Janina Benz

Homee launched crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo

Only two months ago Homee was invited to join Continental at the IAA. Now Homee is back with big news! We proudly announce that Homee launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. The aim is ambitious, they need to receive 100,000 € by the crowd within 42 days. In our last post we discussed the different funding options and that crowdfunding is getting more and more popular for startups and we keep our fingers crossed.

How does Homee work?

Homee is a cool gadget and a life-style product which is also a smart home solution of high quality. Control and connect all your favorite devices with Homee. You can combine different products from different manufacturers and even different standards; and bring them all together in the easiest way possible!

Homee: your home remote from Codeatelier on Vimeo. More…

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 finalists Codeatelier and carzapp – exclusively at the Continental stand at the IAA

The IAA – “the world’s most automobile show” – is being held in Frankfurt from September 12–22. This year, the Continental fair stand will host two CODE_n13 finalists: Codeatelier and carzapp. The two startups were invited to present their business ideas at Continental’s IAA stand this year, after winning a special prize at CeBIT in 2013. Each startup will have two days to take part in the show’s publicity week.

We are very happy for Codeatelier and carzapp. We will be visiting both startups at the IAA and reporting on the excitement live via Twitter and Facebook. Anyone interested in dropping by to see for themselves can visit stand A08 in hall 5.1.

Codeatelier's smart home solution Homee

Codeatelier’s smart home solution Homee

More…

Vassilis Nikolopoulos

And what about fundraising?

Vassilis Nikolopoulos

Vassilis Nikolopoulos, PhD
CEO and co-founder, Intelen

Fundraising is a magic concept for every entrepreneur. It describes a difficult and tedious procedure of raising money to develop a venture and support all growth stages.If you ask me about that, after raising two rounds so far for my startup from six different investors (and hopefully more…), I would say that your initial objective should be bootstrapping and not fundraising. This will give you self-confidence, focus and will push you to the limits to finish your MVP (Minimum Viable Product) in order to get feedback and your first pilot customers. Fundraising is a tedious and time-consuming operation that eats your time as a co-founder from other important tasks, such as product validation and initial customer acquisition.

Fundraising comes after you have a prototype that can be used for customer feedback and can validate a business/revenue model, according to the LEAN approach. The initial money you will be asking for, from angel investors or early stage VCs, should go to one important objective: scaling up!

In every fundraising pitch, what should be stressed is not the technology, which already exists out there, but rather how the product or service can be scaled up as fast as possible and how it will follow a specific go-to-market strategy, already defined by your team.

An investor is not looking at the present, but the future. He uses your pitch and product to project his personal portfolio investment life-cycle, analyzes the risk of its current investment portfolio, calculates some financial and investment metrics and makes decisions based on that. So what you need is a good story to simply describe your idea, a well differentiated product with some initial customer contracts, a good emerging market that will help you evolve and take a good market share, and a pretty straightforward go-to-market plan to scale up your product quickly and efficiently.

When we feel ready to go for a fundraising campaign for our startup, we should be ready to justify and present the above arguments. In general, fundraising takes a lot of time from the co-founders, so we have to be sure that our product and progress are not left behind. The CTO should have a dedicated team to move on with development in a semi-automated way. Continuous progress is another key that we have to show to our potential investors. Investors and VCs always evaluate progress and milestones as a part of a continuous startup assessment.

The Intelen story so far…

Intelen started fundraising back in 2009, after winning its first international recognition in the Guidewire Innovate!100 Contest as a finalist. After that, some more international awards came up in 2010 for Intelen’s innovative prototype product on energy analytics and social game mechanics for energy efficiency (Red Herring Global, silicon valley launch, OECD eco-innovation, Siemens World Smart Grid Innovation Contest, etc).

This opened many potential doors and gave Intelen publicity and credibility for its innovative methods; but this also created many expectations and put pressure on the whole team to finalize the products, start acquiring customers, form a high level advisory board and produce a great success story for the fundraising. International recognitions and innovation prizes do not give you funding or money and do not create revenues. Happy customers do…! But, they create expectations you have to meet, and you have to continuously prove your point of differentiation and your will to succeed to people and potential investors. This is what Intelen did and still does, after two seed rounds. Create a success story and show people your agility and fast progress. Then, prove that you have an extremely well differentiated product, acquire satisfied customers, and as soon as your team progresses you are another step closer to success!

In general, when we fundraise we should:

1. Have a 1-2 page executive summary for the investors and a good financial projection (in the seed stage) 1-year ahead. No need for a big business plan, nobody is going to read it.

2. Have a good pitch deck to present: focus on scaling up and go-to-market strategies and use your success story!

3. Organize your development and company progress well: the co-founders will be very busy with fundraising.

4. Demonstrate agility and the will to go global: present contracts and initial satisfied customers. Also use this feedback to adapt your price models. This will give you good and accurate financial projections.

Be ready to meet any expectations you create around you and to work hard in order to prove that you can evolve, learn, adapt and stay agile!

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…