Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Win scholarship for your disertation

The eClub competition will have two categories in this semester. The first, for the best startup idea and a new category for the best students project idea with an industrial impact. We will award scholarships in both categories.

The main eClub target is to introduce students to entrepreneurship. Show how to turn their ideas to successful products. There are basically two ways how to achieve it. Startups for those who are interested in business and technology transfer for those who are more interested in inventing new stuff and less interested in business. Both must have strong vision and need to keep in mind their customers. To invent a new product is a process of matching the product hypothesis with the customers. Startupers have to do all. The company receiving the technology will become responsible for the customer search. Startup is bigger bet but you can earn more money.

Our students impact and cooperation with the industry is still very small. We want to help. We have been so far funding statups and neglecting those who have good ideas but are less adventures. We will fix it in this semester. We are introducing a new category for students working on industrial ideas. It can be a BSc, MSc, PhD theses or any other school work, but it must be aimed at solving some practical problem. This means during the presentation you will have to prove that your idea is practical and useful for companies.

We will award projects in both categories. The first startup team or student work with industry impact will collect 30k, the second 20k and the third 10k. Contrary to many competition for the best theses we want to support students in both categories during the development, while working on the new idea.

How to enter the competition? Simply go to eClub pages, read the rules, and fill-in the registration. Prepare a ten minutes long presentation explaining the main idea. Do  not forget who are your customers and why they need your solution. Then show up for the dry run session on November 12th. Test your presentation skills and gain a valuable feedback from your peers.  Before the dry run, do not miss the opportunity to learn how to write a good theses or technical paper. Tomas Pajdla, an experienced researcher will share with us how to do it in the next eClub session. Join us! Do not miss your chance, there is nothing to lose!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

CVUT Students get cheep phone with school timetable

CVUT student’s team has developed KOSeek showing the school timetable on your Android. You do not have an Android phone? Currently, Samsung is offering deeply discounted cell phones with preinstalled KOSeek at CVUT, Faculty of Electrical Engineering.

Last week we have officially introduced the KOSeek application during the eClub meeting. We also have released new version displaying the school timetable. We reacted to students demand - the timetable was the most requested feature by many users. In addition, we list peers attending the same course allowing easily starting a discussions, helping each other, etc.

Some caveats:  We apologise, but we support only the Faculty of Electrical Engineering (FEL) and Information Technologies (FIT). Some of the faculties and students are still using the older versions (2.3), but the latest version of KOSeek supports only Android 4.0 and newer. Based on the number of requests we do not plan the older versions support. There are some additional reasons, such as the 4.0 simplifies the tablet version development.

We were very lucky CVUT financially supported the development. Smart decision guys! These days we can observe the growing number of downloads. As of today, we crossed 10% of the total population of FEL+FIT.  We do not have exact numbers but we know that Android is the most popular smart phone operating system at CVUT. Currently, we are closely watching the discussion to carefully select the additional features we will implement. If you have any preferences or wishes send me an email or comment this blog.

Samsung is helping us a lot. This and the next week at the entrance of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Dejvice you will find a small exhibition of new Samsung mobile products. You can run KOSeek on any of the phones or tablets. You can also play with the very new Note 3 with connected Samsung watch. Pay attention specially to the latest watch, this is a device of the future. You can also enjoy the latest tablets and test the screen quality and agility.

Samsung has also prepared a great offer for those who still do not have an Android phone. Stop by and pick a leaflet with a discount code for S3 or the Node 3. Great devices!

Keep us posted, place a comment, request new features for KOSeek and stay tuned, we will introduce other new surprises.

Monday, October 14, 2013

New eClub competition

eClub is preparing a new competition. This time we want to support students of the Czech technical universities interested not only in creating a startup but also students interested in solving industrial problems.

So far eClub focused on early startups. During the five competitions we have attracted around fifty teams competing for scholarships. We have invested around 1 million crowns in scholarships. Some of the teams had a very short life. Some of the teams created a company and are on the market till today. Some teams had dramatically changed their business ideas but are still on the market.

The Czech startup scene is also changing. There are many different competitions supporting starting entrepreneurs. Some of the teams are joining them one by one competing for the prices to get support for further development instead of asking VCs to invest. Other teams are engaging to various contracts to fund their favorite project. Neither is ideal but the entrepreneurship is not an easy road. We want to differentiate, the eClub ambition is supporting technical universities students and the high tech projects. We are also want to support students long term, creating conditions for continuous development. Sometimes good stuff takes long to develop. Ideally we would like to support the top students researching new technologies and converting them to industrial products. There are two ways to a product:

  • Startup
  • Technology transfer

So far eClub was supporting just the startupers. This semester we want to make another step ahead and support also the technology transfer, support students working on great projects with clear industrial impact. Therefore we will have two categories in the competition:

  • Startup projects
  • Technological projects. 

We invite all students working on PhD, MSc or BSc theses or other school projects with a vision of a clear technological impact to the technological projects category. The startup rules will be the same. The rules for the technological projects will be also very simple. I will publish the exact rules on the eClub pages soon. The panel of judges will select the best projects based on the following criteria:

  • Innovation
  • Feasibility
  • Industrial impact
  • Special points for existing industrial partner
  • Existing supervisor - extra points

To balance the university and industry views we will select the judges from industry as well as the university faculties.

The competition will have two stages as usual. First the entrants will meet during the dry run Demo Day planned for Nov 11, which is a chance to test the ideas in front of viewers and learning to mediate the ideas. To deliver the best results there will be a presentation by Tomas Pajdla about how to write a technical document giving you some hints on how to put the structure of presentation together. The second presentation will be shortly before Christmas presenting your ideas to a panel of judges.

The judges will select top three projects in the startup as well as the technological projects and the MediaLab will award scholarships for the three winners in both categories. The total of the prices will be in the order of hundreds of thousands. Talk to your friends and get ready. It will be beneficial and will help you in the competition if you get good supervisor and contact in the industry. If you are already preparing your theses think about the industrial impact. Everybody is welcomed! Our aim is to help shaping the ideas and people who are willing to take new challenges and develop new technologies.