selected: 9 startups
from: 4 countries
meet them: right now!

Wayra CEE Final Selection Panel: Day 1

All the 21 teams (from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania) that were selected for the Final Selection Panel  at Wayra CEE from almost 130 applications arrived to Prague yesterday to spend two full days with mentors and judges. Their mission yesterday was to prepare for today’s judge evaluations, perfect their pitches, impress and prove the investors that they deserve to be chosen among the finalists.

Yesterday’s morning started with a short presentation about Wayra CEE and its vision to serve not only as a first-class accelerator, but also as a family for all the people involved. After a brief introduction the teams were encouraged to stand up and present their ideas to others – to describe who they are, where they came from and what they are working on. The rest of the day was filled with lectures and mentoring to get the best out of them.

After a small break, Evzen Cekota took over the room with his outstanding lecture about personal branding. If you want to know how to stand out from the crowd and seduce your audience, Evzen is your man. He provided us with tips how to make ourselves comfortable while talking, how to sell what we are saying and how to improve our ideas.

Personal tips & what you should think about when presenting:

  • You have to put some juice into your presentations.

  • Find your gravity spot, stand up straight.

  • Imagine the size of your energy as a length of your outstretched arms. How much energy you want to have at the end of the day? What gives you energy?

  • Energy is very important element in the business – even before you come in the room and after you leave it. Don’t forget about it.

  • Smile – but don’t fake it.

  • You can have an idea, but sometimes it takes somebody else as an agent to flourish it. Find a mentor, listen to him.

  • Investors are not going to look only at your business plan, but sometimes they will look into your eyes to see, if you are able to do something tangible and real.

Try for yourself, calm down and recall these three memories to energize your brain:

1) One or two experiences in your life that were absolutely clear. (I bought an iPhone)

2) Clear and solid decision you know there is no way back. (I married Anna.)

3) Moment you felt inventive and you were able to mobilize resources. (you found your way out of a trouble)

 Last sentences from Evzen to remember: When you are talking to an investor, you are not pitching your life. It doesn’t matter if you are going to fail, because your idea is going to live on. Remember that the investor is not buying the idea of today, but the idea of the future. Be a visionary and be able to see the future, because people and the vision are sometimes more important than the initial idea. The business is yours, the idea is yours, so you can think about it as you are inviting the investor into your life. Before every important meeting, write three or four things you absolutely need to insert into the investors mind.

Ask yourself:

  • Where do you see yourself in three or four years?

  • How realistic is your vision?

  • Who you are? (don’t write labels – student, lawyer – write your story)

  • Why should somebody be interested in you?

  • What will it mean to become an entrepreneur? (what you cannot get otherwise)

And what’s the one thing all the people are going to remember about Evzen? His energy.

The first part of the day ended with a presentation by CEO of Remote Assistant, Tomas Stanik, who demonstrated what the perfect pitch should look like. In the Q&A he shared some interesting learnings about working with blind people and how he implemented his app and made it work.

After the practical part, we also learned something about the pitching theory. Lukas Hrdlicka, expert on presenting, destroyed our idea about beautiful slides. So what’s the most important about your presentation? Experience. You should learn how to make a story, link all the points together and provide your audience with an unforgettable experience.

TIP: The overall experience consists of many details from the pitch structure to delivery – it is crucial to pay close attention to all the parts, as negligence of any of them can destroy the whole impression.

The second part of the day was filled with connecting teams with the right mentors and improving the last details before today’s D Day. Among the people that came to help with the projects were team members of Wayra CEE’s last cohort Tomas Banik & Marek Tomas (Networker), Josef Vodicka (TrashOut & Venzeo), Katarina Krajcovicova (formerly at WOPPA), Tomas Stanik (Remote Assistant), Prague based entrepreneurs Tomas Ruzicka and Anh Hoang from Source, Daniel Hejl from Silicon Valley based ProductBoard and startup supporters such as Founder of major Czech startup blog Jakub Svoboda, presentation coach Lukas Hrdlicka or personal brand coach Marketa Pfleger and Director of Wayra CEE Jarmila Placha and Director of Wayra Madrid Paloma Castellano.

