Earlier this week at CeBIT I had the pleasure of meeting with Bindi Karia. Bindi is the Vice President, Origination, Entrepreneur Banking at Silicon Valley Bank and one of the CODE_n judges this year. Bindi and I first met during our time at Microsoft and it was my great pleasure to invite her to join our expert panel to judge the 50 fantastic finalists we have welcomed to CODE_n at CeBIT this year.
During Bindi’s time at Microsoft she focused on how the company could drive success for early-stage technology businesses and was responsible for working alongside the UK Investor Community, including Venture Capitalists and Angels. She also sits on many Industry Advisory Boards and has been recognised in many Industry League tables over the years. Bindi has recently been appointed as a trustee for Startup Weekend Europe. She’s also an active mentor and supporter of many of London’s top Incubators – basically she is a startup Queen. So I wanted to find out what attracted her to devoting the time within her crazy busy schedule to judge the CODE_n finalists, what she thought of CODE_n and what she saw shine through with our winners.
Q. Bindi, you’ve spent a lot of time judging and mentoring some of Europe’s most exciting startups in leading programs such as Seedcamp, TechStars, Startupbootcamp, WAYRA, Entrepreneur First, and Level39. What attracted you to be part of the judging panel at CODE_n this year?
A. I’ve not had a chance to attend CeBIT in the past, and I’d heard a lot about the great reputation of the CODE_n pavilion, especially around the startups who exhibit there. I viewed it as a great opportunity to get to know interesting and ground-breaking startups in the Big Data space. Besides, you asked me, and I wanted to help out a former colleague!
Q. Over the years, you’ve attended a lot of startup events. What did you see at CODE_n that stood out? And what would you like to see more of at CODE_n15?
A. The sheer size and design of the CODE_n hall was incredibly impressive. Big Data Art, Big Data Discussions, Big Data Companies in a BIG hall meant that it was a truly unique experience. People around CeBIT were telling me that it was definitely one of the “coolest” and least corporate halls, and I would definitely have to agree.
Q. We had 4 nominees for the CODE_n Award, what did you like about these cool startups?
A. Each company was in a completely different industry, in completely different stages of growth. However, each of them built ground-breaking solutions, using unique and innovative uses of mass amounts of data relevant to their respective industries. They were definitely the best of the best.
Q. And on the overall winner. What did you particularly like about them? What Code of the new did you see in them?
A. Viewsy had all the components of a winning company. An innovative technology solution, solving real problems in the retail industry. In particular, using in-store sensors connecting online with offline and using Big Data to generate customer insights and data, which can massively impact the bottom line of a retailer. In addition, Odera Ume-Ezeoke is an impressive founder, and he’s surrounded himself with an exceptional team. He was confident, intelligent and had an incredible grasp of what it would take to make his business succeed, particularly when the judges posed some very challenging questions to him. The company has incredible potential to scale on a global basis, if current traction is anything to go by.
I’d be remiss not to mention AutoGrid, the Special Mention Winner as well. What they are doing to transform the Energy Industry using the power of big data is nothing short of amazing and transformative. The founding team is equally impressive. There’s no question as to the future success of this company, and this is why we decided to mention them in a category of their own.
Thank you Bindi for joining us at CeBIT this year and taking the time to select the crème de la crème at CODE_n 2014. It was a pleasure to catch up with you at CODE_n this year. I hope we can welcome you again in 2015.