eBay Startup Cup just completed its first year of competition in Berlin, having been run over 208 times in 72 different countries around the world.  Startup Cup takes a different approach to typical accelerator programs by pushing startups to start generating revenue instead of raising funds.  

The competition started on 20-21 May with an Extreme Build-a-Business weekend.  The event brought 55 teams of 27 nationalities together with mentors for two days of intensive workshops.

At the Final Competition and Award Ceremony, the top three winners were awarded their respective prizes of $10 000, $5 000 and $2500.

In first place came Digital Partners, an online marketplace that connects and navigates the technology ecosystem to empower relationships between Tech Startups and SMEs.  

Menstrual Health Hub (MH Hub) – the first-ever online global platform specifically designed to be the home for menstrual health actors and practitioners to connect, collaborate and strengthen impact around a critical aspect of women and girls’ empowerment and economic development – came in second.

And third place was awarded to By Heart Projects which offers an independent e-learning course specifically designed for 16 to 18 year old students to facilitate and mobilise the next generation of social entrepreneurs by empowering high school students

Throughout the competition, the teams went through 3 rounds of pitching and worked with mentors and coaches to develop, and sometimes change, their business model.

When David Hamel, one of Digital Partners’ co-founders, attended the workshop weekend, he and his cofounder Sidharth Cugh were still testing their prototype and different possible value propositions.  Over the months of competition, Digital Partners added 3 new developers to its team, had 31 new businesses sign up to the platform, and started making its first revenue.

While MH Hub entered the competition as an NGO, by the end of the 4 months they had altered their model into a hybrid sustainable social business with a multifaceted business model.  They also developed 6 business partnerships with organizations from around the world.

By Hearts Projects started with one founder – Nathalie McGee – who entered the competition with a clear plan and direction; by September, the organization had grown to a team of 9 and developed a functioning product that is now in its BETA stages of testing.

From these awards, the teams now have $10,000, $5,000, and $2,500 respectively to invest in their futures.  We are very excited to see how these companies progress and are looking forward to launching the second round of the eBay Startup Cup competition in 2018!

For more information about eBay StartUp Cup Berlin, please visit our website. Applications for next year’s competition will open in January 2018.

By Melissa Berkowitz