Three Ideas Battling it Out X Factor-Style at CAMPKBX

By David Knight |

It’s the X Factor meets startups – perhaps something a pun-loving journalist might dub Tech Factor, were he so inclined. Either way, eight great ideas were whittled down to three on Friday night at CAMPKBX, with the finalists each being assigned to a coach for a day of hard work on Saturday in preparing a pitch.

The ultimate winner will win the chance to see their idea come to fruition with the help of keksbox, the team behind the event at the Palais in the Kulturbrauerei.

Friday also saw a talk from Christoph Räthke of Mobile Monday and Battle of the Startup Bands fame, while Saturday’s keynote will be delivered by Stefan Wolpers of Twittwoch and Startup Camp Berlin.

But the ideas competition with its casting show format is the focus of the day on Saturday – the three coaches are Carsten Rossi, Karin Janner and Thomas Pfeiffer, all experts bringing something a little different to their charges.

And it’s all about turning the ideas into reality. So what exactly did the finalists come up with?

First up is Markos Hassenstein with AudioSnacks. He’s working with Karin, a marketing expert from Vienna who, amongst other things, organises the stART conference, runs a marketing blog and advises companies on ‘social culture 2.0.’

Informative and Entertaining

The idea behind AudioSnacks is simple: “If you’re waiting in a queue at a supermarket, or waiting for a bus, you can load up this app on your phone and there will be a story linked to the place where you are waiting. For example, if you’re waiting for a bus, there will be a story about the bus station. It can be fiction, or maybe infotainment, but it should be nice content – not only information, but entertaining.”

The content is crowdsourced so anyone can write or listen to a story – which will be short to fit into waiting times. “For the bus, you might have a time slot of two minutes – you can see when the next bus is coming on the display – and there should be a story to fit that timeslot.”

For Markos, who studied business administration and is currently in the process of setting up his own business with two friends, CAMPKBX was the perfect opportunity to see the idea turned into reality.

“I know that I can’t do it on my own, and this is a great way to meet people that maybe can do it. The idea is now public property, so it should be free for everyone, like Wikipedia. I want to see it done – it’s not about money.”

Second is Mompreneurs and its creator, Esther Eisenhardt. She recovered from a nervy start on Friday when she fluffed her lines during her original 60-second pitch to storm to the top of the table, garnering the most tweet votes of any of the ideas.

There were eight idea pitches which were then whittled down to three

Along with her co-founder, Esther wants to create a network to give mothers better opportunities to get back into work. She said: “This could be anything from working ten hours at home to starting your own company. We want to address this need in Germany that it’s such a problem for moms to return to work because most of the time there is no flexibility. They (companies) don’t trust home offices and things like that, so it’s a one-stop platform to give moms opportunities.”

And Mompreneurs is not only about helping mums find willing employers – Esther hopes it will inspire women to follow their passions and help them find co-founders to start their own company.

She added: “We want to have have a huge community and network of moms to inspire each other. There are so many high-potential moms sitting at home and we want to help them.”

Esther, a mum-of-two who has worked in Internet companies for ten years, has seen the problem first hand. “Out of my own experience, I think there needs to be something which addresses this huge need. We are on a mission.”

A Formidable Team

That mission could be set for take off tonight, if Mompreneurs can win the prize. Esther is working with Carsten Rossi, the managing director of Kuhn, Kammann & Kuhn in Cologne, with a focus on the development of new business unit technology, change communication and management for technology-induced change processes. A formidable team!

The other idea battling it out is Fairlaufr, backed by a founding team of three. The project would see an app which uses geolocation to notify users when they pass a shop or business which utilises practices which are not environmentally or socially sound. Users earn points, Foursquare-style, for reading information on the problems, and accumulated points go towards discounts from ecologically-sound goods such as fair trade chocolate.

(An interesting point in seeing an idea develop – when they first spoke to Silicon Allee, the idea was for users to be able to use points to get free ‘green’ products, but this was changed to discounts as they didn’t want to encourage extra consumption.)

Lilian Masuhr said: “When you pass a shop that does not have a very social and ecological philosophy, like McDonalds, H&M or Sstarbucks, where there are perhaps some parts of their business which are not socially or ecologically positive, a red sign pops upon the app on your phone. There are three categories – Environment, Social and Karma. You lose points if you walk past the shop without doing anything and win points when you go to ‘good’ shops like Oxfam.”

Extra Spice

The trio all have a communications background and for them the idea is also a burning passion. Lilian added: “We came up with it after we read a book called Uns Gehört die Welt! (The World is Ours!) by Klaus Werner-Lobo, when he researches the claims made by big companies. This is totally a passion for me and I want people to know more about this issue.”

The team is being coached by Thomas Pfeiffer, a web evangelist who creates social media concepts for the Web, offers social media analysis and writes books for Addison-Wesley.

All three finalists are currently hard at work with their teams – mere feet away from each other to give the contest a little extra spice!

In previous years, CAMPKBX has brought into fruition projects like Twittkickers (football on Twitter), Sammlr (a social network photo aggregator) and The Diary (a sexy and social iPad diary app) to fruition.

We’ll keep you up to date on how this year’s winner gets along. May the best idea win!