Last Friday night Joerg and Daniel returned from their 6-day road trip to Poland. They met interesting people, gave speeches on events, hosted a dinner party and took a deep dive into the Polish startup ecosystem. If you are keen to know what happened on their trip, here is their logbook for you:
Sunday, September 13
We arrived in Gdańsk in the morning and met ReBuy-founder Marcus Börner. Together with Marcus we transferred to Sopot where Marcus took us to a traditional Polish lunch. That meant we needed to win the battle over great beef tartar, delicious piroggi and quite strong beer first, before we could take up the final fight with our presentation slights for the nights’ event: KickAss Conference. This event was not only special because of its great location with a breathtaking sea view but also gave us the possibility to connect with entrepreneurs for the first time of this trip. After the event we had the chance to meet the organizing team and different angel investors for dinner.
Monday, September 14
We started our transfer to Warszawa before 8 in the morning. After a quick lunch we met with officials of the TVN network who are also active investors with their accelerator called tvnventures. Then we met up with Konrad and Marcin, the two founders of Valueberg who had helped us organizing the dinner party for the evening. The guests represented an interesting cross-section of the Polish startup society. After excellent food and even better conversations we ended the day with an original Polish vodka shot which should not remain the last one of our trip ;-).
Tuesday, September 15
After almost no sleep we met for breakfast with the company builder Dirlango who’s founders shared their very interesting approach with us on how they build companies. Then we went straight to meeting the guys from D-Raft who gave us a great example of how to connect startups with corporates in a way both sidesbenefit greatly from it. After this meeting we continued our trip to Kraków where we arrived in the late evening at our hotel in the historic city centre. Ending the day with a traditional dinner once again and the obligatory vodka shot (yes, exploring the eating- and drinking- culture was also important to us!) we were more than ready for bed.
Wednesday, September 16
After seeing the stunning sights of Kraków in the morning light and deeply regretting to not having more time to spend exploring the city, we met the guys of Innovation Nest, the leading VC in Kraków. Their office was really impressive with a direct view on the Vistula river although Joerg was sure he could not work there and would constantly be distracted by the beautiful scenery. For lunch we were in best hands: Mateusz, the founder of Omni Calculator and an alumni of our accelerator program took care of us. We lunched at a very cool place that definitely can compete with the hippest startup locations of Berlin. After meeting more investors in the afternoon we proceeded our trip to Gdańsk. The 600km drive took us more than 8 hours and we could think of thousands of other activities we would prefer to do (like having traditional Polish food and vodka for instance!).
Thursday, Septmber 17
This morning we took the time to take care of all the operational work we could not do when on the road. After that we met the people of the Gdańsk-based Starter Accelerator and had some time for exchange of ideas. Also we attended a speed dating with some startups before having lunch with a group of roughly 10 people of the local startup community. It was amazing to see how well connected everyone within the Tricity (Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot) ecosystem is and how friendly and cooperative the vibe among the Polish startup entrepreneus was. This was something that really impressed us and we did not experience this for the first time of our trip through the Polish startup landscape. In the evening we attended the finals of the National Polish Startup Awards where Joerg had the honour to hand over two awards to the fortunate winners. Unfortunately, we could not stay longer and had to continue our trip to Poznan. However, we used the opportunity and gave three other entrepreneurs a lift so we still could have some interesting conversations.
Friday, September 18
After our first breakfast with a local investor and company builder in Pozńan we dared to have a second breakfast with a VC. Therefore we skipped lunch and went straight to the Hive61 meetup event where Joerg gave a speech on his learnings from 7 accelerator programs and his experiences as a serial entrepreneur. We also had time for some networking and met very interesting people who shared their thoughts with us.Overall it was fascinating to see the strong representation of people with a tech background which made the event seem like a reversed Berlin event where often more than 80% of the attendees have a background in business. This accentuates once more the vast potential that connecting both countries’ ecosystem bears and which was one of the reasons why we went on this trip.