Huge Thing powered by Alior Bank

I am thrilled. I do not write here very often. Being a CEO of the whole SpeedUp Group is quite a job (disclaimer: Huge Thing belongs to SpeedUp Group, which is also a venture capital company).

So when Huge Thing’s people ask me to write something, it means that we have managed to achieve something great.

So here I am announcing the new batch of best CEE accelerator (I am sure you have missed this great news), this time dedicated to fintech.

We cooperate with Alior Bank – leader in digital innovations among Polish financial institutions. Our partner is also a piece of a great entrepreneurship story. When you think of a bank, you think of an old, distinguished institution with 100 years of pedigree. Well, not this time. The company was founded in 2008 and in the first 5 years they have become an icon of the Polish banking industry, finally being acquired by the biggest insurance company in the region – PZU.

Let me clarify a few things: this programme is under Alior Bank’s supervision, but we are searching for companies who want to become great by themselves. Alior gives you the sandbox to test your product/solution with a top-notch banking player. But, they do not own or use you. I admire this company because they see how fruitful such an approach can be (even if it is not completely obvious).


Thanks to our cooperation with PARP (Polish Agency for Entrepreneurship Development), we offer up to 50k Euro as a grant with no equity. I think this is a real opportunity incomparable with any other fintech accelerator (with a comparable track record).

Of course, on our website, you will be provided with all necessary details, but let me emphasise one thing; even though the programme is located in Warsaw, we look forward to seeing the best teams from Central and Eastern Europe.

Come and start your business with us. Simply check out our offer you will realise it’s a NO-BRAINER.

Bartek Gola, General Partner, SpeedUp Venture Capital Group




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Huge Thing 2016: Summary by DeepDoc

The end of 2016 was very busy for our team. Not only did we get accepted into Huge Thing, but also won a Startup Global competition and had a lot of people asking about our solution and, of course, its effectiveness. However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start from the beginning.

Because 2016 was very fruitful in information about AI related startups, not only worldwide but also in Poland, it was a good time for DeepDoc, which uses machine learning to predict and diagnose mood disorders based on Instagram pictures, and serves psycho-educational content via a Messenger chatbot, helping its users to improve their emotional well-being. It is  valuable because only 50% of people suffering from mood disorders get proper help, mainly due to misdiagnosis and limited access to specialists. Considering the fact that there are 350 million people with mood disorders worldwide, we are facing a huge problem. Speaking about “huge” – Huge Thing was the first acceleration program that we have decided to apply to and we have gotten accepted.

We did not know what to expect, so we took everything at face value, nonetheless, we had our aims when entering the program. I can say now that a little over a month after Huge Thing ended, we got what we wanted. What was it we wanted?

Firstly, feedback from other participants, mentors and investors. The thing with feedback is that you need to know what to take from it and what to leave, otherwise you can get a bit dizzy with contradicting opinions. Nonetheless, during the 4 weeks of Huge Thing we have received a lot of feedback, which helped us take a bold step to try to market our service abroad. That was possible thanks to the people we have met while attending Huge Thing.

Networking is the second most valuable thing we got out of the program. Participating in Huge Thing allowed us to meet with other entrepreneurs from Poland and Germany; mentors, who are highly respected specialists in their fields of sales, marketing, legal aspects and even HR, which seems to be neglected in startup events. Each of the team was assigned to one of the mentors from Aviva and a group of cooperating mentors. Those one-on-ones benefited us a lot, both knowledge and networking wise. Also, people from Aviva gave us a sense of what kind of solutions are interesting for them. One thing to be changed in the future is the structure of those meetings – right from the beginning, I would make it clear how many hours the teams have with each mentor and how those meetings would look like. Nevertheless, thanks to Huge Thing’s networking, we are going to the U.K. to learn about the local market and what potential it holds for our product.

I believe in lifelong learning, especially in business; talking with people, reading books, attending seminars – all of these are important to grow. Of course, getting thing done is fundamental, but from my experience, too many founders neglect these elements stated above.

Especially to them, I recommend Huge Thing as a fast track to running a startup and a condensed dose of knowledge. Why? Because you can learn how to run a startup the hard way or the easy/easier way. I believe that attending Huge Thing will take you on the latter path.

Lastly, Huge Thing is over and it comes the time when we, as founders, and the program itself get verified. As for DeepDoc, we are executing our plan for 2017, gaining more and more interest from investors and organizations. We also have a big decision to make at the beginning of the second half of this year, namely whether we should focus on Polish or British market. We are supported by PAIZ, whom we met also thanks to the Huge Thing team. We are working with a research unit from SWPS to improve our algorithm and we are planning to use even more data to give our users a service of best quality and accuracy, hence the best chance for maintaining emotional well-being.

Piotr Podlaś, DeepDoc


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The third edition of is over! It’s time to sum up this batch.


This edition was special! For the first time, was realized in the cooperation with a corporate partner that was a global insurance leader – Aviva. Together, we selected the best startups from CEE that have the potential not only to improve Aviva’s market competetivness, but can also improve its operational activity as an organization.
Thus, third edition of also served as a kind of ‘bridge’ between corporations and startup world. It was a huge program’s value, but it also was a great challenge for us!
Nevertheless, we managed to successfully accelerated 10 teams that we’re totally proud of: Bonsai, Brokeria, Cyberus Labs, DeepDoc, FlyFox, Kundi,, Snowsurance,, VideoBot. 
We believe that participation in program was not only an adventure for them. 
We hope they drew a lot on knowledge and experiences of such great market experts as Bianca  Praetorius, Tristan Pollock, Janusz Berta, Łukasz Turczyński, Patric Young, Robert Marczak, Anthony Hsiao, Artur Jabłoński, Darius Moeini and more.

We hope our program brought a lot of value to each project and deliver many inspirations to teams! Although this year’s edition is already over we’ll stay in touch with its attendees just as we do with previous editions’ Alumni! We know it’s them and their feedback that helps us to improve what we do, that helps us to create better way of inspiring, educating and accelerating other projects!

As said one of our alumni – Marek from Cyberus Labs: ‘The most valuable lesson you can get from accelerator is to challenge yourself, to get new knowledge and to get a feedback – positive or negative is always win situation, because you learn from it’.

Summing up third edition in few words we can proudly say: HARD WORK, HEADS FULL OF INSPIRATIONS, CLOSE FRIENDSHIPS and BEAUTIFUL MEMORIES.

Although we just finished batch, we’re not going to stop over! As the new year is already on, we’re more than ready to launch new HT edition! This time we cooperate with Alior Bank and look for FinTech projects in areas of Blockchain, Biometrics, AI, IoT, Cyber Security, Payments.

We’ll keep you informed about the application period. Stay tuned, because the recruitment process will be quite differently organized this time. As promised, we want to get better and improve for you all the time!

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We’re back, and we’re back in style (corporate)!

When we started Huge Thing, back in 2012, we thought that a crucial point for new tech entrepreneurs was to gain knowledge necessary to run their business.

That’s why we created Huge Thing program – more of a “modern MBA”, than a regular venture-investment service. We’ve already organized its two batches, managed to create successful businesses like Transparent Choice, Vicoinz, GetBadges, Livecall or Dealavo . Some of our alumni didn’t manage to succeed with their first businesses, however, now they have fantastic careers as entrepreneurs or managers.

We had a huge internal discussion about what the new edition should look like. Where are startups’ major weak points? What aspect of our help would be most valuable and allow to really accelerate these growing businesses’ development?

There were two clear winners: factual knowledge (business/vertical specific) and access to the market. I know, it’s not an unexpected discovery. the real question was rather how to address them. Few months ago we realized that we wouldn’t be able to deliver those features ourselves. No matter how great mentors we hire, it simply won’t work.

There was actually one solution. We should build a partnership with a corporation, who could contribute their knowledge and access to their natural market. Easy to say. Corporations were sort of Terra Incognita for us. We knew they existed, but at the same time we felt like they were against tech entrepreneurship values.


There was an important class called “customer discovery” in the Huge Thing learning process. During this class, we encouraged startups not to assume too much. Go to your clients and users, ask them what they think, know, what they need. We realized we were making this common mistake: making so many assumptions without verifying them. The reality was different. We’ve met over 20 big companies while checking whether creating a partnership with Huge Thing would be a valuable thing for them. And you know what? The reaction was warmer that we could’ve dreamt of. Large companies do realize that it’s hard for them to create innovation as quickly as startups do. On the other hand, they have access to huge markets because they’re credible (successfully delivering solutions to particular markets for decades). Yes, we need each other – there’re simply no enough institutional places to communicate, build trust and, finally, cooperate.

