Janina Benz

Crowdfunding goes green – Econeers supports an energy transition from the grassroots

Michael Brey - Corporate Communications at Econeers

Michael Brey – Corporate Communications at Econeers

The story behind Econeers
We have started Econeers in October 2013 as sister-platform of Seedmatch, the German market leader in crowdfunding for startups and partner of CODE_n. So we have transferred our experience as well as  the proved concept of crowdfunding to the prospering field of renewable energies and sustainability. That was because we discovered large similarities between both concepts: The energy transition in Germany has been basically driven by civil investors right from the start. Almost 50 percent of the renewable energy facilities are paid with private money. Since 2001 over 880 energy cooperatives have been founded by citizens intending to strengthen their independence from large energy groups. So starting a new crowdfunding platform with a focus on clean energy projects in order to create an easier and more efficient way of civil participation was just a logical consequence for us. More…

Sally Ogilby

Social Startup: Exploring the world. Investing in people.

OneSeed Expeditions operates on the idea that travel can accomplish real and meaningful good. Founded by a group of former teachers, researchers, and guides, OneSeed uses the power of exploration to fund creative solutions to poverty. Our model is pretty simple: you take an amazing trip and a local entrepreneur gets the capital needed to grow their business.

Bishnu, Chris and Tek - founders of OneSeedExpeditions

Bishnu, Chris and Tek – founders of OneSeedExpeditions

While studying at Yale University and SIT (The School of International Training), Chris Baker traveled to Nepal to conduct research in Kathmandu and the Khumbu region near Mt. Everest. He studied Nepali, lived with a local family, and spent time exploring the mountains. Chris returned to Nepal twice more with Kiva, a microcredit organization aimed at connecting lenders with borrowers around the globe. While working with Kiva, Chris partnered with microfinance institutions, visited borrowers in the field, and saw how effective microfinance can be to help people alleviate themselves from poverty.

OneSeed Expeditions was founded in 2010 when Chris met Bishnu Thapa and Tek Bahadur Dong. Bishnu’s passion stemmed from her background as trekking guide in Nepal, which led her to research the challenges and opportunities that women guides face. Tek also brought valuable knowledge about Nepali tourism and had been dedicated to the industry for over a decade. Conceived as a social enterprise with a sustainable revenue stream, OneSeed Expeditions grew directly out of the research and work experience of its founders. OneSeed’s founders bring a unique mix of mountain guiding, ethnographic fieldwork, and non-profit skills.

Currently, OneSeed operates in four countries: NepalChilePeru, and Argentina. They run expeditions to Everest Base CampMachu Picchu, and the Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, among many other locations. OneSeed partners with local microfinance institutions and lends 10% of its revenue to local entrepreneurs. With a focus on sustainability and low-impact travel, the team chooses partner lodges carefully to try to reduce the impact of their travelers. The OneSeed team believes that the model is replicable and hopes to continue investing in people and exploring other parts of the world.

Rob Rijkhoek

Rob Rijkhoek (Greenclouds): “Never underestimate the impact of winning the CODE_n Award”

Rob Rijkhoek - Marketing Manager at Greenclouds

Rob Rijkhoek – Marketing Manager at Greenclouds

Rob Rijkhoek, Marketing Manager at Greenclouds, registered the company for the CODE_n13 contest with its theme: Smart Solutions for Global Challenges. After an intensive selection, Greenclouds came out on top amongst 250 participating companies from 35 countries – all young companies that had submitted digital business solutions related to the transition to alternative energy sources. Why Greenclouds succeeded?

We entered this high profile contest to share our idea and spread our word within the ICT industry. Our idea is simple; actively re-using excess IT capacity or underutilized resources. Peter Zonneveld and Michel Korpershoek founded Greenclouds in Rotterdam, the Netherlands in 2009, as the answer for the growing over-dimensioning of IT capacity worldwide. Research by McKinsey & Company says it all. It shows resource utilization level in typical enterprise data centers vary from five to 10 percent, while still consuming energy. More…

Janina Benz

Reunion with CODE_n13 alumnus Daniela Schiffer from Changers

Daniela (Changers) with Felix, Johanna and Elke (CODE_n Team) f.l.t.r.

Daniela (Changers) with Felix, Johanna and Elke (CODE_n Team, f.l.t.r.)

Yesterday we welcomed Daniela Schiffer – co-founder of Changers and CODE_n13 winner – in our office in Stuttgart (Germany). Seven months after CeBIT we were curious what has happend in the meantime.

