This is the story of me getting to Berlin, while my luggage was enjoying its rest in Istanbul.
First of all, the reason I went to Berlin was because I’ve been invited by Alex Farcet to be one of the mentors for the Startupbootcamp Berlin Selection Days 2012. It was an unexpected invitation and it made me so happy I was given the chance to experience the other side of the table and add value to fellow entrepreneurs that were competing for the 10 spots opened this year at SBC Berlin. I really took this seriously and I believe that my SBC Alumni status gave me a unique perspective over the teams & ideas that were presented in Berlin.
Reaching Berlin wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. The food onboard of Turkish Airlines was great, but although I had a 4 hour transfer time in Istanbul, when I got to Berlin my luggage was sadly lost. Yes, by lost I mean no one knew exactly where it was. You would think that 4 hours is enough time to transfer a luggage from one airplane to another, but no! It took them 3 extra days to find it and ship it to my temporary address in Berlin. My confidence was further shaken by the appalling stories I read over the Internet… and some people even made step by step tutorials on how to deal with Turkish Airlines in the likely event they’ll lose your luggage.
As if this was not enough for the day, because I had to fill up some forms at the airport, I was late to pick up the keys for the flat so I ended up on the streets … homeless. Well, maybe not exactly homeless because I still had my laptop and iPad with me J Eventually I was able to get into the flat and I have to tell you that seeing the empty wardrobe 3 days in a role was not an encouraging sight. The 3 T-Shirts, 1 pair of jeans, a few socks and underpants I bought immediately the next day from a shopping mall brought a shade of normality to my miserable situation, but they were not enough to make me feel comfortable.
So, with only a few clothes at my disposal, I went straight to SBC headquarters to mentor the hell out of the 20 teams, 2 days in a role. At the end of it, only half of them made it to the 3-month SBC program that’s about to start on 30th of September. And boy!, it was hard to decide on the final 10!
I have to say I was impressed by the quality of the teams, all 20 of them, the energy they had throughout the entire selection period and the willingness to learn and adapt based on the feedback they received from mentors, even in this short amount of time.
I’m thankful I had the chance to meet the SBC Berlin batch and I can’t wait to see the show they’re going to put on the Investor Day in Berlin.