OK!Thess completes a year

OK!Thess has completed a year of existence. A busy year full of learning - we changed our mind several times about several things. Mind-changing distinguishes a live organism from a dead one, or soon to be.

We were given a wonderful building and we started by preparing the space for the things to come. Chairs, tables, couches making corners for casual, leisurely but fruitful conversations. Lockers for the teams, cupboards and then equipment – big screens for the laptops, projectors and screens for presentations. Not all at a single go. Frugal solutions first until certainty is reached on the go.

The first event – a hackathon – and the first meetups started in October 2016. The meetups, the hosting of events, competitions, our own conferences and unconference soon made OK!Thess the place of reference for the techies and innovators in the City. The philosophy behind it? Things change so fast there is no formal, or top-down, way people can keep up to date. Bottom up events to share important developments just-in-time and to exchange best practices keep our techie communities healthy – an essential part of building an ecosystem.

At the same time, came the first call for proposals for teams to receive our support, then a second and finally the latest call, when 12 teams were accepted to start on October 1st  - more than those accepted in the first two together. What caused the increase? We did not cast our principles and methodology in concrete. Instead, we adapted through learning seeking a “satisficing” structure. By the time the October 2017 call was launched the emerging structure has been producing results good enough for a pre-incubator. Word spreads.

What are good results? The most important ones are to be found in the ability of a team to convince and be convinced of the value of its venture and its ability to have this value realised. The second most important one is to know when to abandon or pivot an idea which, however good, cannot be implemented. Funding is not the goal of a pre-incubator but may be a side effect. Four of our teams raised sums from €15000 to €250000 and this shows value: someone trusted them with their own money even at this early pre-incubator stage.

The October 2017 call marks a sea-change in the progress of OK!Thess. Dedicated coaches have been recruited and a comprehensive bootcamp-month has been designed with results that left everybody happy: A long and intensive weekend established the fundamentals for all teams, each team has been assigned a coach and two interactive masterclasses a week reinforced much needed soft skills, business savvy and attitudes. A coach watches over a team like a “mother” and the mentors provide specialist experience.

Marching towards the first quarter evaluation, we now run the fourth call – ending on December 31 – for a new cohort. You can join us and benefit from our ever improving support.