Everything there is to know about the CODE_n CONTEST 2018 – an insightful interview with Lisa Flieg

03/29/2018  |  CODE_n Alumni, CODE_n18 Startup CONTEST, Digital Transformation

Truly passionate about startups and entrepreneurship and with an expertise in corporate innovation and startup acceleration, our colleague, Lisa Flieg is the heart and soul of the CODE_n CONTEST. We spoke with her to find out what’s cooking in the CODE_n community and how aspiring young companies can jump into the competition.

Iulia: Hi Lisa! Could you please tell us about yourself and your role within the CODE_n team?

Lisa: Hi Iulia, sure thing, my pleasure! I have been part of the CODE_n team since the beginning of 2017! Having a background in startup acceleration, project management and marketing, I accompany startups from the earliest stage possible on their journey towards building, running and continually scaling their business and try to ease the challenges they face on a daily basis. I’m also reporting on the global activities of our CODE_n community on the blog, feel free to check it out and discover some exciting stories. Most of all, I’m thrilled to organize the 6th CODE_n global startup competition! We’re currently looking for the top 50 most progressive and future-oriented gamechangers driving disrupting business concepts forward on this year’s hot topic – Intelligence X.0.

Iulia: What is the CODE_n CONTEST? What are this year’s focus fields and what made CODE_n choose these tech trends?

Lisa: The CODE_n CONTEST is a global startup competition which rewards visionary business concepts that will shape our digital future. Always on the lookout for entrepreneurs with innovative business models and outstanding technology approaches, the aim of the CONTEST is to identify and promote the most promising companies from around the world. Since 2012 the startup competition has attracted more than 1,900 aspiring firms from 85 countries. More than 250 finalists pitched their models on a global level, starting from prestigious CeBIT to the first new.New Festival in 2016.

Every year we highlight a major overlying theme which can “step up the game” and drive digital transformation further. This year, we’ll focus on “Intelligence X.0 – AI for industry and humans” and more precisely on the following tech categories: “Machine Intelligence”, “Beyond Reality” and “Cryptographic Trust”. After a thorough research, we concluded that novel technologies and corresponding business cases in the above-mentioned fields have the greatest potential to disrupt entire industries.

Iulia: Could you please tell us more about the application process? Who can apply for the CONTEST and what are the criteria?

Lisa: We’re looking for startups that can contribute to the overall festival principle – Explore the DNA of digital innovation. Moreover, the respective companies must have already been founded in 2013 or later. So if you’re one of the brave startup founders out there, ready to challenge the status quo, throw your hat into the ring and seize the chance to embark on this exciting journey! Make sure you apply by May 13 at the latest.

Iulia: What kind of business models is CODE_n looking for?

Lisa: We’re searching for ground-breaking B2B and B2C tech solutions and smart applications to novel sectors of industry, or IT-based business models. It is not essential for the innovation to already be available on the market, but the top use cases should demonstrate a clear focus on the chosen pioneering technologies: Machine Intelligence (robotics, deep/machine learning, natural language processing (NLP), neural networks, or related technologies), Beyond Reality (virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, digital twin, etc) or Cryptographic Trust (blockchain, cybersecurity, edge computing, and more).

Iulia: The startup landscape is by its very own nature extremely competitive and there are already several well-known startup competitions in Germany and worldwide. Except for the big prize, what are the key benefits of participating in the CODE_n CONTEST and what differentiates it from other competitions?

Lisa: That’s true and at CODE_n we’re well aware of that, but unlike any other national or global startup competition, the CODE_n CONTEST goes beyond an annual flagship event where founders pitch in front of a jury. Our goals are much bigger than giving free money to ambitious companies. With each one of our events and annual competitions, our lively CODE_n Community has grown, and all our top yearly finalists are now part of what we like to call “CODE_n Family”. The CODE_n ecosystem provides them constantly with endless opportunities to network, exchange and create valuable contacts for their business, not only during the new.New Festival and CODE_n CONTEST, but also on a long-term basis. We’re thrilled to be able to support them in their efforts to develop their business models, stay the course and facilitate their future collaboration with potential customers and corporations. The top 50 finalists will also bear the quality mark “CODE_n Alumni”.

Besides these long-term goals which lie at the heart of CODE_n’s mission, the top 50 startup finalists will receive free exhibition space at the new.New Festival for three days where they will have the opportunity to showcase their business models, reach and engage with global industry leaders, investors and media partners. The festival represents a crucial first step to getting discovered and making important contacts, but the journey down the road to entrepreneurship doesn’t end here. These finalists will join 252 other CONTEST Alumni and embrace the role of digital pioneers.

As for the big prize, I’d like to let our candidates know that unlike the previous CODE_n CONTEST, this year, the jury consisting of CODE_n team members and CODE_n Partners, will honour up to four outstanding startups and give awards in the following categories:

  • Best Business Model
  • Best Tech Innovation
  • Industry Disruptor
  • Overall Winner

The overall assigned prize money will be €30,000.

Iulia: What piece of advice would you give to startups that want to apply for the CODE_n CONTEST?

Lisa: First of all, take your chance! As you can see, the benefits are compelling. And it’s easy! The application will not take too much of your time. However, please keep in mind that the jury’s verdict will be based on the quality of the presentation, so it’s important to provide valuable details on the nature of your business.

The finalists will be selected according to the following criteria:

  • The degree of innovation embodied in the business model
  • The quality of the business case
  • The quality of the company’s overall presentation
  • The use of innovative technologies
  • The product-market fit

Once you’ve submitted your application, you can lean back and enjoy the opportunities that will arise. We’re looking forward to welcoming you in the CODE_n Community. For further details on the application procedure and background information on the CODE_n CONTEST, I encourage all candidates to get in touch with me. I’d be happy to assist you!

Iulia: What would be your personal highlights of the CONTEST until now?

Lisa: I must say it’s extremely exciting to have the opportunity to supervise the entire competition, be on the trail of hidden innovators waiting to be discovered and get in touch with so many startups on a worldwide level. Together with my colleagues and the scouting team, we are committed to identifying the best talents out there!

Iulia: Lisa, thank you very much for taking the time to meet with me today and for providing such a comprehensive insight into this year’s CODE_n CONTEST.
I can’t wait to meet all these future makers and disruptive innovators!