Today, on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, I shared this with our Pioneers community. I decided to publish it as it also discusses the meaningfulness of ever-growing startup events, gives insights on how we run Pioneers and last but not least could be helpful to startups that share our vision and want to change the world for the better.
There are so many problems out there that we are concerned about every day. But what if you had the power to change the world for the better?
This is what we asked ourselves when we tried to establish Pioneers six years ago. Back in 2009 we had started Pioneers with a budget of 200 bucks and a 40-participant event. It has been a long and windy road to become an international relationship builder in the startup world. We learned a lot. Most importantly we never forgot where we came from and why we started this. Our mission to support startups to pioneer and enable them to change the world was always deep in our hearts in all we did.
Juergen and I – along with our team at Pioneers – share a vision that technology and entrepreneurship could not only shape our own future but that of the world around us. A lot of innovation was – and obviously still is – driven by exciting startups like Ekso Bionics, Aeromobil, Rimac Automobili, Unlimited Tomorrow, Bellabeat, and Viv.
We had made it our mission to find the most outstanding, innovative entrepreneurs at a very early stage and then support the heck out of them until they succeeded! We are creating ecosystems between investors, corporates, and startups in Materials & Manufacturing, Financial Services, Mobility & Transportation, Business & Productivity, Life Sciences & Agriculture, Energy & Utilities as well as Lifestyle & Entertainment.
By far the most important value that we have delivered to date is to connect the right people and enable relationships that matter. Now we want to build what worked.
Today, we want to take this whole thing one step further. The goal is to provide an infrastructure, tools, and services so that you guys can build business relationships that matter and we can increase the success rate of the startups we support.
In fact we can only achieve that goal if we grow in the overall quality of relationships that we help to establish and when everyone contributes to the community.
As our first step towards that goal, we will run an “invite-application policy” for our community that will ensure not only a diverse mix of professions, backgrounds, and creativity, but also a high level of overall quality.
This is why we are introducing the “Pioneers500” program, what will be a juried selection of the 500 most promising early-stage companies of the year. However, we are not going to identify these startups on our own – the selection of the Pioneers500 will be done in collaboration with pioneers that we met along our journey:
The likes of Techstars, 500 Startups, Seedcamp, and Accel Partners, Index Ventures, IndieBio, together with media partners from Wired and Forbes, as well as industry experts like Adam Cheyer (Co-founder Siri and Viv), Chris Barton (Co-founder Shazam) or Daniel Kraft (Singularity University) will help us identify the best 500 startups each year.
We provide two team members of each of the 500 startups access to the Pioneers Festival, and the chance to earn additional mentoring, and training, as well as to connect with investors, tech corporates, and media and ultimately become ‘Pioneer of the Year’.
We made it our mission to support outstanding, innovative early-stage entrepreneurs on their road to success. With the Pioneers500 we are going to take responsibility and help change the world for the better.