Final selection day debrief

Startupbootcamp HighTechXL - final selection day winners program 2
Startupbootcamp HighTechXL – final selection day winners program 2

We did it again!

After months of screening and selecting the best of the best and an intense couple of days, together with our 150+ mentor pool, we selected the 11 best high tech startups of the world for the second program of Startupbootcamp HighTechXL. The feedback from the selected startups today ranged from “absolutely amazing experience”  to “zero to hero in a weekend”. The startups came in on Saturday and we’ve been working on their pitches and assessing their team dynamics during the weekend. Pitches improved dramatically. Each and everyone managed to get their story told in exactly 3 minutes. Slides full of text transformed into impressive visuals supporting the presenter’s story.

The mentors were essential in this process and all startups, even those who did not make it to the 11 program participants received feedback that will impact the “strategic direction and future of their company”. That’s what we do it for, getting these companies off the ground.

Just like the startups, I’m totally impressed by the quality of the competition, the intensity of the days and the impact we’ve made on the lives we touched. It’s only the beginning of the acceleration and we’ll move mountains again to turn them into awesome life-changing companies. Since I’ve been responsible for the selection of the Dutch startups, I’m happy to see 5 out of the 11 selected teams are based in the Netherlands, but equally impressed by the foreign teams. It’s the combination that’s instrumental to the atmosphere in the program.

The actual program starts in 2 weeks, we expect them back on November 3. Although the team from the US said “hell NO, we’re staying”!

Exhausted but very, very happy with the result. You can read more about the finalists on the Startupbootcamp blog.


Go home… energized and inspired

mentor table sessions
mentor table sessions

Today we organized the third pitch day for the season for the second Startupbootcamp HighTechXL selection period. 6 Amazing teams joined us and the atmosphere was positive, full of energy and a few nerves…. pitching takes a bit of courage. I had table sessions with 4 teams.

A few observations:

  • Focus brings a clear story. Find your niche and focus on that. No… a smaller niche. Even smaller… bingo. Your story to mentors and investors will benefit
  • Customers. You need them… NOW! “But my prototype is not ready”… Doesn’t matter, talk to them and get their feedback. Your story improves dramatically if you interacted with them.
  • Kudos for the teams that were ‘not ready’ and DID join the pitch day. You’ll get there, you got out of the building and did get that feedback that brings you closer to your focus.
  • Amazing mentors. The mentors were amazing again. It’s so awesome to experience the positive and constructive atmosphere. And the type of questions asked. Not the easy ones like ‘how much revenue do you currently have’ but the ones that require the deep understanding of the startup, the technology and the market. Read this article as I can’t explain it that well.
  • Dedication. I’m increasingly seeing dedication with the Dutch startups. More passion, more drive. The gap between some of the foreign teams and Dutch teams we’re talking to is closing.

The feedback we got from the teams was encouraging! We’re creating the right atmosphere. We consistently heard they had critical but constructive and positive feedback. All 6 teams left the room with more energy and full of ideas. And so did we!

Have a look at the below video for an impression on our pitch days: