neoprocess convinces at BEYOND CONVENTIONS

BE BOLD, BE BRAVE, BLOW US AWAY! This was the motto of the globally unique BEYOND CONVENTIONS competition, which took place for the first time on February 20 and 21, 2018, in which young digital startups had to face the real challenges of large international companies and corporations. The main goal of the contest was to promote creative startups and, at the same time, to use their agility and fresh ideas to advance digitization in general and in the companies of the initiators.

The main sponsors of the event thyssenkrupp AG, innogy SE, Open Grid Europe GmbH, SCHACHT ONE GmbH and FUNKE MEDIEN NRW outlined concrete scenarios and processes of their daily business in 17 different challenges and called on startups to present suitable solutions in a global call for entries.

This challenge was taken up by 220 applicants, of which 35 startups with a total of 42 products made it through the first two preliminary rounds and thus received one of the coveted invitations to the final at the impressive thyssenkrupp Quarter in Essen. Thus, on February 20, all finalists, whose origins ranged from Silicon Valley to Europe to New Zealand, made their way to the thyssenkrupp AG site in the heart of the Ruhr region. Our neomatt team with our product neoprocess was one of the lucky participants, with which we were already able to prevail against numerous competitors at this point in time.

In a successful ambience, the event began on the first day with small appetizers and stimulating conversations between visitors, participants and organizers. Afterwards, Andrew Goldstein, Managing Director Deloitte Digital GmbH, led through the day’s program and inspired all attendees with a charming mix of smart humor and serious professionalism. The day’s high-profile speakers also included Heinrich Hiesinger, CEO thyssenkrupp AG and Thomas Kufen, Lord Mayor of the City of Essen, whose words beautifully illustrated the spirit and value of this event. In the style of the startup pitches planned for the next day, the presentation of the five lead companies and their challenges followed. For the employees selected by the large companies, this meant presenting the problem, the requirement and the desired solution approach to the audience within exactly five minutes. The day was rounded off by a relaxed get-together with Andreas Winiarski, Partner Earlybird Venture Capital, delicious catering and cheerful networking over cool drinks.

The second day began with very relaxed faces, freshly brewed coffee and a speech by NRW’s Minister for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy Andreas Pinkwart. With his motivating speech, he created a relaxed atmosphere among the startups and provided an outlook on the digital future of our state. Afterwards, Stefan Hentschel, Industry Lead at Google, and Steffen Kramer, Industry Manager at Google, gave an insight into working life and the mentality at one of the largest global corporations.

Then came the hour everyone had been waiting for. In a tightly timed sequence, the startups had exactly seven minutes to present their solutions. At six booths, PowerPoint slides and animations rushed across the large monitors at one-second intervals, and the visitors and organizers listened intently to the presenters. After the seven minutes had elapsed, an unmistakable signal heralded a three-minute Q&A round in which the startups had to answer questions from the audience. This sequence plus one minute for the change of the presenter was repeated until all products had been presented and everyone present could take a deep breath while enjoying a varied lunch offer.

While the tension among the startups gradually sank and the pulse had found a moderate frequency again, Konstantin Mehl, founder and CEO Kaia Health, founder and CEO Foodora, who was already extremely successful in his younger years, inspired with numerous tips and experience reports from his time as a startup. Afterwards, the festive award ceremony of the 17 winners took place and we are proud and thrilled that we made it with neoprocess to the first place in the “Digital Shopfloor Device Challenge” with the great competition and the great products only just missed!.

After a small coffee break, the startups as well as we used the remaining time for talks with the patrons of this event, which made it possible to describe products in detail again and answer questions personally.

We are very happy that we were able to participate in this event and first of all we would like to thank Camp Essen, who gave us the impulse to register there. We would also like to thank the organizers and in particular thyssenkrupp AG for the great event, the great communication and the inspiration for new things that we were able to draw from these two days!

Written by Thomas Wessling on February 26, 2018

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