One in a hundred. Corporations picked the winner of ABSL Start-Up Challenge

The Grand Finale of ABSL Start-Up Challenge took place in mid-June. Representatives of internationally recognized business shared services organizations have chosen outstanding young Polish entrepreneurs. ChallengeRocket, a platform for IT recruitment through competitions and online tasks, was acknowledged as the best in this competition.


The grand Finale

The Grand Finale of the ABSL Start-Up Challenge took place at the 8th ABSL Conference. Selected at regional semifinals in 7 Polish cities, each of the seven finalist had 3 minutes and 1 slide to convince the jury members that their project is the best.

The winner, ChallengeRocket, presented itself as an online platform which has the chance to change how IT recruitment is done. The platform helps IT specialists searching for the most interesting jobs. They do it by completing online tasks and programming simple games. According to the jury, this project has the greatest chance for extensive cooperation with international companies.

Each finalist had a chance to answer jury’s questions. The questions concerned the business model and potential competition in the market, among others. Every start-up had a chance to present their ideas. Among finalist, except ChallengeRocket, were:

  • SCANYE – a software that scans and processes documents and then interprets collected data;
  • NIBULO – intelligent monitoring, using artificial intelligence algorithms. The system “learns” the standard rhythm of day and night at particular rooms;
  • VIRUB.IO – a platform that helps HR sectors;
  • WOODDY – a VR glasses, that are made out of wood. Easy to produce glasses helps you to entry virtual reality;
  • TAKETASK – an application that pays its users for simple tasks like checking the price of coffee at a local restaurant or availability of products in the shop.
  • EMPLOCITY.PL – a recruitment platform, on which candidates can add resume and set requirements for future work.

The winner of this year’s competition had the possibility to present its project during the Polish Tech Day in London. And they did very well! The winner of the Pitch to London 2017 competition is our last year’s winner – the Packhelp start-up (Zapakuj.to). The runner-up was ChallengeRocket.


The selection process

It was the second edition of ABSL Start-Up Challenge. The rivalry was intense – more than 100 start-ups submitted their applications to the contest. From all the submissions, 70 applicants were chosen to participate at the semifinals stage in seven Polish cities: Katowice, Kraków, Łódź, Poznań, Trójmiasto, Warszawa i Wrocław. In each, up to ten start-ups presented their enterprises.

At the semifinal stage, start-ups from different branches presented – from smart systems, controlling the number of bees in the region, to pharmaceutical equipment with artificial intelligence. Each start-up representative had up to 5 minutes to present their idea. They were judged by a jury  composed of the member companies of ABSL in each region (ABSL Chapters). Seven best start-ups were invited for a final pitch in Lodz, one per chapter.


The Partners involvement

During two months of ABSL Start-Up Challenge, three Partners: P&G (main Partner), Skanska and Lodz Special Economic Zone, put a lot of energy in judging the participants of the contest. Representatives of those companies attended every regional semifinal and shared their knowledge and know-how with young entrepreneurs. One of the semifinals took place in the spacious P&G Office, another one in beautifully restored old Grohman Factory – now the headquarter of Lodz Special Economic Zone. Semifinals in Wrocław and Katowice were organised in modern offices built by Skanska.

The Association of Business Service Leaders (ABSL), as the leading organization representing the business services sector in Poland, aims to increase the levels of innovation, that is why the ABSL Start-Up Challenge contest was initiated. Behind the idea of it stands the notion that corporations and start-ups can cooperate and benefit from each other. In exchange for the stability, management and know-how, the international companies want to learn flexibility and quick reactions to the changing market.


The grand Finale jury Board

The Jury board on stage was composed of:

– Alejandro Paz Olivares, Central Europe IT Hub Leader from P&G company, which is the main Partner of Start-Up Challenge
– Agnieszka Sygitowicz Vice-President of the Łódź Special Economic Zone. ŁSSE was a Partner of the contest.
– Jarosław Bator Business Development Director, Skanska – Partner company of the contest,
– Marek Grodziński, Vice President of Thought Leadership & Conference, ABSL
– Barbara Piasek CEO, Wolves Summit and The Sales Gate
– Marcin Sieńczyk, Chief Technology Innovation Officer, Randstad Polska
– Jacek Ratajczak, Plug Founder.

Video of the Grand Finale