My friend from Baconsült has been given the honors to be the judge in the Hungarian chapter of the 1776 Challenge Cup. I went to see, how such a challenge looks like.
The occasion was organized by the Kairos society with the 1776 organization, and was hosted in the Logmein headquarters.
The competing teams each had 5 minutes to pitch, and 3 more to answer questions by the judges.
The teams were of many fields, organized in 2 parts , 7 teams each. Multiple sectors were represented, bio research, electronic finance, e-learning and knowledge management, just to name a few. The diversity of the teams made the event more interesting, however it also made the choice even more difficult.
It transpired, that the teams, that been around for longer, have an advantage. Their pitches were sharper, more to the point, and usually better presented. Also given the size of the startup scene in Hungary, these teams had the higher ground. Most of the jury knew them already, and they knew what to expect from the investors. Based on their pitches, and knowing nothing of them I’m sure that the results would have been completely different.
I’m not sure that this was a wise decision in any case. The teams will face new unknowns in the next round. The benefit of familiarity will not be on their side in the Tel – Aviv round, and if they make it all the way to Washington DC, they will be up against native speakers.
That said, I must say the teams were really great. Most of the ideas seemed marketable, even though some seemed to copy solutions that are already on the market. Some of the presentations still need more work to make the ideas more approachable and bring the overly complicated ideas, such as biotechnology or complex IT developments understandable to non-professionals.
I’m really looking forward to see these startups on the market, and I’ll definietly try to monitor their progress, just to see, how they turn out.