Diversity is important in every aspect of business, also at events. The 4th edition of Germany’s largest conference for startups and innovators, StartupCon, attracted around 4,500 attendees – an impressive growth by almost 100% compared to 2016. 200 internationally acclaimed speakers shared their insights on 5 stages and the Y-Academy.
Ralf Bruestle, CEO of Media24all and co-founder of StartupCon, belongs to a group of organizers keen for the benefit of all to increase diversity – among experts sharing their knowledge on stage and conference visitors.
Jane Piper (left) and Karoli Hindriks (right) (Credit: Storinggaard)
Therefore, Capscovil’s founder was very happy to continue their partnership with StartupCon in Cologne and tap into the network of her initiative Diversity Natives. Together with Ralf Bruestle, they worked on contributing to the speaker diversity by bringing more female experts on stage.
Jane Piper, CEO of Pipsy, discussed cultural change, leadership and team development as well as new career opportunities and ways of working in the age of digital nomads with Karoli Hindrics, CEO of Jobbatical.
Stefanie Turber (right), Kim Wlach (middle) and Britta Muzyk-Tikovsky (left) (Credit: Gecchelin)
Stefanie Turber, CEO of Comfylight, and Kim Wlach, Business Development Manager of eluminocity discussed the experiences faced while introducing their respective startup’s smart lighting solutions to the market.
While Comfylight provides connected lighting to increase security in the smart home, eluminocity’s intelligent and modular lighting systems are geared towards providing sustainability and mobility in cities.
Mobility with all its different facets was the main topic of an automotive panel whose participants discussed the future of the travel and logistics and the role incumbent market players may or may not have. Will traditional cars be the dinosaurs of the future?
Katharina Kreitz, Louis Bauer, Tommaso Gecchelin, Barbara Brauner, Britta Muzyk-Tikovsky (right to left) (Credit: Branz)
Barbara Brauner, Business Development Manager of Toposens – an award-winning ultrasonic-sensor startup, looks forward to a time that is shaped by autonomous mobility solutions based on shared demand and not ownership.
Tommaso Gecchelin, Founder and Inventor of NEXT Future Transportation, who works on disrupting today’s public transportation in cities by substituting it with a flexible fleet of smart and inter-connectable modules shared her opinion.
Both see an imminent threat to incumbent market players who are reluctant to step up and adjust their speed to that of current developments within the startup scene.
Katharina Kreitz, CEO of Vectoflow, agreed with Louis Bauer, member of 2nd WARR Hyperloop student team, that a supersonic transportation system like the Hyperloop offers many benefits for long distance travels between cities and an alternative to flying.
Karina Storinggaard, Dora Ziambra, Britta Muzyk-Tikovsky (right to left) (Credit: Piper)
However, before pods with people on board will shoot through vacuum pipes technical challenges need to be solved. First trials by Hyperloop One conducted in Los Angeles look promising.
A planned track connecting Dubai with Abu Dhabi in around 12 minutes will give additional insights into how high the challenges are.
Challenges of a different kind were addressed in the FinTech panel hosting Dora Ziambra, Manager Business Development Azimo, and Karina Storinggard, Co-Founder of Think Yellow.
Both shared experiences made in their respective startups when looking for investment. Karina and Dora agreed that it’s becoming more and more important to support a diverse work environment and increase investment in women-led startups.
Henriette Reker (centre) in discussion with Anna Branz (left)
It’s not only vital to close the gender pay gap and achieve gender equality, but to also show women how they can increase their financial independence by following a gender lens investing path.
Anna Branz, Technical Lead WARR Hyperloop, took to the main stage and presented details on their pod and how their team was able to win the 2nd student competition by beating the other teams by far. Although based on a complete new design, Anna and her team colleagues followed the path laid out by the previous team of their faculty.
Two student Hyperloop Pod contests had been called out by Elon Musk and both times the team from Technical University Munich stepped onto the winner’s podium.
Earlier, the team had been paid a visit by Henriette Reker, Senior Mayor of Cologne, who showed a lively interest in the new travel opportunities this system could provide.
Alona Kharchenko, Team Lead at Roboy, had a special perk to offer to visitors of the startup conference: they could enter into a raffle to win a wild chat with the world’s cutest robot on stage after her presentation of the non-profit project.
Roboy, an open-source development platform aimed at building a robot as good as the human body instantly drew interest from TV reporters.
The humanoid robot was born in Switzerland and now lives at the Technical University of Munich. Version number two designed to be able to ride a bicycle is expected to see the light of day next year.