands were shaken. A perfect end of the afternoon and the start of the next phase of the program.

Startups you made us proud! Now let’s head to the after-party to celebrate properly a big day and lots of big achievements! m/

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