Here are our four main takeaways from running a Virtual Accelerator for the first time.
Our Xmas Pitch and Party Event was not just another Zoom call, but a short and sweet gathering of familiar faces from our international community: media managers, investors, mentors, partners from Europe and Israel. It was also an event to celebrate the graduation of the teams of our Batch 11 into the ever-growing NMA alumni family. We prepared a Christmas playlist, some had mulled wine in hand, some dressed up to watch musicube, Frontpage TV, DigiWhat and ForTeeNews pitching on the virtual stage for the last time this year.
Even if 2020 was an exceptional, remote-only year, we were willing to make it work.
Some participants really put in a lot of effort and nailed the Christmas theme.
And what a year it has been – the year of virtual-only:
The Covid-19 pandemic hit the media industry heavily, we decided to run the accelerator fully virtual.Physical events were converted into virtual formats such as First Look Event, Spotlight Event Series (topics: Audio, Workflow Magic, Gen Z), Facebook Live-Lunch Sessions as well as the Virtual Media Match.
Our main challenge and biggest learning was on how to create a sense of community – virtually only. With our Batch 11 teams we created a weekly routine of exchanging in a Zoom call: we got into their offices, living rooms and were occasionally walked around the respective city they are living in.
For bridging the digital gap, we used Slack in daily communication, the video solution of our alumni team Sceenic, Zoom for bigger events, Clique.ai for ecosystem management as well as Calendly for scheduling meetings more easily.
Create, Change, Innovate – we at the accelerator as well, had to step up to this challenge. We were not only running an accelerator program fully remote for the very first time in NMA history but also surpassed big milestones … you can take a guess … right … virtually only.
Helping startups grow by connecting them to relevant key players and cooperating with our partners in pan-european projects is our passion. We foster this by contributing to two EU Projects: MediaFutures and STADIEM. The latter focuses strongly on the cooperation between European Media Tech Hubs in Bergen, Tallinn and Brussels as well as networks like f6s, Martell and EBU.
STADIEM project is funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme under Grant Agreement number 957321. 🇪🇺
The MediaFutures project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 951962. 🇪🇺
When looking into the crystal bowl for 2021, of course we would wish for bringing back more physical encounters, hybrid events, and real connections. For now, we have to evaluate week by week and monitor closely how the pandemic situation evolves. Yet still, we hope that we will be able to come back to celebrate our traditional Demo Day with the teams’ final pitches on the big stage at the Hamburg music venue KNUST (our traditional Demo Day location).
So, we at NMA have only one wish for Santa: Bring back the physical stage in 2021. Thank you – and happy holidays to all of you!
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