The 6th edition of Base Camp gave 33 early-stage startups a spark to move mountains long after the event

Since 2018, Garage48 and Superangel have used the Base Camp hackathon format as a means to boost the community and give early-stage startups the final push that is needed to get their machine and growth going. Now that the Base Camp hackathon is turned into a fully online event, we’ve been able to offer a ticket to the wildest hackathon ride to more teams than ever.

“Base Camp has this magic around it that it makes you achieve anything ten times faster. But the thing is that you don´t just get value from the 72-hours. A large portion of the value is actually what comes afterwards - the open doors, the support and guidance, new team members and in our case, an advisor.” - Martin Kalamees, co-founder and CEO of Werk

Base Camp hackathon is a no-strings-attached event from entrepreneurial investors to awesome early-stage startups. Over the years, we have been a springboard for ambitious early-stage companies and boosted over 76 startups. The latest edition of the Base Camp hackathon gathered close to 100 applications in which we carefully chose 33 fierce early-stage startups to enter the competition. These teams took up the challenge to set a laser-focus for 72-hours and to get in improvements, that otherwise would take weeks.

“In just 72-hours we got an insane amount of drive and work done. We were able to test 11 hypotheses. This would normally take us a couple of weeks.” - Genia Trofimova, co-founder and CEO of Introwise

Base Camp Spring 2021 also had a lot of firsts. Until now, our alumni teams had collectively raised 18M€ post-hackathon but for the first time ever, a company raised 80K€ during the event! It was also the first time we had a startup that was participating in the event also mentoring fellow contestants. In fact, it was Superangel portfolio company Remato, who probably has the title of ‘Most Base Camp hackathons attended’. If it proves anything then it’s the fact that Base Camp caters to startups in various stages - from proof of concept to prototype to actually having a fully working business and product already out there.

Base Camp Spring 2021 showed us that the quality of the teams was higher than ever before. The 33 early-stage startups from all across Europe showcased that the limit does not exist when it comes to proving to mentors and investors that they have what it takes to go beyond what they would normally do.

From closing 80k from investors, getting 200 signups to a founder fit tool, building automated brand rating data-gathering for more than 850 brands to walking out from the hackathon with a working solution that is ready to launch, an UI/UX overhaul of the product, recruiting a team member from the individual participants and achieving first revenue of 150 EUR from 4 paying customers - these are just a handful of wins that the teams managed to accomplish during the short period!

“The project that we chose for the weekend was planned to last 6 months and we feel that a huge portion of work got done during Base Camp. We were able to walk out of the hack with actually working solutions to publish!” - Kelly Lilles, co-founder and CEO of ALPA Kids

“Base Camp Spring 2021 was a perfect environment for us to start working on the product instead of continuously talking about it.” - Gregory Ovsiannykov, co-founder of Transaqt

The secret sauce of the Base Camp hackathon is the mentors and experts, who we pull in for this event to help the startups move forward. They are the people who are really ready to help the teams without any personal agenda. Our mentors and field experts, ranging from marketing, sales, fundraising, and business development to design and product development conducted close to 120 mentoring sessions with the startups.

“I ended up having nine 1:1 sessions where I mainly discussed topics related to sales, marketing/communication, growth and new market expansions. It was refreshing and happy to see that the majority of the startups were well prepared and had good questions. I tried to challenge them a bit to see how deeply they had thought about certain topics.” - Kristina Randver, Head of Industry at Google Baltics

In addition to the 1:1 mentoring sessions and checkpoints, we delivered two workshops on storytelling and sales. Thank you to Lior Shoham, a TED and TEDx coach, and Tal Shmueli for teaching the startups how to successfully improve their storytelling capabilities. If there’s one point you should take away from this session (although it was more like 100), it’s to put your audience first. Make them care about your problem because remember: “Someone who's wealthy will never understand hunger”. Patrick Collins, the Head of Growth at Startup Wise Guys, took startups to an insanely intense and practical sales journey by sharing the tips and tricks on how to go from 0 to 10k in 3 months. He also broke the law of nature by being at two places at once - Tenerife and Palo Alto Club in Tallinn. You don’t have to wonder how he did it - just check out the session recording. Base Camp startups said they have to watch it again about 10 times to digest all the useful information.

We also hosted 2 panel discussions on how to impress investors and deal with burnout. Thank you to Liina Laas from the Better Fund, Rainer Sternfeld from NordicNinja VC and Marek Kiisa from Superangel for an interesting discussion around what the investors are looking for in an early-stage startup. As Marek Kiisa put it, startups should be like Super Marios - full of energy and looking for shortcuts and smart ways to overcome obstacles on the 72-hour journey. Work hard but be smart about it, right? Thank you to Aleksander Tõnnisson, Triin Kask, and Maido Janke for sharing your own stories on burnout as they are and how to protect your team against it. Burnout is a dark side of light-bringers. It’s a real condition and you’re not crazy if you feel burned out. This may be one of the most sincere, raw panels hosted in this ecosystem, and we hope that at least 1 person can find a takeaway from it, and avoid burning out.

But who are the winners? The startups were assessed on 4 main criteria: team, traction, business model, and progress during Base Camp. The jury, consisting of investors and seasoned entrepreneurs, had a hard time choosing the best of the best because, in truth, all the teams deserved attention and praise.

OVERALL WINNER OF THE BASE CAMP HACKATHON - ALPA Kids. An Estonian educational technology company developing culture-based digital learning games for preschool-age children.

1st RUNNER UP - ROI Financial Technologies. A platform that provides ETF investing and financial coaching to help beginners start investing with confidence.

2nd RUNNER UP - FleetGuru. A fleet management app that does the work of an entire department.

Future Unicorn Award - Edufy. A social and educational app that creates communities right where they have to be. It connects students to a voice chat/text chat based on the grade and the subject/topic they're in and learning.

Moonshot Award - VAAL Airships. Take advantage of the unique vantage point of high altitude platform to provide connectivity advantages and surveillance opportunities over any other technology.

Superangel AI Award - Ender Turing. The most accurate, secure, and insightful speech-to-text built for enterprises

The winner and runner-ups were in a tough competition with 8 startups in the finals:

  • Electricview - Optimized energy management.

  • Koble - A software platform that helps founders succeed in the early stages of building a startup.

  • Dotty - Wellness app for fashion. Empowering you to buy better.

  • VITS - An online platform to manage health and safety processes in your organisation.

  • WiseDrive - Improving the car maintenance experience.

  • VideoCV - Great people don’t stand out on paper. VideoCV interview tool helps you increase your hiring productivity by quickly revealing candidates’ social qualities without meeting them directly.

  • Werk - B2B marketplace for construction work.

  • sMover - sMover cures the four pains in real estate of time, money, transparency, and safety helping renters, buyers, sellers, and investors control their real estate journey entirely online.

Garage48 and Superangel would like to thank all startups that applied, participated, and made the 6th edition of the Base Camp so amazing. We’re happy to welcome back any previous teams and always keen to meet new startups. We would also like to give a big shoutout to our exclusive mentor crew. One big applause for the organizing team as well - Merit Vislapu, Kaari Kink, Kalev Kaarna, Joao Rei. And our virtual events couldn’t happen without the help of the production team - Raido and Tiit from MindMedia.

Stay tuned for Base Camp Autumn 2021 and keep following our social media channels for updates!

You have a chance to relive the event:

  1. Panel discussion “How to impress investors in 72-hours?”
  2. Sales Workshop by Patrick Collins
  3. Panel discussion “How to deal with burnout and take care of your employees in an early-stage startup?”
  4. Top 11 pitches and award ceremony

About the author

merit vislapu

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