These candidates can probably laugh only tiredly over green broadcasts like “2 minutes 2 millions” on pulse TV in Austria or “the cave of the lions” in Germany: On a frosty morning entrepreneurs from the whole world near the Finnish city Oulu rose through a hole in the ice cover in the Baltic Sea. There they stood chest-deep in the water – and explained their business idea.
An hour’s drive north of the Arctic Circle
A total of twelve startups fought this year’s so-called Polar Bear Pitching, a good hour’s drive away from the Arctic Circle, last week around the favor of the jury of entrepreneurs and investors and 10,000 euros in prize money. No one had to be afraid of extra length presentations because the speakers were only allowed to speak as long as they could stand in the freezing cold water. To warm up was then a hot bath ready.
While the jury, sitting in reindeer skins, sat ashore and listened, the contestants were trembling. Most were barely two minutes away. But with almost five minutes there was also a new ice water record: so long was in seven years Polar Bear Pitching yet no one stood in the ice water. But not only the willpower was crucial, the entrepreneurs had to convince the jury of their projects.
Victorious project with a very ordinary idea – but the toughest candidate
In the end, two Norwegians prevailed against the competition, which had traveled, among others, from Estonia, the USA and Kenya. “It feels awful, like having ten really strong guys in the face,” said Lasse Brurok, who won the prize money with his business partner Arne-Morten Willumsen. “We came here with the attitude that we will win, and it worked,” Brurok told AFP news agency after the victory, but he really could not believe it.
The business idea of Norwegians is not revolutionary in itself
Brurok and Willumsen operate a website where users can buy and sell new and used books. Other ideas in the competition included a super-light power cable and software to analyze video resumes. But the online marketplace convinced the jury – as well as the energy and the humor with which the duo defied the ice water. (Afp / apa / red)