We’ve decided to create a partnership with AVIVA – a global leader in the insurance business.

Why? Two reasons: we found there a great team of people with culturally fitting so-called startup mindset: openness, willingness to search for new possibilities, questioning the status-quo. The other reason is very businesslike – Aviva managers aren’t interested in startups because they’re fancy and sort of “trendy” stuff. They see a clear business opportunity in creating value through connecting innovative companies/solutions with a market leader with established position.

So, the deal is very simple; if your product aligns with the preferred areas of: product and sales, communication and customer service, insurance claim repair & settlement, and organizational development – you should APPLY. no strings attached – we don’t expect any equity (you’re not getting an investment automatically), we just want you to be ready to deploy your solutions with Aviva – of course, on the commercial basis.

I do hope it’s a situation often described as a “no-brainer”. I’ve been watching dozens of young companies, and I know that access to the market – first sale – is most often the main obstacle on the way of developing their business. This time, for the first time in Poland (I believe it applies to the whole CEE region), we’re about to help you to avoid it.

Hope to see you in November during the third batch of Huge Thing, this time, powered by Aviva.

Bartek Gola, General Partner, SpeedUp Venture Capital Group

If you have any questions we’ll be for your disposal next Thursday (October 13th) in Warsaw. Please sign up for OFFICE HOURS.

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HugeThing is over. We woke up in a new reality, without daily newsletters describing the meetings we attended and without agendas for the next day, which included daily talks with mentors, other participants and the SpeedUp team. Without cookies, apples, tea, or free pizza from Microsoft ;).

It means it’s time to sum up.

It was an incredibly valuable experience for us. We already had some experience related to startup-like events and workshops, however, what we’ve been offered by SpeedUp was incomparable to anything else. 15 days packed with knowledge. The majority of sessions have provided us with pointers we can now implement in our current project, whilst volumes of valuable notes were growing in size. The evolution of our pitch – its initial and final form, on the Demo Day – is its own proof. We have a product which isn’t easy to describe. It had been difficult to explain in the least, until we met Bianca Praetorius from Berlin. She guided us on how to present it (storytelling) in a way that’d be comprehensible to everyone. We suddenly got enlightened on how, in a simple manner, to convey to everyone the gist of the whole mechanism – thanks Bianca!

Aside from the workshops, we were able to gather a lot of information and advice from the conversations we had with the mentors. We found that meeting Maks Salamonowicz from ACR Systems, who works in hardware in our current target market, was particularly valuable.

It was a one-of-a-kind opportunity for networking. In a friendly and laid-back atmosphere, at times over beer, we could expand our network. Within this group of organizers, workshop conductors and other participants, are people who are able to help your startup, quite often unconsciously or with zero effort. Try to pitch your product as often as possible – that’s how I gained contacts to potential customers in Malta, India, Croatia, and South Africa. How cool is that? ;).

We’re aware it was the kind of event whose benefits haven’t completely materialized yet, since they’re still ahead of us waiting to unfold. We’re unable to thank each and every one personally for these three weeks. It was a pleasure working with you. We’re proud we could be a part of HugeThing.

How did we end up at HugeThing? We’re a startup located in Łódź, which designs and builds robotic camera operators. It makes recording high-quality video cheaper and simpler. Its beneficiaries are video-bloggers, whose goal would be achieving great effects without the need for hiring a professional operator, as well as people who make a living from making movies, interviewing, or music-video production on a daily basis.

A basic tool designed for this purpose is the so-called camera slider. It produces smooth dynamic shots, as you can see here: Udrive is a manufacturer of devices performing a camera-operator’s job for you; namely, camera slider drivers. Within 30 seconds setup, you’re able to film a wonder like from the link above. Sounds good? I only want to add that it’s the world’s first driver capable of being mounted on any camera slider, which had been impossible until now. So far, production studios, videographers, or filming equipment rental businesses were using numerous sliders, thus they were forced to generate multiple costs by purchasing many drivers. Thanks to Udrive, one driver is all it takes, and your money stays in your pocket :).

On top of everything, a beautiful wireless pad with the largest (3,2”) display available; featuring a mobile application, presets allowing you to store and reuse programmed shot-settings, very quiet operating along with feature-and-mode rich variety. Please visit us at and check how else we may help you to record something amazing.

