Rise Up Start Up — 48 hours at UPRIS3 Festival Amsterdam

UPRIS3 Fstival Amsterdam organised by Limerick man Paul O’Connell (the one that hasn’t retired yet) was a whirl wind 48 hours blast of refreshing fun for the European startup event scene.

Based in ‘the Box’ a full time nightclub / venue (and part time excellent event venue!) UPRIS3 has grown over the last 3 years into a 2 day startup meetup, workshop wonderland and long format main stage panel talks on subjects ranging from Intrepreneurship to building startup hubs and beerpreneurs to angel investment think ins.

One thing that I loved at UPRIS3 was the clarity of the startups not only in their pitches but also their stand signs, which at a glance I knew their rock solid value proposition and also their asks of what they need from this event. Smart. Straightforward. Loved it!

Next morning it was into UPRIS3 at early o’clock to prepare for the ‘Rome In A Day Panel’ which was all about ecosystems in Europe. A big thanks to the panel as I learned quite a lot about the challenges they all face which aren’t very dissimilar to what I see at home. A grassroots first approach to build strong startup ecosystems across Europe that work together ultimately came out as the defining conclusion.

There was just enough time to assemble as many of the startup folk that had traveled from Ireland (and further afield) to UPRIS3 for a gigantapic before the pitch battle!

After a series of panels, catch-ups and a delightful photo with as many of the startup folk from Ireland that we could find.

It was straight on to the one, the only, the UPRIS3 mega pitch battle!

I hadn’t come across a format like this before and I liked it. I like it a lot.

Startups went head to head in the quarter finals to win the crowd vote to progress through each round. As the competition progressed startups pitching prowess was under scrutiny as they had to answer random questions about their team or product to keep the crowd on their side! For the finals startups were pitted aginst each other to see who could figure out who was weaker and they basically grilled each other like a steak on a George foreman grill. It was grizzly contest but it was fascinating all the same. So here’s how it went down:

Mila
Mila helps you turn contacts in contracts with the smart contact app.

Tag layer
Personalised content per website visit per user for experiences that are more relevant to you.

Winner: Tag Layer

Haiku
Bikes accessories that connect to your mobile phone with gesture control. Pretty cool!

Shake on
Have you ever met people at a conference and forgotten their names right away… Well Shake On leverages the power of a handshake with a smart bracelet to swap details! This mightn’t work for my fist bump hello method…

Winner: Shake On

Sparq
The replacement for coffee might just be this product, according to the founder as they’ve brought the area of nootropics to the European market.

Poopy Cat
‘Clean letter boxes are a pretty s***ty job’ and this founder had the answer with a new way to deal with kitty litter doing pretty well as they’re active in 12 countries right now.

Winner: Poopy Cat

Surance
Helping you save smart for your pension was Surance pitching at UPRIS3.

Backseat Travel
Helping the back seat travelers have a better car journey is this company creating content to help kids have a better travel experience while learning about everything around them on their journey!

Winner: Back Seat Travel

Red votes won 4 for 4 in the quarter finals which meant that the following startups going head to head in the semi finals:

Tag Layer VS ShakeOn & Back Seat Travel VS Poopy Cat

From here on teams were given random phrases to explain key points that defined their teams and products so the assembled voters could get a better feeling for who to vote for in the UPRIS3 Festival pitch battle.

It might have been red votes in the first round but in the semi finals the green teams won out. It was down to Poopy Cat and Taglayer to see who could win over the crowd to be crowned winner of the UPRIS3 startup pitch competition.

First off a pretty interactive way of using the crowd to embody how personalized website content can make the web a better experience. Next up Poopy Cat founder went straight back to basics and gave a quick history lesson of how through failure he has rebuilt himself to have a startup that has traction and is going to do something great in the cat market.

Following on from that in the next round each founder was asked why the other company shouldn’t win… Scary stuff which in some way was reminiscent of a safe version of the movie 8 mile…very slightly like the movie 8 mile.

Poopy Cat founder schooled (a word I believe millennials and the actor Will Ferrell seem to know the meaning of mostly) the TagLayer founder in the history of his own company and competitors and corrected him on the name of Poopy Cat… their claws were out.

Thankfully Poopy Cat didn’t have to use up one of their 9 lives as the crowd vote went their way.

So that was that, or, as they or may not say in Amsterdam, het einde UPRIS3 came to close and all in, that was one event thats up there with the best of them. I got to meet some great people from all over Europe in so many different sections of the startup ecosystem in Europe, check out some really great startup companies and learn some things I’ll put into play when I get back home.

However, if you’re not a friend of words when you saw this article and the embedded tweets didn’t float your boat then here’s a little video to show you want happened!

Good work UPRIS3. Good work indeed.