Booking Booster 2018 Kicks Off
The time has finally come to kick-off the 2018 Booking Booster, our three week accelerator programme for startups to grow their business and impact through training and mentoring and a chance to pitch to our Booking.com judges for grants of up to €500,000.
Kick Off Dinner
Last night, we kicked off by sharing a dinner at Zoku with all 20 participants and our Booking Cares team. The participants, who represent 10 startups, join us from around the world, each addressing sustainability in the travel industry through their own lens with their own unique solution. To start the evening off and remind them of how this journey began, we shared a quick video of the moment they were invited for the Booking Booster. Take a look:
After months of waiting and lots of anticipation, it was great to bring everyone together for the first time and share some leisure time before the hard work begins today. However, we certainly couldn’t keep some people from thinking business already. As we sat together, Shiva from Community Homestay Network mentioned ‘just the preparation for the Booster alone has helped us so much already - we wouldn’t want to miss it’. There’s plenty of work to come in the following weeks, we can’t wait to see what they all accomplish.
Take a look at some moments from the evening.
Setting Intention and Making Space
We have the next weeks to deep dive into growth hacking, movement building, creative leadership and investor readiness and everything else our startups will reflect on. Today was devoted to creating the space to do that.
Lead trainer, Adam, led the participants to individually set his or her Booster intentions, reflect on what they will bring to the group and consider expectations for the programme ahead. For many, this experience is a chance for them to focus exclusively on their business, cutting through the noise and putting their product, experience or service under the magnifying glass. Jasper from Reflow mentioned the opportunity to get out of ‘bullshit’ mode, caused by constantly pitching your business to investors rather than having honest and reflective conversations about its weakness and pitfalls. Cherae from Tastemakers is looking to reconceive what it means to be a for-impact business, looking for ideas on how to be a “sexy social business”.
What’s to come
This week will be full on for the startups, as we continue working on Creative Leadership and co-lead trainer, Jasper, leads the group on their first session on impact strategy.
On Friday, the startups will be visited by Booking.com CEO Gillian Tans for a Q&A session, where they will be able to ask her questions about her many years with the company and its days as a startup.
After, the startups’ mentors will join them for lunch and for their first working session. While they have already met their mentors on a preliminary video call conference, this will be the first time they meet in person.
Finally, to end the busy day, the startups will receive the panel of Booking.com judges for an individual Q&A, followed by a group session. In this, they will be able to already get direct feedback from the judges and have the next two weeks to implement it in their investor decks and pitches.
We will continue to update you via this blog and our Facebook for the weeks to come, and of course, after the Final with the results. You can always browse the previous blog entries to learn more about each startup and what they do.