Aleksander Grzelka, Udrive

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Let’s us welcome the teams!

So it’s done! Almost 20 teams will join our Huge Thing batch on 6th of October (list here). One month ago, when we’d kicked-off the #HT.VC  we didn’t know that we could expect so many applications. We were a bit afraid that the concept of a 3-weeks pre-acceleration (without cash-awards) wouldn’t be interesting for many Polish entrepreneurs. And yes, we require a lot from the participants. We demand a full engagement, we do not accept any absence, etc. But, after we’d started to talk about Huge Thing openly, we felt that it’s completely different. Some asked us even to pay, just to be independent students (guys, sorry we don’t do that)…

We decided to make calls to 30 teams from all over the country and from abroad, that interested us the most. We have to admit that the choice was really difficult. We’d planned to invite just 15, but finally we decided to give a chance to few extra crews. Unfortunately, even so, we had to say “bye” to many others. However, our aim was to choose teams that would be able to make the most dynamic improvement and those who would be determined to risk more than other colleagues. We also looked for a real passion to the product and a candid will to learn – not just to meet & greet with cool mentors. Will see, if we were right 🙂

In the meantime, we’ve added some more great mentors. You can see them on on our website. It seems that we will close the list with 50+ mentors, be ready for a really hard work, workshops and one-on-one sessions with them. Guys… Blue Monster is really big this year and we will make these 3 weeks of your life really intensive!

See you soon!

Marcin, Investment Manager @ SpeedUp Venture Capital Group

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What’s in it for you?

It was 3 years ago. I didn’t understand the startup world and I had no idea what’s it all about. But at the same time, together with my partner, we had the idea of creating web and mobile app to improve tourism experience. We knew that this idea is worth to spread so the decision of applying to Huge Thing was quick and simple. We’d created short video and we were choosen to the group of 19 lucky people for a 6 month accelerator. We started to feel that something huge is going to happen 🙂

We can’t expect that everything in our live will be given for free. Only hard work, effectiveness and focus make us grow. It was the same with Huge Thing. Joining the accelerator was not about getting the money or building the product that immediately would make us billionaires. The value is hidden in people. Once you know how to network, talk to people and learn from their experience – you’re on the right way to be succesful. In this regard Huge Thing is very openminding and refreashing. Not only for participants but also for whole startup enviroment.

How did it finish for me? In fact, I didn’t finish the product I had been working on that time, but since then I’ve been involved in the local and polish startup scene. I learnt a lot about company culture, specific business approach and many other things, that gave me the basis I’m still developing each day.

After the past three years I’m happy to be an enteprenuer with my own recruitment business where I’m helping startup companies build awesome teams.

Huge Things gave me the direction and opened my mind. And actually, that’s the best thing you can get from the accelerator.

Don’t waste the opportunity!

Aleksandra Pszczoła, owner, BeeTalents

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4 benefits from HugeThing that keep paying off

This really was a huge thing for both me personally and Whalla.

Because before Whalla Labs became what it is today – a software development agency with a focus on mobile – there was this other thing called ‘ Whalla’.

But it all started out even earlier.

I joined Huge Thing with an idea wrote down on a piece of paper and a hope someone will help me to make it real. I was solo back then – no team, nor that much of experience.

Here are 4 things about participating in Huge Thing I find most beneficial.

Although, there are many, many more, these 4 keep paying off every day.

They changed my life.

Benefit #1: Motivation

After just a few initial days I soaked in completely. Literally, mentors persuaded me into startups.

At the time, I worked for, a startup and a nice place to work in. But launching a venture of my own, that’s another cup of tea – at first it seemed a little scary, but once I’ve had a few conversations with mentors it changed 180 degrees.

We’ve spent long hours talking about running a company: risks and hard work, and excitement and all the fun parts.

To cut it short, I was so pumped up that I decided to quit my job and take a leap of faith into building a business.

In a week-time I’ve made my mind to change whole course of my life.

I credit this entrepreneurial choice to Huge Thing.

It was totally worth it.

Benefit #2: People and Pivots

My initial idea was to build analytics for offline retail.

It was cool enough to get me into the program, but I wasn’t really capable of building it. At the time, I hadn’t figured it out too well, and I lacked a team to make it all happen.

