Jakub, what is hub:raum Krakow’s mission in Central and Eastern Europe?
We are the innovation hub for the CEE region powered by Deutsche Telekom. We search for innovative and committed digital start-ups and connect them with national operators, business units and the network of Deutsche Telekom. In fact, we specifically look for start-ups able to support Deutsche Telekom and also to address specific market needs across Eastern and South Eastern Europe, including Poland, Czech, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Croatia and others.
Could you please explain that? What exactly are you looking for in a start-up?
As part of Deutsche Telekom, we are interested in digital innovations – new communication tools, internet services etc. We look for innovations with a solid business case. And, since the CEE region contains very heterogeneous markets, it is important to consider individual local conditions. In one country we may focus on IPTV, in another on content or transportation solutions. So, we proactively look for start-ups that support achieving Deutsche Telekom’s and our own targets in a given region.
And what are the criteria for selecting start-ups?
When selecting potential start-ups, the key approach focuses on the so-called ‘Deutsche Telekom Fit’ – designed to determine which idea or project might suit a specific local market and how it can support Deutsche Telekom in doing business. As said, it is important that we can profit from their input to generate new and sustainable revenues.
However, it is not all about profit. Equally important is a startup team standing behind the idea – their passion and commitment to the project.
How can start-ups benefit from hub:raum Krakow?
As part of our incubator and accelerator program, we offer substantial support in developing start-ups: seed funding of up to €80.000, mentoring, access to office space across Europe and to other Deutsche Telekom’s assets. Apart from financing, we help start-ups launching their business, getting access to business networks and customers. We open certain doors for them that young start-ups usually cannot open on their own. And we provide overall guidance, for instance how and where to invest in order to develop their business.
But in the end it is indeed a win-win situation for everyone involved. Aside from the mentioned advantages, for us this really is an outside-in process: we constantly get fresh, new perspectives on our own products and services.
Could you name some projects you’re currently involved in?
We cooperate with several digital start-ups providing innovative solutions for the B2B market. Take the connected car platform Amodo from Croatia with cutting-edge solutions helping insurance and leasing companies as well as car rentals and repair shops. It provides data on drivers’ behaviour and real-time monitoring of vehicles. Another example is AngelCam from the Czech Republic: a unique SaaS platform for security cameras. With AngelCam you can connect any camera to the platform and use add-on services like data storage or road traffic analysis – all services are available from the cloud. As a monitoring service it can be offered to cities or private companies.
Among other things, we are currently focusing projects dealing with smart beacons – which are, in fact, an integral part of the Internet of Things. With beacons you can locate and keep track of basically everything. This technology can be used for public transportation, universities, hospitals, parking spaces and much more. As an example, the start-up Ifinity from Poland – one of our ChallengeUp top 12 start-ups – is setting up thousands of beacons around Warsaw to facilitate mobility for the visually impaired. The possibilities smart beacons offer are truly infinite.