IE Venture Day, the startup event of the year, was held in the IE Tower for the first time this past December. Students, alumni, faculty, investors, entrepreneurs and more gathered both virtually and in person to participate in an event that emcompasses IE University's entrepreneurial spirit.
What is Venture Day?
Venture Day is an event where IE University students, alumni, and anyone with an interest in entrepreneurship come together in the spirit of both competition and comradery. Lasting the better part of an afternoon, the event serves as the culmination of many students’ hard work in the IE Venture Lab—a startup incubator at IE University—as well as a forum where those interested can learn and network in the technology startup space.
The most recent Venture Day took place on December 2, 2021 at the IE Tower in Madrid, with the additional possibility of tuning in online. Regardless of their placement in the finals, all of the participating Venture Lab startups got the opportunity to give their one-minute elevator pitches. Alternating between startup pitches, panels, networking sessions and speakers—all with transitions, for the eighth year running, from Venture Day band Track Dogs—Venture Day 2021 was a great success.
More than just a competition
The first speakers of the day were IE Venture Lab’s very own managing director, Paris de L’Etraz, and the founder and CEO of SOGO Energy, Jeffrey Char. The two sat down to discuss the role of technology in building a sustainable future, a very insightful conversation on the challenges and advantages that technology will carry into the future.
Following this fireside chat, a panel of four IE University students joined moderator Annick Janssens—deputy director of the IE Venture Lab—on stage for a panel discussion. Bachelor’s students Gabriele Morace and Nur Younis, and master’s students Phyenyo Mabokela and Maria Francisca Paz & Miño, share a common interest in entrepreneurship and leadership.
In the panel, Giving back in a competitive world, the students discussed a hopeful changing tide where companies are more conscientious about sustainable and ethical matters and take actions that align with these principles.
The panel came to a close and was followed by six runner-up teams’ elevator pitches. Once the pitches were complete, there was a break for networking. The group then reassembled for the 10 finalist pitches, jury deliberations and the awards.
And the winner is…
After all the finalists gave their pitch, the jurors gathered to deliberate who should be selected for the top three. The jury was composed of 18 finance professionals, many of whom work in venture capital and investment funding. The following three startup pitches were the winners of IE Venture Day 2021:
First place: SubCool
Subcool provides an online platform to buy and read Japanese manga so that manga authors can have easier access to international markets, while simultaneously cutting down on piracy. Currently, SubCool is being piloted in France, with a built-in added value of also translating the manga to French.
Second place: Änkor
Using blockchain and NFT technology, Änkor is providing a more secure way to sell and resell tickets online so that ticket issuers and event organizers can maintain better control of their events by preventing the sale of fraudulent tickets.
Third place: Revive
The focus of Revive is the maintenance and care of luxury goods, connecting consumers to luxury aftercare service providers via Revive’s online platform. Their mission is to digitize and streamline in order to initiate brand trust and create a positive user experience.
An adventure-packed day
IE University’s Venture Day provides great exposure, feedback and even potential funding for all of the presenting startups. In the past decade, startups that were founded at IE University have received over 80 million euro in funding. For IE Venture Day attendees who do not pitch their startup, there are many other opportunities to network and connect during the event.
It’s worth noting that IE Venture Day itself is a global concept, with multiple events held around the world every year, from Shanghai to Santiago de Chile. These events are a showcase of the innovators and problem-solvers of the future. The world can seem at times uncertain, with a seemingly growing list of challenging problems, but knowing that there are so many driven people working to solve these problems provides reassurance for the future.