So, after few weeks I dropped the ball on this one.

This is yet another thing I’ve learned at HT – don’t stick to your idea too much.

If you happen to lose faith in your project or learn that it doesn’t really make sense, just leave it.

This didn’t end my journey, though.

I was lucky to meet Wojtek Hołysz at the time (today he runs a brilliant video marketing agency, Filmpoint).

Wojtek, like everyone else at HT, had an idea, too. This time, it was a mobile app.

I liked it and I was into mobile already, so we teamed up.

Instagram was a big thing back then in 2012 and there still was a lot of hype around social media, experience sharing, being connected and stuff like this.

So we decided to follow the crowd and build something to piggyback on the trends – quite clever, right?

We did some ‘market research’ and it seemed like we got it!

It was supposed to be a photo app for sharing experiences from various events.

That’s how I met a co-founder and pivoted from B2B analytics software to B2C mobile app.

It would be much, much harder without Huge Thing. Maybe I would’ve even passed on entrepreneurship altogether.

Benefit #3: Network

I managed to build a website myself, but to keep progressing on a fast pace we needed more firepower. The developers – lifeblood of every tech business.

But how’d you do that?

Enter networking.

There’s a fair chance that as a startup newbie your network is pretty much nonexistent. And I bet that you have no idea about recruiting or sales, or marketing whatsoever (at least I didn’t).

Here come the mentors. I found them helpful so many times, you wouldn’t believe.

One of the best things about them, aside of their will to help and operational knowledge they share, is their network.

Just ask them to help and out of the sudden you’re getting dozens of intro emails. This is exactly how we recruited three developers to finish the project.

Afterwards, we received massive amount of how-to tips regarding team building, managing software engineering and acquiring our first customers.

Moreover, we learned how to use our network, how to build a team and how to manage processes to actually build and ship your product.

I mean, how cool is that?

You can literally outsource networking with mentors and get them to introduce you to potential co-founders, employees and of course customers.

Plus, one can simply learn ‘from the trenches’ kind of stuff directly from them.

Pretty powerful, isn’t?

Benefit #4: Real Business

We did it! We’ve built and launched ‘Whalla’ the photo app!

But again…

The market wasn’t as much enthusiastic about our idea, as we were. The app didn’t make much money and we’ve learned that mobile business is not that easy the hard way.

It was pretty much a failure.

After that I didn’t gave up on building apps.

I put all this experience and work we did at Huge Thing to create what now is Whalla Labs.

Thanks to connections I made there and lessons I learned, we were able to get in touch with LubimyCzytać.pl and start working with them.

And from then on, we kept doing even better.

Today I work with a great team of 25 dedicated and awesome people. We did lots of web and mobile projects for brands from Poland and from abroad such as Qpony, Microsoft, Agora and Wirtualna Polska.

The time I spent with Huge Thing and what it taught me, and connections I made there, are something valuable and worth spreading.

I can’t stress it enough: Huge Thing was a life changer for me.

It’s a gift that keeps on giving. No book can teach you this stuff.

Piotr Biegun, CEO Whalla Labs

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And here we go again…

I am a big fan of rock music from the 80’s (do not laugh, there are worse shortcomings ;-))

There was a band called Whitesnake. They had a smashing hit: „Here I go again – on my own”. So I am tormenting my family singing it whole weekend, but there is a good reason for that. Huge Thing acceleration programme is coming back.

But this time we are not coming back „on our own”. Featuring 500 startups, we try to deliver the knowledge to teams, young companies who are at the beginning of their business trip. We call it pre-acceleration cause we want you – our potential participants – to understand that if, in the near future, you are about to apply to other programmes (500 startups like) you are more than welcome. We have the ambition to be just the beginning of your journey.

What is it going to be like? We offer three weeks of hard work in Poznan. There will be many topics presented by top active professionals from around the globe. Starting form business / idea creation, prototyping, UX sessions up to selling and pitching techniques.

Best teams will receive funding from SpeedUp Group and hopefully other funds invited to our Demo Day.

I am absolutely sure, that we’ve got the agenda (scope and quality of knowledge) which is hard to compare with anything else in CEE.

Please follow our scheduled agenda and be a part of something HUGE.

Bartek Gola, Managing Partner, SpeedUp Venture Capital Group

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