Accelerating Growth and Impact - Booster Week 2

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Ten startups have made it to the second week of the 2018 Booking Booster. While we’re still only at the beginning of the programme, these participants have taken huge strides already. We want to share a bit more about what they’ve been up to and who has been involved in their transformation so far.

 

Shooting for the Moon

On Thursday, co-lead trainer, Jasper, took the participants through their first strategy session, in which he asked them to identify their ‘moonshot’ impact that we should find in newspaper headlines in the future. It was great to hear these bold ideas and the ambition that these entrepreneurs have.

Meenu and Veronika from Sakha Consulting Wings aspire to make it so the headline reads, “3000 women chauffeurs provide safe travels to more than 20 million women travellers across India, transforming their own lives as they transform public spaces.”

Alvaro and Camilo of Wheel the World write, “Thanks to Wheel the World, Millions of people with disabilities finally have explored the world.”

We’ll share these articles on our blog when they are published in the future. ;-) Looking forward to it.

 


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VIP Guests

We knew Friday was going to be the most intense day for the startups thus far. To start the day, our CEO and Booking Booster supporter, Gillian Tans, stopped in to welcome our startups and answer a few of their questions. Startups asked Gillian a bit about her transition from COO to CEO, advice on leading their own companies to success and a question on women empowerment in leadership roles.

The startups will see Gillian again at the Final, where she will say a few words, watch their pitches and celebrate together.

 

 

 

Following this session, the startups met their dedicated Booking.com mentors for the first time in person. While each pairing has briefly met on a call prior to coming to the programme, most relationships seem established and deep, as well as mutually beneficial.

William and Naomi from KITRO came away from their meeting with their mentor feeling focused; “she’s great at setting milestones that will help us immensely leading up to when we launch our product.”

Carmen, working with Hotel con Corazon, shared her thoughts: “ We are beginning a journey together, and I have no doubt we will constructively challenge and inspire each other along the way.  I used to do competitive ballroom dancing, and in many ways this mentoring relationship is like having a really good dance partner where we train hard together and both come out stronger.”

With the support of their mentors, the startups then faced the judges for the first time for 10 minutes for a 30 second pitch and a bi-directional Q&A session. The startups were certainly nervous to enter the room, but as they emerged, a sense of calm had come over them.

Many used their time with the judges to ask directional questions - how they should proceed or where they should focus - while other asked validation questions. Mint and Achi from HiveSters said, “as the judges gave us feedback on our application, we wanted to present our solutions. We received the validation we were looking for. We also realised that they share a vision for what we can do in the future, even if it’s a bit unexpected”

Kyle and Jack from Keteka have been in several accelerator programmes before and left the judges' Q&A pleased with the opportunity to meet with them. “Compared to other accelerators, it allows the judges to get to know us and our business and ultimately give more nuanced feedback on our business and impact. It makes it more about the progress we’ve made since our application, rather than what we can deliver in a compact pitch.”

The next time the judges see the startups will be at the Final on Thursday 31May at Tobacco Theater to decide who takes home grants.

 

Weekend doesn’t mean the work ends

While this was a three-day weekend for many in the Netherlands, that wasn't the case for our participants (or trainers for that matter). On Saturday and Sunday, the startups met with our lead trainers Adam and Jasper for in-depth one-on-one sessions on impact and strategy, respectively.

Our trainers have already seen how these entrepreneurs have refocused, shaped or structured the way they work in order maximise their potential and communicate it most effectively.

Yesterday, we spent the day at Zoku for a full day of trainings followed by a group trip to the Movement Hotel at Bijlmer Bajes. Last year, over 100 Booking.com employees volunteered to help create this pop up hotel that provides job training for asylum seekers in the hospitality industry. The startups were given a tour of the hotel to see how they’ve transformed the prison to use tourism as a force for good.

To end the evening, the startups enjoyed a dinner downstairs at A Beautiful Mess which also seeks to integrate refugees into the Dutch workforce by creating a safe transition.


Today the startups are each meeting with several Booking.com experts for one-on-one sessions in which they can get tailored feedback and guidance in a variety of areas. For the rest of the week, these expert sessions are mixed in with their trainings and consistent work on their investor decks and 100 Day Challenge. We will be back next week to give an update on what the startups have been up to and what you can expect in the final week.

Take a look back on the blog from last week to read about how we kicked off and read about each startup in their in-depth entries.