In our interview with Daniela we talked about her experience at CeBIT, the busy time after the trade fair show managing all the media requests, why saving energy can be fun, especially with a hip product and an active community involved. In the past months Changers doubled the number of sold products and increased the community engagement through gaming mechanisms. The team is busy finding new partners and is working on new distribution concepts.

Find the whole audio interview below.

Janina Benz

Waldemar Wunder: “Maybe Homee is becoming the Facebook for (energy) data someday”

As mentioned in the last blog post, two of our CODE_n13 finalists – Codeatelier and carzapp – were invited to join Continental at the IAA, offering the startups a unique opportunity to present their business ideas at the Continental booth for two days each. I headed over to the IAA in Frankfurt on monday to speak to Waldemar Wunder, co-founder of the startup Codeatelier. We talked about his expectations for the IAA trade show, the next big steps his product “Homee” will take and the CODE_n14 Contest.

Waldemar Wunder - co-founder of Codeatelier

Waldemar Wunder – Co-founder of Codeatelier

Janina Benz: Hello Waldemar, the IAA focuses specifically on the automotive industry. Your product, Homee, is a smart home solution. What were your expectations in coming to the IAA?

Waldemar Wunder: Although we aren’t from the automotive industry per se, the topic of smart homes is significant for average people – and there are plenty of them here at the show. So we see great potential for making lots of valuable contacts. More…

Janina Benz

CODE_n13: Startup Contest @ CeBIT 2013 (Case Film)

Europe’s leading startup event CODE_n presented the 50 hottest startups from all over the globe. More than 250 startups from 35 countries applied to be part of the CODE_n Community live at CeBIT 2013. This video shows the highlights of five days full of entrepreneurial spirit and our 50 finalists which exhibited at CeBIT in hall 16!

Janina Benz

Key success factor crowdfunding – CODE_n initiates live funding at CeBIT

The bestowal of the special crowdfunding award at CeBIT was a big success. Why did we do it? Because even the best idea or the most innovative product does a startup absolutely no good if it doesn’t get out there, to the people. It takes money to get the word out. And financial means aren’t always easy to come by, especially considering the ever-increasing demands associated with implementing new technologies. In fact, preparing market-ready products eats up much more of startup budgets today than it did just a few years ago. It has been getting more and more difficult for small, young companies to get their hands on the capital needed to see their ideas take off. We wanted to introduce our finalists to a new topic, and show them yet another way to find potential investors: crowdfunding .

Crowdfunding describes the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. It can also refer to the funding of a company by selling small amounts of equity to several investors.

A lot of people asked us how this cooperation came about. We wanted to offer our finalists the opportunity to familiarize themselves with crowdfunding opportunities. That’s why we turned to Jens-Uwe Sauer. He was a member of the CODE_n jury in 2012, and, as Founder and CEO of the German crowdfunding platform, Seedmatch, he brought a world of expertise to the table. Just what we needed for our little endeavor.

Working together, we came up with the idea of hosting a live crowdfunding event, right at CeBIT. According to Jakob Carstens, Head of Marketing at Seedmatch, the winners were selected according to very specific criteria:

“In our selection of the startups for the special crowdfunding award, we sized up t More…

Janina Benz

Marco Voigts: “Strike out on a new path to get attention”

Marco Voigt Code N InterviewMarco Voigt is co-founder of PIN AG and one of the initiators of the GreenTec Awards, the best-known environmental award in Germany. For many years he worked as a consultant for the EU in the Ministries of Economics, of Environment, and of Science, and coordinated several support programs in the field of environmental technologies and electromobility. At the moment, though, he is focused on anchoring clean technologies in German industries. Additionally, he is managing partner at VKP Consulting and partner of Deutsche Messe AG for Business Development, responsible for the international trade fair IndustrialGreenTec.

Janina Benz: Could you tell us about the GreenTec Awards (formerly Clean Tech Awards)?

Marco Voigts: The GreenTec Awards is an annual event presenting the newest advances in green technologies. Green technologies need strong ambassadors! The GreenTec Awards bridges the gap between entrepreneurs, scientists, politicians, artists, media representatives, and consumers, thus raising awareness and boosting the popularity of the sustainable (r)evolution. Projects range from car-sharing concepts to recycled construction materials—any innovative project can be part of the competition. But the GreenTec Awards is much more than just that: we host a session for the jury, encourage people to vote for their favorite projects online, and carry out many other activities to raise awareness for a more sustainable life. One of the event’s highlights is an interactive exhibition that invites guests to experience environmental technologies firsthand. More…