Calling cities buzzing is a cliché for a reason. But it’s hard not to make the comparison. Not only is our fast-paced and somewhat chaotic way of interacting within the urban space undeniably swarm-like, but our cities are also, just like beehives, dependent on well-thought-out systems.
As urbanisation has progressed so have our ways to travel. But even though our means of transportation have come a long way since the horse-drawn railway in 1806, there are still progresses to be made. One of the most pressing issues is accessible transportation for everyone. All city people rely on high functioning and extensive transportation system to take them through the space they call home. But as anyone who’s ever been faced with an injury, a disability or pushed a stroller around would know - it’s not always easy.
For our upcoming BETAPITCH Challenge, we are specifically looking for startups that can help our infrastructure partners (BVG, DB, VBB & ViP) take accessible transportation in Berlin to the next level. To put you in the right mood, here are some examples of what’s going on within this area right now. However, if you’re not already excited maybe you’re not paying attention.
At the forefront of pushing accessibility projects forward is our main partner for this BETAPITCH Challenge: Toyota Mobility Foundation. Their strategy is built on partnering with local experts and organisations across the globe to envision and realise solutions to mobility challenges in that specific area.
One of those projects is the development of new transportation solutions for seniors in rural Japan, where mobility options such as ultra-small electric vehicles, ride-sharing, and on-demand transportation are being tested within the community.
When thinking of accessibility issues, it’s easy to forget none-physical disabilities. EMT, Madrid’s public bus company, was picked by the UN in 2016 as a good example of accessible urban development, because of their work of making it easier for people with sensory impairments travel. Their solution is visual and acoustic information at stations and on busses that can be activated via the passenger's phone.
As the mission of this BETAPITCH Challenge is to change the way Berlin moves, we should take a look at our home-city as well. With over 50 stations still missing elevators, it’s safe to say that Germany’s capital is far from 100% accessibility. But what the city lacks in elevators it makes up for with an entrepreneurial mindset.
Are you ready to make Berlin a more accessible place? Our infrastructure partners are - all they need is your innovative mind. Apply now, for the chance to pitch directly to the biggest transportation companies in and around Berlin - BVG, DB, VBB & ViP.
Applications close on March 11th. For more information on the competition, our partners and the prizes head over here.
In the summer, we launched a couple of new events in Neukölln like Freelancers, Unite!, The Backyard Sessions and My friend’s BBQ.
Freelancers, Unite! developed as our productive coworking session with freelancers from in and outside the ‘haus. Once a month, we picked an important freelance topic (such as taxes, time-management, etc) and invited experts to give us insights on the topic. We saw so many new faces and had the chance to come back closer to where we started from - the freelance, grassroots culture.
Another event, which started in July (and turned out to be our favourite events) were The Backyard Sessions. Organised by our queen of Neukölln - Robbin – the Backyard Sessions are our creative evenings with live music jams, movie screenings and cocktails.
This last event was hilarious because for quite some time, nobody knew exactly who organised it or invited them. The friend was throwing a BBQ for the community in the garden and this led to all our members joining and staying after for a beer or two with us.
‘’My favourite moment this year was the second friends bbq which was actually cancelled because of the rain forecast. But despite the bad weather, people show up and it turned into a super nice intimate evening with Elizaveta and Paul giving a garden concert.’’ - Robbin (Community Manager, betahaus)
''In July, it was great how the casual after-work BBQ turned into an impromptu acoustic blues jam session with Elizavetta Barsegova and Paul, who have the voice of an angel. Actually, all of the My Friend's BBQ's and Backyard Sessions were AWESOME.’’ - Paige (Head of Marketing, betahaus)
This year we released a new event format in Kreuzberg called ‘’The betaSalon’’. It's an open panel discussion which aims to give stage to important topics and give free speech on them. The fist one we did on the EU elections, last month we talked about changemakers, but our favourite one for this season stays ‘’Mother + Founder’’ where we partnered with FemGems podcast and recorded a live podcast episode for them having Madeleine Gummer von Mohl (betahaus co-founder), Kristine Zeller (co-creater of ooshi period underwear) and Luisa Hoffman on the stage.
Every September, our co-founders take part in the Techfestival. in Copenhagen, spending a few days disconnecting from the daily life and focusing on creating a better, more human-centered tech future. This year the think tank which included our co-founders Madeleine and Max came up with the TechPledge. The Tech Pledge was made to emphasize the need for a new direction in tech. Similar to the Hippocratic oath for doctors, the Tech Pledge is a promise to make tech a force for good and ensure responsible and sustainable tech leadership. It’s a commitment to driving a new direction in technology.
One of the most exciting projects for betahausX this year (which is also continuing in 2020) is their new startup challenge called The Werder Lab - a global startup competition that aims to reimagine the way clubs like Werder work with athletes, fans and partners.
This year couldn’t end without us having our favourite events - the end-of-the-year holiday party and the BETAPITCH Global Finals. On the 6th of December we saw the 9 finalists of the regional BETAPITCH competitions pitching in front of our jury. Congrats to Troy from Hamburg for winning the big prize.
We finished the year at our Holiday Party celebrating anything and everything at betahaus | Neukölln together with our members, friends of friends and our favourite artists from Passiflora LIVE, Tapete and Kotoe.
Thank you for being with us in 2019. It's been a crazy big year for us and it wouldn't been possible without your support, trust and the hard work of our amazing team. Have an amazing holiday time and we'll see you again in 2020.