The first edition of “Next Top Startup” took place in Barcelona over the course of June 16th and 17th. Contestants braved the journey from as far afield as South Africa and Brazil just to take part in the competition so at f3fundit we believed it was extremely important to give the participants real added value, key learnings, and new connections that will help facilitate their growth both in terms of strategy, commercialisation, and raising capital.
Two intensive days of workshops saw many teams work closely with the experts to answer doubts and improve their business models to the extent that the overall response was very positive. The winners – Touchland – were asked to join CEO Collaborative Forum and invited to their main forum where more than 100 CEOs of growth companies with a combined turnover greater than $3 billion are present. In addition, five other teams are either being put forward for financing or in talks with our experts to continue collaboration in some form. Over the coming weeks and months we will continue to support them and hope to confirm more news about the progress these ventures are making following their time with us.
As with any competition, some teams fared better than others and we feel that the value they received from the competition depended greatly on their approach and openness to the experts, as well as other teams.
On another note, we would like to thank all the people outside of f3fundit who helped make Next Top Startup a reality, these include the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, the organizers of the Day of the Entrepreneur, ESADE Business School, CEO-CF, Maroon Analytics and both Freixenet and Damm for providing refreshments for the networking cocktail that took place after the final pitches at the Mies van der Rohe Pavillion.
However, aside from in kind services we had hoped that the business community – and especially those companies who actively claim to support entrepreneurial initiatives – would have come forward and helped sponsor the final prize. While here at f3fundit we did what we could and waited until the final moments to hear word of a cash prize for the contestants, at the end none came. Even though it was a freshman effort we can honestly say that we considered the level of experts, and contestants as well as the locations in which the competition took place to have been sufficient to at least secure some form of commitment, unfortunately, we were disappointed in the outcome as surely as the winners were.
In all however, the event was a success, both the experts and participants were overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the experience and so with that, we close the 1st chapter of Next Top Startup, and open the second. Be sure to check the site for info on the next competition and our development of the community…