The deadline for TechChill Baltics pitch is Jan 18, many startups are applying.. but is it worth it? We asked previous years’ participants to find out:

First, the last year’s winner. Edurio is an edtech startup from Latvia developing a simple yet comprehensive feedback tool for schools and universities to make better improvement decisions. We have covered them right after winning the pitch battle in 2015 here .

One of our next investors was our judge at the TechChill pitch battle.

“Although there was great publicity from winning the pitch battle, it was mainly the individual conversations in the conference that make this a must-apply competition. Perhaps it’s not much of a surprise that when we raised 230k EUR last summer, one of our investors was also a judge at the TechChill pitch battle!”

Ernests Jenavs, co-founder of Edurio

So who is in jury this year?

The organizers confirmed that TechChill Baltics 2015 will be judged by:

1. Tuomas Kosonen from Finnish Inventure, supporters of The Mill coworking space in Riga and investors in Latvian Froont and dozens of other exciting startups. Tom is the person managing Iventure’s investment in Froont.

2. Mark Johnson from Corum Group International where he is a Vice President advising on M&A deals in software, internet and technology companies.

3. Donatas Keras from Lithuanian Practica Capital, an early-stage fund that has invested in 5 industries in 2015 and added notable value to each of the startups.

4. Juha Ruohonen , co-founder at Superhero Capital investing in B2B software, currently helping Finnish tech companies to enter the global markets. Juha’s specialities are pitching and presentation training. He is also the founder of Startup Sauna accelerator and its first Head Coach.

If you would like to see any of them among your investors or advisors, TechChill is the place to pitch.

But is it only the winners that get all the value out of the event? We asked Edmundas Eddy Balčikonis, who pitched his language learning service Track Duck a few years back.

TechChill Baltics is the place for early stage startups.

“If you’re looking for local and international investors interested in our Baltic region – TechChill is one of the best destinations. If you’re looking for early adopters, scout for employees or potential partners – people come to TechChill for exactly this purpose, to learn about new hot startups. So if you’re just starting out – go there and hustle.”

-Edmundas Eddy Balcikonis, co-founder of Bliu Bliu

Fast-track mentoring before the pitch

Another advantage of TechChill Baltics pitch is that finalists receive tailored mentoring the day before: something that is called TechHub Startup Academy, with relevant speakers as mentors. Here is what some previous participants have to say about it:

In the search of a brilliant idea don’t forget that it’s execution that usually trumps anything else.

Mintos is a peer-to-peer lending marketplace that connects investors with borrowers of various loan originators. In finance, trust plays a crucial role.

“Participating and winning in the Rietumu FinTech challenge organised by TechHub gave us additional credibility and confidence that we are working in the right direction. Also the advice from mentors was useful and encouraged us to set up more ambitious development plans.”

-Martins Sulte, co-founder of Mintos

In less than a year Mintos achieved something that other peer-to-peer lending platforms needed several years to do. More than 4000 investors from 32 countries have registered on the platform and funded more than EUR 11.8 million in loans.

“By creating a new concept of peer-to-peer lending model we are advancing the growth of alternative finance market and FinTech in general. Our advice to other startups – in the search of a brilliant idea don’t forget that it’s execution that usually trumps anything else.”

-Martins Sulte, co-founder of Mintos

This was the moment when we realized that our product is attractive to a huge real audience, not just the voices in our heads.

Monea is an app that lets you send small (<100 EUR) sums of money to your phonebook contacts. It has found wide applications when splitting the lunch bill, paying for group tours at school, helping out friends enjoying nightlife and many more.

“TechHub Academy unites a wide range of professionals in one place for intensive and targeted help. This is perfect to test a startup’s hypotheses in a short period of time and receive valuable feedback. For Monea, TechHub Academy was the moment when we realized that our product is attractive to a huge real audience, not just the voices in our heads. This was our point of realization: we must now work in this direction with all we’ve got!”

-Martins Berzins, co-founder of Monea

I was determined to get out of TechHub Academy much better than I came in. Now I have moved from an idea to a beta version and a spot in a US accelerator

CheeksUp is an intelligent face motion therapy game for children.

“When I came it was just me and my idea, I felt alone and pretty scared. Many others sounded further ahead, so I put in all my efforts to catch up and take all I coud from the event. The intensive work has paid off and I ended up 3rd in the selection. Since the Academy we have now built a beta version, presented CheeksUp at Global Startup Nations Summit in Mexico and gotten into Global Top 10 of most impactful startups. Next step is to head to a healthtech accelerator in the US. But all of that started with my first step: determination to get the most out of the experience. The opportunity is clearly there, I encourage everyone with an idea luring in their minds to give it a shot!”

The organizers still have not announced the prizes, but none of the people we asked mentioned it. Apparently, it is a nice-to-have feature but not the core value proposition of TechChill Baltics. Still, since they are celebrating 5 years in 2016, there must be pleasant surprises in store.

You can apply to pitch at TechChill Baltics 2015 by Jan 18 here .

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