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Start reading! is over


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

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

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

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

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