OMGKRK Krakow Startup Week 2017 In Review
It was a fascinating and tightly packed seven days. Krakow Startup Week, consisting of thirty events intended to boost entrepreneurship, ran between 23rd-29th October and was sponsored by the City of Krakow. A total of two thousand people participated in the third year of the event that is also known as “Start KRK Up” or #startkrkup. Knowledge experts, successful entrepreneurs and the curious journeyed from afar to mix with a crowd of people from the local business start-up community. The subject matter ranged from Biotech, moved on through a competitive startup pitch night, a crypto-currencies event – and culminated in the elegant Gala night.
This article provides the essence and conveys the flavour of each evening’s main event. As Krakow Startup Week will happen again next year, we want to learn from your experience of this year’s programme – so please take time to add your feedback and suggestions in the comments below, or get in touch using pawel@OMGKRK.com.
Here’s a view of each day’s headline evening event, the number of attendees plus anecdotes from those who were in the crowd.
The week began with “Biotech Startup Landscape” at The Stage on ul. Łobzowska. The start-ups presenting may represent huge benefits in terms of health and healthcare, but they also face robust, global competition. The vibe was that of a serious exchange between the businesses presenting, the hosts and the audience members. The hosts later reported around 80 people made up the audience, who seemed curious and eager to learn more about this area.
Three startups presented onstage:
RealResearch “How 3D cell culture technology can impact your life?”
Biolumo “Are we facing the second dark age of medicine?”
Ardigen “Coding Against Cancer”
…each presentation was followed by a Q&A session.
The event on this day was “OMG KRK Academy #5 – Founders From Abroad” – a panel discussion at Kolanko on ul. Józefa. This cosy venue just about accommodated an audience of around 45 people. Curated and presented by Pawel Nowak, the content focussed on founders from the Techstars Accelerator sharing their entrepreneurial experience.
The vibe was that of a laid-back, almost even “intimate” event. For the audience, it was like being a fly on the wall watching three friends – who just happen to be startup CEO’s – conversing about the highs and lows of growing their businesses. Founders Unplugged!
The panel consisted of:
Linh Nguyen, CEO and founder of Kisura https://www.kisura.de/ – the first personal shopping service for female fashion in Europe
And Chris Kränzler, the CEO and co-founder of lengoo.com – the AI-powered marketplace for expert translations.
OMG KRK hosted this event.
Wednesday brought us to the “Entrepreneur Club: Innovation In The Arts” event in the cellar club, Szpitalnia 1. This venue, already full of atmosphere, hosted a rich mix of businesses and practitioners combining the arts, tech and entrepreneurship. Sharing with us their stories of walking the line between playfulness and ‘the cutting edge’ were:
Framewhere – a photography industry startup bringing about a significant change in photography and videography.
Piloci Studio – stunning interactive lighting designs for Unsound and Sacrum Profanum festivals, amongst others.
Sonicsmith demonstrated to us how their new music synthesizer technology works.
Much curiosity, puzzlement and pleasure! The demos ended with SonicSmith’s amazing explanation and live playing (via bass guitar) of their new analogue synth. The buzz continued as the audience dispersed around the underground club when Chino partnered with Bartek Baran to give us a taste of just how much the SonicSmith synths can do in the hands of two artists. Alongside, many lined up to have Frameware take their portrait.
The host reports that around 75 people attended. People who gave feedback said:
“Innovation’s happening everywhere, and Szpitalna 1 was the perfect spot to showcase those working in the intersection of tech and arts. The highlight of the night for me was seeing the DJ’s showing off SonicSmith’s audio synth and Piloci Studio’s lighting setup in collaborative action.”
“I really enjoyed the atmosphere at the Entrepreneur club. It felt right for startups to be in an alternative and literally underground location. My favourite part was the demo of the synthesizers.”
Thursday’s event came with a truckload of anticipation and a sense mystery wafting around it. The “Wawel Dragons Cave Pitch” seemed to be the event most talked about ahead of time. The venue – Dragon’s Cave under the Forum Przestrzenie hotel – was withheld till the last day and then revealed in a cool video produced by Frameware. On walking in, attendees saw an all red underground nightclub reminiscent of something from a Clockwork Orange combined with the belly of a whale. The format followed the well-known Dragons Den / Shark Tank formats seen on UK and US TV. The startups pitching (1000 realities, Spokoloko, Craftinity, Framewhere, InMotion) to the judges (Jaromir Dzialo, Ian Scarffe, Paz Ambrosy, Natalia Maczek) for a prize of up to 10,000zl. The audience, of around 150 people, acted as the fifth judge.
Attendees who gave feedback said:
“This might very well have been the highlight of the entire startup week. For anyone who’s a fan of Dragons’ Den or Shark Tank, the Wawel Dragons Cave Pitch absolutely delivered! The judges were TOUGH, the exclusive venue (below the Forum) was awesome, the pitching founders were ready and the crowd was really into it (kudos to the live audience voting surprise!)! This is the most engaged I’ve seen any audience from all of the tech/startup events I’ve been to here in Krakow.”
“Wawel’s Dragon Cave had an interesting location as well. The arena-like room fits the format perfectly. I was a little disappointed in the selection of the presenting StartUps. But all in all had a fantastic evening.”
“When it came to the audience vote, the people at my table had the biggest, debate-slash-argument you’ve ever heard! It was a super exciting event and, it seemed, we all had a strongly held opinion we wanted to express. Smiles all round afterwards though :)”
Sponsors / hosts:
On Friday evening, “Start KRK Up Gala – Visioning The Future Of Krakow Tech” took place at the Manggha venue, across the river from the Wawel Castle. The event was a celebratory conclusion to Krakow Startup Week, bringing together the entire tech, startup and entrepreneurial community under a single roof for an elegant evening. Around 200 people attended the Gala.
“The gala was exactly what something like this is supposed to be: big and flashy. It was nice meeting people from the community, and I enjoyed Bart’s and the last guy’s presentations. The slider guy was pretty out of place.”
“Even though I enjoyed the evening, I was left surprised and disappointed. Why do I say this? Here are my reasons: the amount of investment being used as a measure of success by all of the businesses who presented – and the lack of women entrepreneurs on stage (all were men, and so were the vast majority of people shown in the on-screen presentations).”
“What a perfect way to officially wrap up Krakow Startup Week – with a little bit of elegance and fun! The turnout was great. And since we were on the 5th day of startup week, many had become familiar faces! This is exactly the kind of social gathering that’s key in promoting the growth of Krakow’s tech/entrepreneurial/startup community.”
What should be added to this event next time it takes place?… “I’d like to have seen more women-focused events, eg. Women Tech Founders, etc.. I also would’ve liked to have seen more representation by more startups in town, especially the more developed ones. Coming from Montreal, the big startups in town (biggest funding, most # of employees) were some of the most engaged in the community – they’re always paying it forward and not just in terms of sponsoring events.”
Overall, the week was a great way to discover Krakow startups, meet the people involved and learn about what motivates and supports them (and we can’t fit in here the amazing HackYeah and the 23 other great events that also happened). A huge thank you to OMG KRK and Krakow City for making this happen and providing support. We’ll definitely be coming back next year.
Important note: Feel free to leave your feedback and suggestions in the comments section below – or get in touch using pawel@OMGKRK.com. We’ll look at everything you’ve sent and use it as guidance and inspiration for next year’s event.
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