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.

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