When we were in the Netherlands, we applied to Code-N startup competition which had its final event at on one of the world’s largest and most international computer expos – Cebit. 400 startups from all over the world applied and we were one of the 50 startups which were selected to present their product there.
The event date was soon here … Since it is not only important what you do and why you do it but also how you do it - we rented a campervan and took 2 guitars with us us so the 12-hour trip from Slovenia to Hannover would not get boring . Renting a campervan was about 70 EUR/day, price for camping place at Cebit was about 200 EUR for a week and its location was just 100 m from the expo. The alternative was to go to a hotel and pay at least 70 EUR/night per person and drive from the hotel to Cebit every single day for at least 20 min in one direction. More teams should do the same …
Driving for so long was not a problem at all. In the campervan we had a lot of discussions about our product, about our personal lives, travelling etc. We even wrote and recorded the ULU song for the team back home. The trip to Hannover was not just a trip but a team building experience!
Immediately when we first entered the Code-N hall we were impressed by how huge it was and it even had some of the most sophisticated and precise robots in it – KUKA robots. Prices for such a machine starts at 500.000 EUR if someone is interested in buying a new toy.
The Code-N program started on Saturday with the pitches of about 10 preselected startups in front of 200 journalists. Matej, our CTO, definitely gave an awesome presentation on the stage and audience agreed that connected cars are totally hot!
The expo officially opened it’s door on Monday. I must admit that I thought there would not be many people interested in the startup scene since Cebit is more or less known as a corporate expo – I thought that from time to time I would be able to write some code or simply go around the Cebit. However, we were talking to potential customers, investors and partners almost all the time, every day of the week. It was incredible to meet people from all around the world interested in our technology. We indeed were a little bit shy in the beginning but after a few pitch repetitions it was totally easy – you just have to accept that “out of your comfort zone is where the magic happens” and then it simply flows – like a river. Even though we were a bunch of engineers and not professional salesmen we were an awesome sales team if you ask me. We were passionately pitching our product in English, German, Russian, Serbian and Slovenian language.
Every startup booth had a similar experience. I didn’t see the whole expo, but from what I saw I think that the Code-N hall was definitely one of the hottest halls with a lot of brilliant people and ideas. At the end of the week we took the picture of exchanged business cards. Pretty cool, huh?
Thanks to the Code-N team for organising such a wonderful event and GFT for making it happen. Having so many entrepreneurs in one place is always a mind-blowing experience.