Indiegogo hotshot pocketing HITS jury prize
Codie, a remote-controlled robot tank devised to teach coding playfully, was selected by the jury of HITS (Hungarian Innovation TechShow) as the top contender among the 17 tech projects exhibiting and pitching at the event. The audience gave its top prize to Route4U, an application easing urban navigation for the wheelchair bound; and Xeropan, an interactive language teaching app snatched the prize for the best presentation. See our recap video (in a short and a long version) down below, and the photos taken at the event here.
„The digital revolution has reached new heights in the past years. Now that the physical and virtual infrastructure is more or less in place, the time has come to build a full range of services on top of it” – said Roland Jakab, president at the Hungarian Mobility and Multimedia Clusterand managing director at Ericsson Hungary, in his opening speech. In the era of the networked society, everything that can, will connect to the internet. „This trend is fully at play here at the 7th HITS, demonstrating that the local startups are keeping pace with the global vanguard” – Jakab added.
On behalf of HITS’s top-level sponsor, Roland Krascsenics, director of non-core business areas at Magyar Telekom explained how innovation tends to arise from the productive interaction between startups and corporations. Forward-looking corporations know it in their bones that they need to stay unceasingly open towards new startups and new business models. „We, Magyar Telekom, have been continuously working on keeping up this openness, and I’m happy to see that the startups around us have also been moving in the right direction, focusing much more on the customer and on finding the right business model than just a few years ago” – pointed out Krascsenics.
In the name of the event’s government patron, Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Péter Szíjjártó, Minister of State for Cultural and Science Diplomacy at the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade István Íjgyártó emphasized, among other things, that the Hungarian government aspired to turn Budapest into a regional startup center by the end of its current mandate. The Minister of State drew the attention of the audience to the upcoming conference of the International Telecommunications Union, which will be organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Budapest in October this year.
The opening remarks were followed by a fireside chat with Péter Tánczos, managing partner at private equity and venture capital firm Euroventures Capital, which has made five successful exits in the past year and half alone – an achievement that has raised the VC firm into the global elite. Interviewed by MMCluster director Barnabás Málnay, Tánczos told the audience about the stories of the latest exits and about his investment philosophy. Answering a question regarding Euroventures’ “anti-portfolio” (companies that the firm could have invested in but regretfully did not), Tánczos mentioned LogMeIn, which they deemed overvalued at the time when the opportunity presented itself.
The distinguished guest of the next fireside chat was Stanford psychologist and researcher Megan Jones, co-founder and Chief Science Officer at online mental health coaching provider Lantern, who was hosted by serial entrepreneur and Digital Factory founder Sabie Valner. The third fireside chat featured former Nokia lead product manager Ville Ylläsjärvi, co-founder of super-fast-growing Finnish IoT startupHaltian and its new venture, open-source IoT smart developer device Thingsee. Ylläsjärvi was interviewed by Prezi product manager Emer Kirrane. And finally in the string of fireside chats came Felix Häusler, co-founder of Austrian smart business chat solution and browser tabs killer ChatGrape, which had recently received investment from Zynga founder Mark Pincus and Betaworks venture partner and Facebook head of new product development Josh Miller. This conversation was again hosted by MMCluster director Barnabás Málnay.
As always, the backbone of the event was the pitch rally of the exhibitors. The session was moderated by Emer Kirrane and Kitchen Budapest program manager Orsi Forster. The short description of the projects can be found on the exhibitors page of the HITS website.
Though not presenting at the pitch session, among the exhibitors visitors could see Magyar Telekom’s MEDIQue patient management system for emergency departments. The system, already in use at a Szeged hospital, provides up-to-date information to doctors and patients about waiting times, procedures, and details relevant for the patients’ diagnosis.
At the end of the day, the jury retired to deliberate and decided to give the top prize to Indiegogo-campaign-hardened Codie, while the audience picked Route4U as its favorite, and the prize of the best presentation went to Xeropan. The 7th HITS ended with some more networking and wine tasting. See our picture galery of the event here, and the recap videos below.
Thanks for joining us, see you next year again!