At the next media accelerator we strongly believe in the power of innovation: This was once again tested this year. We needed to shift the entire program and our batch of nine European startups into remote mode. Here is what we learned.
1.) Clear communication is key.
When each team member is working from a different location (or city, or country…) it can be quite tricky to keep in touch. Since the adoption of the remote work mode, we have made communication a priority. We’ve implemented video calls three times a week as part of the routine to collect updates from the NMA team. With the current batch we had people staying home in Denmark, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Finland and Lithuania, so we made sure to meet for a virtual lunch break to catch up on the latest updates and personal / professional developments with our startups too. We even found a nice tool to have icebreakers and make the meetings more interesting. Moreover, we offered a weekly 3-hour office hour slot where the startup founders could book meetings with the NMA team.
2.) Events - make it virtual, baby!Moving events to the online sphere: Which platform? Which format?
The second challenge we faced when shifting the program online: what about the events? Partially, it was not on us to decide on the proceeding - big events such as the Online Marketing Rockstars (OMR), SXSW, roadshows to Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart as well as numerous other industry events got canceled or shifted into a different (virtual) format.
For every event you need to think of 1) the goal and 2) the audience, to then find out what is the best format and platform to go for.
We found out that networking can happen easily online with a nice matchmaking tool (Deal Room Events) that we used for our Virtual Media Match. Also, we wanted to stick together in the industry and partnered once again with our friends from OMR for a Digital Master Class.
We have also hosted meetings between the startups and our partners from leading media houses in Germany - and we are proud to have used Sceenic (from our portfolio) for that - they provide an Interactive Online Events Solution.
3.) The importance of keeping rituals.
The Demo Day usually marks the successful “graduation” of our batch: when they showcase results of travels and meetings in the past months, expanding their Easy Testing and client network.
For that, they take the big stage at KNUST Hamburg to celebrate the achievements of the startups. Investors, corporates, entrepreneurs, mentors, friends, family gather to watch, followed by a nice party.
Everything was neatly set out but then...Corona was like “Hold my beer!”
On a more sincere note: We know many experienced an extremely tough time.
Due to the covid19 crisis which turned the world we know upside down, we had to adapt to the new reality and pace of the media industry. Even with less events and no trips, we found it important to mark the end of these six months with a virtual celebration with our community. Watch the pitches of our Virtual Demo Day.
Our teams pulled of some stunning graduation pitches: faktual, VibeVision, monfluence, Hashtag Daily, Moderne, yieldPass, Followistic, Spaii Labs, Klipworks as well as the Interview with Anita Zielina Director Strategic Initiatives of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism CUNY.
All in all: Times were trying and still are - we at the NMA as well as our teams learned a lot, tested, improved and innovated in the circumstances given. We are very proud that our batch 10 teams took on the challenge and pushed even more - their hard work paid off and we are happy to now have them be part of our NMA alumni family.