I would consider myself a lucky person. Why so? Well, there are several reasons.

First, I live in a country famous for being a popular hub for startups. With its welcoming environment for entrepreneurs from all over the world, I fit pretty well in here as I’m completing an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Secondly, the company I’m interning for is a startup itself. We eagerly take part in activities related to business development, innovation, digitalization, and it is really inspiring to me. That’s how my colleagues and I found ourselves in De Doelen, Rotterdam on June 6th for the 2019 Startup Funding Event.

The exhibition

Startup Funding Event was launching its fourth edition of the event which gathered over 1,500 people. The event provides the opportunity to showcase startups to the biggest investors in the Netherlands, as well as foreign investors.

Various types of startups from technology-based to product based or centred on sustainability took part to the event to present their products and ideas, and we got to know some of them.

Among others, we tasted the Feed nutritional bars and drinks. Their idea is that one bar can substitute a whole meal, consequently providing all nutriments needed, which is convenient when you can’t have a proper one for whatever reason.

We got to talk with the people from the Homie group, who promote the idea of paying per usage of home appliances rather than buying it. I found it a sustainable and relevant idea, maybe someday I will go for it.

 

The Panel talk

Startup Funding Event 2019 Panel

One of the most exciting part to me was a panel talk which presented highly inspiring people such as Laura Nuhaan (Executive Digital Advisor at Microsoft), Evert Jaap Lugt (Managing Director at Yes!Delft), and Mattijs ten Brink (CEO of Transavia). All three of them have had their own experience in starting up companies. The talk started with a selfie, Mattijs took on his phone. As he said, he always does this to prove himself that he’s able not just to talk to 80 people, but also to be listened by them. The biggest audience he ever had was 6000 people, quite impressive!

Whenever I listen to such inspiring people, I wonder: what led them to become so successful? Is it luck? Knowledge and skills? The environment they got evolved in? Or character? My guess is that, all these factors are helpful, but the most important are passion, commitment, vision and a belief.

On the one hand, intuition, internal voice, or guts,  – is another factor an entrepreneur should take into account. Sometimes you just have to step back, if it feels like that, sometimes things just don’t work as they should do. That was another piece of advice from the speakers.

The support you get from your family and friends also matters a lot. But there’s also another source of support: knowledge and expertise, and by this I mean mentorship. Through the session Laura Nuhaan kindly offered her mentorship services for female entrepreneurs. Mentorship is in my opinion really helpful in starting as it provides clear directions that aren’t always easy work out on one’s own.

Nevertheless, as one of the speakers mentioned, you have other supporters, the so-called ‘evangelists’ of your brand: your customers. If you put your customer at the centre of your business model, you can be ensure an endless source of support.

Finalists’ pitches

The culmination of the evening was the pitching from three finalists, whose projects were chosen out of 150 participants by the StartupFunding Event team. I would say that somehow all of them are all about containing something in a proper temperature 🙂 Was it done intentionally? Who knows!

Firstly the Otflow team presented a solution to prevent fresh fruits waste during shipping due to temperature rise in containers. They claim a 40% reduction of loss if using their innovative Otflow cover for containers.

The Meds2Go team then showcased a portable container to keep medicine at a temperature of 2-8 °C for up to 24 hours. Definitely helpful for people who need to travel and have their temperature-sensitive medications with them.

The Winner: Heatbox

 

But it was the last presenter that received the most attention from the public. I could bet that some of them would buy a product on the spot if it was available. They introduced their HeatBox, a rechargeable self-heating lunchbox to warm up a meal on the go. While Netherlands may not be be the best target audience for this product (As you probably know, sandwiches are the most popular lunch over here), it is certainly a useful product that should easily find its way to shops soon enough.  

In all, I can say that such events are rewarding and inspiring experiences and I look forward to taking part to more soon.

For more review of events, keep an eye on our blog post release! Also full event livestream can be found here.