16 June 2012

InnoPitch Award 2012 – Interview with Martin Van Aken, 8th Color-Sybil

Two weeks before the grand presentation at the Young Innovators Unconvention’ Town Hall Session we asked the six InnoPitch Awards 2012 finalists to briefly answer four questions in order to introduce themselfs to the world. Check out Martin Van Aken (MVA) answers:

European Young Innovators Forum: How did you hear about EYIF and the InnoPitch Awards 2012? MVA – We have the advantage of having participated to an incubation program. This means that we are in contact with a good number of young entrepreneurs, and even if the program ended several months ago, we kept the habit of sharing a lot of informations, advice and feedback between us. One of our colleagues did warn us about the InnoPitch award, and after having read the competition website, we decided to apply.

EYIF – What are your expectations from participating at the InnoPitch Awards 2012?
MVA -First and foremost, it is an tremendous opportunity to present our product Sybil before a large, pan-european audience, both wide (the public, whether at the unconference or visiting the website) and expert (the judges). But we have higher expectations than just being able to pass our message through: we will take the opportunity of the event to collect a maximum of feedback, as those exchanges are key to our product’s success.

EYIF – Why will you win? (what is your strong card)
MVA – Well, I haven’t seen much of the other competitors, but I expect quite a challenge ! Anyway, we’ve got our own aces : We’re into both Talent Management and IT, and those two sectors are really hot topics right now, not only online and in the specialized press, but also especially inside each and every company. Tomorrow’s economy will be a “brain” economy, where the companies’ main asset will be human capital, no more machines or equipment. Today for example, IT is already responsible for as much as two thirds of the productivity growth in the USA. We’re convinced that something as important as IT Talent Management needs a dedicated, modern, efficient tool. And we are ready to provide it. Sybil is not only the result of an intense half year of work; it is the sum of our 10 years of experience in the IT sector, and of the hundreds of discussions we had with fellow IT professionals on how to make our sector more efficient in a period of opportunity. We want to be disruptive by working at the intersection of two sectors, bringing efficient HR tools to IT, and using IT techniques such as code analytics to make HR easier. This is what Sybil is: the right tool for the skills of our era.

EYIF – Who are you going to thank if you win?
MVA – We’re not here on our own. We stand on the shoulder of many others, that we can roughly divide in four groups : First, the incubators that we have followed, the Founder Institute and the Microsoft Boostcamp made us advance much faster than we would have, by forcing us to shape our ideas in a convincing way, and challenging every aspect of our business. This is a hard school, but that hardship was much needed. The lineup of mentors was top notch, and we kept contact with some of them to continue to advise us. Second, the startup community. In Brussels, it means the BetaGroup, a loosely coupled association of startups in various stages, interested professionals, community builders and experts. It is an exhilarating environment to a be part of. Third, there are the people that made our initiative possible by providing us with consulting opportunities. We’ve worked with Eura Nova, a Belgian IT expertise company. Not only did they find us positions allowing us to pursue our own goals at the same time, they actually encouraged us to do so by providing insights and feedback. Fourth, there are the three companies where Sybil is actually running in pilot. Those are development teams that provide us with their real world point of view, allowing us to make Sybil a truly great tool. We’re proud to work with them to make this possible. And of course, the InnoPitch competition and EYIF that make all of this possible, by bridging the gap between young entrepreneurs like us and the broad european audience.

Take a look at Martin Van Aken InnoPitch Award 2012 video submission.

We are looking forward to meeting all the InnoPitch Award 2012′ Finalists in Brussels! Come to meet the InnoPitch Award 2012′ Finalists and many other inspiring personalities by joining us at the UNconvention. To reserve your chance to participate, do so by registering on our website as soon as possible.

Young Innovators UNconvention