Airfox | Germany | CODE_n | Netherlands
About three weeks ago, Katie Sedat and myself set off on a journey across the Atlantic to represent Airfox in its global mission to spread the word about what Airfox is doing in the face of a lack in financial inclusiveness within emerging markets. Not knowing what to expect, we optimistically made the trip to Stuttgart, Germany to the CODE_n new.NEW Festival. We were invited to make the trip as a Top 50 finalist in the Start-up Competition in the category of cryptographic trust.
Overall, we spent three days at the festival and shook hands with hundreds of people who attended the event. The event took place at the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart, and was quite the spectacle to behold! There were many innovative projects who were essentially, our competition, and we were overwhelmed with all of the amazing innovations that were all housed under one roof. From robots, to virtual reality, blockchain, augmented reality and a variety of other bleeding-edge technologies, we were absolutely entrenched in some of the most interesting ideas that the start-up world currently has to offer.
During the event, Katie took part in several events within the festival, including two pitches and a blockchain panel. We were overwhelmed with the positive feedback we received from other participants, staff, and some of the sponsors from the event. Daimler Financial visited us on multiple occasions, and we had a great time sharing with them the plans for Airfox to provide inclusive financial services to the millions of underserved people in Brazil.
On the second day of the event, we were invited to a special breakfast, where we were pleasantly surprised to hear the announcement that Airfox has placed in the top 10 of the best start-ups for the CODE_n Contest! We were told that we would have to pitch on stage in front of hundreds of people, including scouts and top executives that attend CODE_n looking for the next great ideas. Katie immediately got to work. We were a mixture of nervous, excited, and thrilled, but when push came to shove, we knew what we had to do.
Because the CODE_n staff are meticulous and awesome, Airfox had the great pleasure to be the first of the top 10 to pitch on stage (It was alphabetical order). The moment was here, and there would be four separate awards to win. The room was charged, intense, and quite full, but that did not stop our VP of Marketing, Katie Sedat. The rules were simple: each start-up had exactly 2:30 to give their best pitch to the crowd, and at the end of the time, each representative would have to stop their pitch, no matter what. It did not help that there was a 20-foot television screen with a countdown timer on it, but nevertheless, Katie’s performance was flawless. The crowd cheered. We sat down. Nine other amazing start-ups dazzled the crowd, and then the jury deliberated for several hours.
We won, and we won big! Much like being the first pitch, when the results were announced, we were first up with the Best Business Model award. We were absolutely thrilled. I was jumping up and down cheering both Katie and Airfox on. They announced two other winners (congrats Sixdof.Space for Best Tech Innovation, and thingsTHINKING for Best Industry Disruptor!). What we did not know is that a start-up could win multiple awards, so you can imagine our surprise when Airfox was also named best overall start-up for the CODE_n Contest! Words cannot describe the level of satisfaction we felt in that moment, but I think the look on Katie’s face tells the story well. Ultimately, we were proud to represent Airfox as “a mission driven company” on the global stage.
After that amazing event (thank you CODE_n!), we were off to the Netherlands to have a special meet-up with some of our closest and most passionate community members. We have developed, what I consider to be friendships with our Dutch community, and it was truly a joy to finally put faces to the names that we have been interacting with on a daily basis for the last year. I truly believe we have one of the greatest communities in blockchain and cryptocurrency, and Katie and myself were certainly so happy to meet the group. Many had to travel by train to get to us, but we managed to have a great event. We had amazing cheese, stroopwafels (thanks!), and conversation well into the night. It was honestly my favorite part of the trip. Not only is Amsterdam one of the most historic and beautiful cities I could have ever imagined, the people were equally as incredible. What a trip. We were certainly sad to leave.
Until next time…
Billy Ryan — Airtoken Community Manager