Last week we graduated from Google Campus Residency – a 6-month program from Google that supports prospective startups from the CEE region. But first, let me tell you a story of how it all started:
More than a year ago, an email from Wolves Summit arrived to my mailbox. I received an invitation to this important conference for startups held in Warsaw, Poland, in March of 2017. I had not yet heard about this event until that day. Unfortunately.
Seemingly a great chance to meet new business partners, I decided to apply. The very last day.
How Wolves Summit connected us with Google Campus Team
A week passed and another email from Wolves Summit arrived to my inbox. “You’ve been selected to join us at Wolves Summit” it said. Great, we’re in! Prior to the Summit, we were given access to a matchmaking tool, where participants could schedule meeting with corporates, VCs or startups attending the Summit. One of the invitations we received was from Google. Woow! What might they want, I thought.
The Googlers informed us about a new startup program called Campus Residency, based in Warsaw. Well, another accelerator, we’ve already tried that. Not interested, I noted after the meeting. Boy was I wrong. But let me finish the story first.
A few days later, my colleague reminded me that the Campus Residency application deadline is coming soon. Ok, let’s try, so I applied the very last day, as always.
To my surprise, I was asked to upload a team video. I was sitting back at home, with the application deadline closing in a few hours and my team located more than a hundred miles away. But without a moment’s hesitation, I printed out the photos of all core team members and stuck them on the wall behind me, and followed up with making the video.
Our first contact with all-star team
Soon we had a video conference call with the Campus Residency team. I quickly changed my mind about the Campus Residency program, because they transmitted so much passion and excitement. From that moment on, I was looking forward to every update and hoped for a little success at the very least.
How does it feel to be one of 10 CEE startups to be selected?
After another round of discussions with the Campus Residency team, I got the exciting news that we’ve been selected as one of the 10 CEE region startups to participate in the 6-month Google Campus Residency program in Warsaw. An awesome opportunity. Although we already had an excellent reason to help seniors with technology, this occasion proved that we were on right track.
I clearly remember the day when I announced the news to the rest of the team. Their faces said it all. WOW. Everyone understood the huge opportunity ahead of us. The team was ready to participate at once, and take as much as possible from the Campus Residency program.
Things started to change very quickly. We had about one month to prepare our move to Warsaw, the city where not one of us had ever been for an extended period of time. We got busy. All the small things from finding a place to stay, managing our development team back in Brno to simply announcing this to our partners or families had to be done.
Residency Program kicked off with Expert Summit
At the start of July 2017, Campus Residency began with our team sitting together with Googlers from all around the world in Warsaw, at the Expert Summit. The conference is 2 weeks of intense work with the best people from all around the world. You have two weeks to open, check, clarify and update the key aspects of your startup. Those two weeks were one of the most exciting and fruitful elements of Campus Residency. During this short time, we modified many critical business areas of Oscar Senior, even more than in the course of the past months. Getting insights from Google was extremely valuable and vital for our growth.
Following the Experts Summit, we opened a door of a 6 month (actually it was eight months) cooperation with our Campus buddies and Googlers. Every week we checked in and updated our progress. We also had weekly sessions with other startups where we met and discussed our challenges. This greatly assisted us in finding the right solution for any issues we faced. Hundreds of events occured during our stay. Marketing, development, business, legal questions and many other topics were dealt with thanks to those organized events.
One of the biggest changes we did was the integration of the OKRs system (Objectives and Key results). Quite challenging to implement this system into our thoughts, I still cannot say that we are fully mastering OKRs. Yet this system is essential in helping us stay focused on our goals. I know, from my own experience, that keeping focus on the important things (I mean really important) is not as easy as it sounds.
Class #1 graduated, Class #2 opening soon!
Time flies and it’s already been more than a week since we’ve graduated Class #1 in Campus Residency Warsaw. It was an invigorating experience. We learned a lot, met awesome people, created great connections, and on top of that, we established real friendships.
However our mission does not end. We are continually working to help seniors with technology and of course progressing with our Campus Warsaw cooperation.
If you have any questions regarding Campus Residency, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are more than happy to help. Note that Campus is opening a new class in a few weeks. If you would like to apply with your startup, write to me and I’ll be glad to give you some insights.