Unlocking the Full Experience: The Smart City Experience 2018

Unlocking the Full Experience: The Smart City Experience 2018

23-Oct-2018 by Tasneem Hooghart

Our Startupbootcamp Smart City & IoT (SMC & IoT) Demo Day on October 18th took on a new format this time, vibing to the refreshing theme of a ‘Smart City Experience’. Not only was it a celebration of the past 3 months of intense acceleration and growth for SMC & IoT Class of 2018, it was also an event that focused on the power of collaboration – a vital part of building Smart Cities.

Hosted in partnership with EIT Climate-KIC, EIP Smart Cities & Communities (an initiative of the European Commission) and City of Amsterdam, the Smart City Experience symbolised an international gathering of key stakeholders within the smart city ecosystem who were all dedicated to building safer, more efficient and sustainable smart cities of the future.

“The Smart City Experience has been organised for the first time in this way because we think Smart Cities involve both the public and private sector. That is why we’ve collaborated together with the European Commission, the City of Amsterdam and Climate-KIC. Guests today are coming from different markets, sectors, companies and we even have some representatives from Asia. This definitely makes for interesting networking opportunities and connections!” Manuela Krull, Managing Director, Smart City & IoT Program

Setting the Stage for An Experience

When entering the Johan Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam, you get the feeling that you’re walking in the footsteps of legends. Home to the Ajax football team, the ArenA’s interior boasts a stunning pictorial display of the city’s colourful football history. Moreover, the larger-than-life image of the awe-inspiring talent that was (and still is) Johan Cruijff, was especially stirring as you walked into the event venue.

To kick things off, Manuela Krull, the Program MD of the Smart City & IoT program opened the event with an insightful speech that touched on the realities of Startup Life – the lowlights, the highlights and everything in between! She also emphasised the overarching aim of the event, which was to combine the best of both worlds by bringing together The Hoodies (the startups!) and The Suits (the public and private sectors). Concluding her opening address, Manuela then set the stage for the startups’ pitches, by stressing the importance of disruptive innovation in creating opportunities to build smarter, more economically vibrant cities.

9 Demo Day Pitches with a Punch

9 talented startups from the SMC & IoT Class of 2018 took to the Arena stage and pitched to a roomful of over 250 stakeholders. What have they accomplished during their past 3 months of acceleration? What are their goals for the road ahead and what type of opportunities would they need to reach these goals? One by one the startups delivered inspiring and impressive pitches, detailing the answers to the above questions (and more). Some also announced pilots, partnerships and collaborations with our Smart City & IoT Program partners.

“One of the biggest highlights for Sandd was seeing one of the startups, with whom we’ve worked closely with, give a outstanding pitch today. Knowing how they started and seeing where they are at this point…it has been really satisfying. From a corporate perspective, it is great to see how fast startups are able to develop, work and create a good business model!” – Maarten Albers, New Business and Innovation at Sandd

After the pitches, Stephanie Leonard from TomTom gave a special keynote, reflecting the ‘European’ perspective on the topic of Smart Cities. She re-emphasized how startups are an important element of the Smart City ecosystem. Addressing the diverse group of stakeholders present at the event, she concluded her keynote with this message: It is only by coming together, that we can make this a big success.”

Getting the Most Out of The Experience:

With the pitches of our startups complete, the rest of the program evolved in full force. Here’s a quick look at the different experiences that were in play:

Startup Experiences: The startups set up ‘experiential booths’ to let guests try their solutions/applications at the event itself. For instance, event attendees could use the Bitz app to order refreshments at the venue and TransferHero tailored their solution for that day to offer guests the option of utilising their greener, shared-rides solution, on their way back home from the ArenA.

“The atmosphere here at the Smart City Experience is absolutely great. From doing some demos of our solution at the booth, we can see how enthusiastic people are. This gives us an amazing feeling! 4 months ago we were a travel solution – in the last few months since joining Startupbootcamp’s SmartCity & IoT Program, we’ve basically built a completely new business model, concept and business case. It has been quite a full experience, and a very productive one at that. Today we have something that is solving a problem. And for us, that is great.” – Jasper Deprez, CEO & Co-Founder, Tradler.

Speed-Dating: With the brella app, guests could pre-schedule meetups easily, with each other. These ‘dates’ were possible for any sort of meeting – whether you were an investor looking to meet a startup or a corporate looking to speak with someone from the government sector – the brella app helped event attendees network seamlessly and make meaningful connections. Over 140 meetings took place that day, with 59 of them involving our startups!

Knowledge Squares: This segment was led by the European Commission and focused on different subjects relating to Smart Cities. We had industry experts such as Carlien Roodlink (EIP-SCC), Linda van Duivenbode (EIP-SCC) and Burcu Kuzlak (City of Amsterdam) leading the lively discussions around topics such as ‘Healthy ways to move through the city’, ‘Crowd management’ and ‘A city safe for all’. Set up in this special format, the Knowledge Squares proved to be an impactful way to trigger and connect people and ideas based on a focused theme.

Our final keynote was delivered by Bas Boorsma, author of a New Digital Deal and Managing Director at Rainmaking Urban. Drawing upon his 16+ years experience in ‘Smart Cities’, he closed the event by speaking about the importance of getting the right initiatives and partnerships in place to make Smart City initiatives succeed. He also shared the different stumbling blocks of building Smart Cities and what we can all collectively do, to navigate through them.

All in all The Smart City Experience was a holistic event, complete with experiences that promised something interesting for everyone – whether they came from the startup world, the government sector or the private sector. We’re looking forward to more such collaborative experiences!

“Startupbootcamp has offered us many opportunities. It has been absolutely fantastic. We’ve now zoned-in on our product, done a slight pivot and have focused our product on the real-estate market. All of this wouldn’t have been possible without Startupbootcamp. All the clients that we’ve spoken to, have also been through the networks of Startupbootcamp.” – Shravane Balabasqer, Founder, Prognostic

Here are the 9 startups that pitched at the Smart City Experience:

To track their progress over the last 3 months in more detail, check out the official press release here. If you’d like to get in contact with us or any of the startups from the SMC & IoT Class of 2018, drop us a note!

To relive the moments of the Smart City Experience, check out our facebook album! 

If you’re interested in diving deeper into the topic of Smart Cities, do check out the podcast series that we’ve debuted during the program, in collaboration with our startups and program partners. Episode 4: “How can we drive efficiency within Smart Cities” will be released soon!

Photo credits: Xander XAM Mouthaan


Marketing & Content Lead