On Friday, June 6th, I had the pleasure of joining a ThinkBiz event! ThinkBiz is a student group coming from the Athens University of Economics & Business that works with entrepreneurship issues, offering support and collaboration within the academic community, to students that are eager to develop their ideas into sustainable businesses! They are creative and they embrace innovation, opening a circle of people that stretches outside their own university into many academic institutions in Greece.
The specific event was held in the Found.ation and it was about startups that work on the field of tourism! We had the opportunity to hear from the teams of Offerial and Captain Wise about their experiences and their wonderful “trips” through the various stages of developing their ideas, turning them into a working demo, gathering funding and launching them publicly!
Offerial is a service that allows hotel to get bookings directly from their websites, attempting to increase the on-site conversion of their visitors into customers. Offerial based its idea on studying the eye movement of a user on a hotel website, assessing and trying out different marketing texts and working with different types of calls to action. They create personas based on the different website visitors and users and then they create personalized marketing messages that they serve through the hotel websites! They operate on the websites of 49 hotels in Greece and they are growing pretty quickly!
Captain Wise offers the opportunity to travelers to indicate their preferred dates of travel and their budget, and through a single, easy search, identify a list of potential trips they can take! The user inserts a date range, the budget he/she has and the algorithm that supports Captain Wise, calculates all the possible destinations, starting from Athens, that a traveler can get to, without excedding his/her budget on accommodation and plane tickets!
After each presentation from the two teams, the audience had the chance to ask questions about the various stages that these startups go through as well as questions about problems and opportunities that they were faced with. Once the guest startups completed the discussion with the attendees, the organizers from ThinkBiz started a game in which the participants were divided into four teams and were asked to answer questions related to the two startups, identifying their key strenghts and offering ideas for their further development! The startups evaluated the answers and decided on the best insights offered for each question, giving points to the teams that were closer to what they had in mind for their businesses. In the end, the winning teams were announced and the event ended with a networking session where the participants had the opportunity to discuss with the startup teams in greater depth about their ventures.
Overall, it was a nicely organized event, with lots of interaction, fresh ideas and interesting people that showed how much interest exists within the academic community of students for events like that. For me personally, it also showed great promise from the younger generation that exits universities, indicating that there are people that can innovate, break barriers and offer value-added services that will support and foster a Greek startup ecosystem that is both vibrant and lively. These people are here, they are active and they offer all of us a great incentive to try harder and harder untill “we get it right”!
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