Interview Nellie Bolea, Sylvia Dudek (Both METRO) & Kyla Moss (Techstars)

Let’s sneak inside: What are you preparing for the kick-off of the Techstars METRO Accelerator?

Kyla Moss: Right now we are trying to do everything possible to ensure a smooth and exciting kick-off on October 12th. I am working on everything from preparing the office space and planning our first six weeks of programming to visa support and scheduling mentors. Our whole team is working hard to make sure the companies have everything they need when they arrive, even a place to live!

Sylvia Dudek: The most important thing for us now is to create a workspace for the startups that sparks creativity, productiveness and collaboration. That’s why our entire team joins forces to design the offices as well as meeting, chill out and play rooms. We want the startups enjoying the time they spend in the office. Another key success factor for the teams will be the massive Network that is provided by Techstars, METRO and RGA. The selection and onboarding of the best, most innovative, entrepreneurial mentors and the organization of networking events therefore is a top priority, too.


What is your job at the Techstars METRO Accelerator?

Sylvia: My role as Program Manager is to plan and set the frame throughout the different program phases (startup recruitment, application review, program preparation, accelerator program, business building), to foster community building in order to establish the Techstars METRO Accelerator as the best partner for startups in the food and hospitality tech sector – and to make sure there is enough time for having fun!

Kyla: I am the Program Manager from Techstars. At this stage of the program cycle, that basically means making sure the 3 month program works, from orientation, to mentor madness to demo day. I am responsible for planning our curriculum with the Techstars Managing Director as well as different workshops, social events and being a support system for the companies. It is my job to make sure the companies have everything they need while they are in the program to not only radically grow their business but have fun doing it as well.

Nellie Bolea: My role as Program Associate is to perform operational tasks efficiently. I have the chance to deal with very different tasks. And this makes the job quite exiting! From organizing the catering during the selection meetings to performing quantitative analyses or ensuring the proper on-boarding of our mentors, there is always a new task on the agenda. Right now, I am preparing the content and logistics of the upcoming 2-day workshop in October, involving all startups and several METRO countries’ representatives.


Which startup concept thrilled you lately?

Nellie: During the selection process, I was really impressed to discover so many brilliant concepts in the food and hospitality area. I had not imagined to which extent the way restaurants and hotels are currently running their business could be disrupted in the upcoming future. I have a preference for concepts that foster the customer experience on the premises. I do believe that the most efficient way for our Hotel Restaurant Catering (HoReCa) customers to bring value to their customers – and to differentiate from the competitors – is through personal contact. Therefore, any company that could free up time for the restaurant and hotel owners during the peak hours is interesting. For example, getting rid of the waiting time for ordering, bringing and paying food would certainly be a key benefit.

Kyla: Too many to pick but I love the focus on millennials. Maybe I am a bit biased here but I have seen a lot of forward thinking companies in our upcoming class that have a vision of where the world is going or want to shape that direction. They have come up with solutions to tap into an ever changing market that are accessible, easy to use and will make you wonder how you ever lived without them.


What are you looking forward to at the Techstars METRO Accelerator?

Kyla: Meeting the companies and being a part of their experience in Berlin.

Sylvia: Our startups!

Nelli: Four years ago, when I was writing my Master thesis on the “Open Innovation” concept, I was already particularly interested in the relationship between large and small companies. I am looking forward to seeing how METRO and the startups will manage to collaborate together during the program. I am also exited about the possibility to play a positive role in making this collaboration a success! 😉

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