One of the mentors Katka Pljaskovova, who helps startups to validate their ideas with customers at dots’n’spaces, talked with us mostly about her experience with the Berlin startup scene and what she thinks the main differences between the German hottest capital and Prague are. She strongly believes that Czech investors are more cautious about where they are going to put their money. They need to see that one’s project is tangible and most likely profitable. There is no problem of getting up to half a million Euros if you are living in Berlin, you have a relatively good team and an idea. Something we can hardly imagine here in Prague.

She was pleasantly surprised by the quality of all the 21 startups and the fact they all seemed to be with their feet on the ground rather than just being dreamers with half-baked plans.

She said that when helping startups, she needs to go deep inside the idea, learn the whole process and get it out from the paper to real people. Ask them questions and test the product with potential customers. It may be fatal to stay closed in the office only with your computer. She has a good experience with hiring people from communities technology companies  are involved with (through organizing events for example), because you can be sure they are really interested in your product and not only the money. She truly admires the passion of Lenka (Wayra CEE) & Petra (TechSquare) and the way they are able to organize things and connect people from all the world. We can definitely tell, there is another rising smart startup girl on the Czech scene.

Her first secret tips: BeeSafe (personal safety app), Tutoranza (tutor marketplace), CustomerPOP

Her personal goal: to change how startups communicate with their customers and the ways their are implementing the feedback they receive

At the end of the day, we stopped some of the teams in the chill out zone and asked them a few questions. Here are some of the most interesting answers and stories:

  • I wanted to study Phd. – but I came with this idea, developed the whole system and wanted to give it for free to schools. I went with this offer to the University of Economics here in Prague and they told me no. And that’s why I am here. (Seedu)

  • We want to fill students with enthusiasm for studying. (Seedu)

  • I regret I spent too much time in developing the concept. (Seedu)

  • The judges should choose my project just in one case – if they want their kids to use my system. (Seedu)

  • I want to go to India and find people using my system. (CustomerPOP)

  • We want to get rid of coupons and club cards. (CustomerPOP)

  • We overestimated the willingness of people. (CustomerPOP)

  • There is a big startup scene in Poland, people are helping each other a lot. There is a really great feeling about working together. We have events, all the people are invited to grab a coke and tell their story. It is big but there is still enough space for new ideas. (AudioTrip)

  • Our most successful Polish startup has more than 1 million users and it helps with using the public transport. (Audiotrip)

  • We should make it to Wayra because we know it works and we have already had some sales. Moreover we already secured our financing. We are not so much in need of money, but connections. (Audiotrip)

  • The product is great, team is working well together, the project is fun. We are in need of this app ourselves. (AudioTrip)

  • My project is based on a real need. I was working in an agency and I just really needed a tool like this. And it does save a lot of time and money. (Tabfoundry)

  • I don’t believe in the death of Facebook. More people are going to join and the Facebook team is really smart. (Tabfoundry)

  • The atmosphere in Wayra isgreat. The best tip from a mentor is that we need to learn how to sell ourselves. (Tabfoundry)

  • My technology & IT heroes: Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson.(Tabfoundry)

  • We already have thousands of customers.  (Tabfoundry)

  • I’ve spent more than three years in the public health sector,  and I see there is a serious change needed. (CareWave)

  • We want to change the way people are living. We want to get health care closer to them. Because we believe it is important and it is going to improve the society itself. (CareWave)

The atmosphere today was truly inspiring and we hope all the participants enjoyed their first day in Prague and got some helpful tips they will use today during their final pitch. Actually we know for sure! “Thank you very much for organizing such a helpful and inspiring day.” came from CareWave last night.

The Wayra team wishes the best of luck to all the projects today and — may the best teams win.