Viking Bus # Day 1 – Ideas take shape & pitching, pitching, pitching!

Copenhagen-Aarhus-Hamburg

The first day of the Viking bus road trip is over. It was a hectic, physically exhausting day, but the persevering spirit of the Viking does not succumb on hardships. The day found the buspreneurs pitching, forming teams, building landing pages, setting up social media accounts, teaser videos and constantly practicing their pitches. Pitch is definitely the buzzword of this trip.

Goal of the day is to give shape to the ideas: choose a name, define the main product, target market, unique value proposition and try to fit all that into a 60’ pitch. After our early morning departure from Copenhagen we headed to Aarhus. We were welcomed at the Startup City headquarters and teams prepared for their first pitching challenge which you can watch here.

Feedback from their fellow-buspreneurs and Startup Citizens gave the teams a lot of material to work on during the second part of the trip to Hamburg. At Startup City I had the chance to meet entrepreneur and startup mentor Sussi Bianco who gave me a great insight in the Aarhus startup scene. Next week you can expect a full featured blog post on the startup community of Aarhus here.

With plenty of feedback from Aarhus, we got back in the bus and to work. Teams had 4 hours before they would face the German teams for a pitching competition in Hamburg. Teams must refine their pitches, build their landing pages and start reaching their audience. Of course not all teams are in the same stage. By entering Hamburg some teams have almost finished building their prototypes and others are still struggling with defining their product. We are almost there and Magnus, a true Viking leader, is running around coaching teams for their final pitches.

Around midnight the Vikings meet the Berliners for a first confrontation at our hostel’s lobby before Sunday’s semi-finals in Cologne. The Viking teams prove what they can accomplish in just 4 hours with their clearly improved presentations. This time they know exactly what they are talking about and focus on how to sell it best. The Germans have strong pitches too and it seems that the battle for the finals is going to be tough.

But this first competition reveals a surprise. There are two almost identical business ideas in the two buses. The German Marshmallow and the Viking QbeeCo want to create a system that motivates and rewards children for helping in the family chores. The idea is identical, now everything depends on the execution. One more reason to be looking forward to the semi-finals.

After the pitches, teams throw themselves to serious networking next to the bar  Some people start already retreating to their rooms exhausted from the road, others resist the tiredness and go for the Hamburg-by-night experience. What happened there? That’s another story to tell.

Tomorrow it’s another day and we head to Cologne. Another step closer to Paris.

Don’t forget to share with us your insights on the startup communities of Copenhagen, Aarhus, Hamburg, Cologne and Paris. Do you know which are the most promising start-ups, the hottest meet-ups and co-working spaces? What are the investment opportunities, the incubators, accelerators or other supportive structures for entrepreneurs? How is it being an entrepreneur in your city?
Leave a comment below or send me an email at eleftheria@rockstart.com

Eleftheria Karyoti

Eleftheria is a blogger at Rockstart Accelerator in Amsterdam
Email: eleftheria@rockstart.com
Twitter: @rockstartaccel

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