EPS12 – a story of startups, pirates and robots and its success factors

“Summing up #eps12:  biz + arr! = bizarre!”  tweeted Ville Miettinen (@wili) last week at European Pirate Summit 2012.


For two days, Cologne was filled with entrepreneurs, investors and media, mingling in piratesque disguise  among moving robots and fire-spitters.

Once you entered the gates of Odonien, you could feel the vibrant drive inside all the aspiring entrepreneurs. You could see them teaming up for world conquering through diverse partnerships or lessons exchange. You could hear success stories of speakers and ambitious stories of pitchers. You could smell the fire burning old mindsets. And you could touch the grassroots of a new generation of fierce-less startups.



But what is the magical formula that led EPS12 to such a great success, judging by participants’ feedback and acquired sponsorships? What can one doing events for startups learn out of it?

Captains: Behind EPS there is a team of…students. Young, visionaries and ambitious, they did a few things damn right: They looked for advice  from experienced and well-connected people, aka their very useful Advisory Board. They engaged with the startup community in Europe by visiting lots of other events and players throughout the year.  They offered their help whenever possible, creating real relationships. They worked a lot for one year to improve the previous already good experience of the first edition. They believed in themselves.

Flag: EPS has a great branding. Analogies are always good (in this case: entrepreneur – pirate) and help people identify easier with a story/ character. Hence, the feel of belonging is much stronger. It enables a better understanding of the vision  and a better community development.

Crew:  The quality of pre-selected participants (not being able to just buy a ticket, but had to complete a startup application that was reviewed) and the out-of-this-world atmosphere of the venue generated not just great networking opportunities, but more in-depth discussions about potential collaborations and exchange of best practices.