Bikeep – first to the US, then to Tallinn

06.10.2016
bikeep
Bikeep operates today in several cities around the world; it has installed a total of 400 smart bike parking lots, and it has a huge contract with San Francisco in its pocket. With the help of Prototron, smart electric bike charging stations and parking lots are also emerging in Tallinn.

“In the future, the share of electric bikes on the streets is increasing and, therefore, the need for locking them is also growing. To help ensure ease of use and battery life for longer rides, it is reasonable to charge electric bikes while they are parked. The interest for such charging stations has shown up in lots of places, and in spring, a prototype station will definitely be up and running Tallinn,” said Kristjan Lind, who is responsible for customer relations and sales in Bikeep. The team also includes Oliver Nuut, whose area of responsibility is designing and manufacturing the charging station, Ainar Estra, who is engaged in the development of the charging modules, and Meelis Haidak, who develops control the processes for charging.

In regard to receiving funding from Prototron, Kristjan noted that the whole process forces one carefully think through the product life cycle (from product development to sales) and allows the winners to come up with a clear plan for and support for the realization of their idea. “This is a good opportunity for bringing your exciting product ideas into reality,” said Kristjan and added that definitely the most important part of the product is understanding potential customers or how to design the product according to their needs

Bikeep has understood the needs of its customers and will continue its flight to stardom.
You have the opportunity to do the same – send an application with your smart idea to us at www.prototron.ee.

Applications can be submitted until 15 October!

Prototron helps Tallinn to benefit from 3 innovative solutions


sOlo termostaat
During the Entrepreneurship Day that took place on Tuesday, 4 October, the winners of Prototron Tallinn Round were announced. The three winning teams received over 20,000 euros in total. The Tallinn Round welcomed ambitious ideas able to make life in the capital better and easier.

The expert council awarded the following participants of the Tallinn Round:

  • Bikeep team (6,000 € of funding) with the idea of smart bicycle parking lots that provide for secure and easy locking and the solution for charging electric bicycles;
  • solO Thermostat (4,460 € of funding) that develops a smart thermostat that makes electrical heating more environmentally friendly and cheap;
  • Creatomus team (10,000 € of funding) that develops the digital market for construction works and materials that allows owners and buyers to plan construction and repairs with help of 3D technology.

According to the head of the innovations commission of Tallinn City Council Andres Kollist, Tallinn has always been open to innovative new ideas. “In order to find new ideas that can make lives of residents and guests of Tallinn easier and more comfortable, we decided to cooperate with Prototron – one of the most successful Estonian startup foundations. In the Tallinn Round three ideas with great potential were selected – in the nearest future they will make life in Tallinn even more comfortable,” says Kollist and adds that preference was given to solutions that can be used as widely as possible. “The number of those using bicycles as their main means of transportation in Tallinn is growing constantly and safe parking of bicycles is the major issue for such people. Improvement of living environment and home renovation will become significantly simpler with use of 3D technology. Saving on electricity is also important – the funded innovation will help many people with budgeting. This is why we can’t wait to see the prototypes and the actual products entering the market,” Kollist explains the reasons for selecting the particular ideas.

114 ideas submitted for the Tallinn Round demonstrate that there are great many proactive and initiative people in the capital who wish to change living conditions in the city and the urban environment to the better.

“Simple yet smart solutions to various problems help to improve our daily lives. I am very happy that so many ideas were submitted for the Tallinn Round, and I hope that our experience will inspire other cities, major regions, smaller communities and individuals alike. We welcome ideas from everyone – regardless of their place of residence. The new Prototron round has already started and will end on 15 October,” adds Jana Pavlenkova, the chief executive officer of Prototron.
Prototron foundation, established in 2012 by Swedbank, Tehnopol and Tallinn University of Technology so far has provided financing to 35 ideas for the total amount of 380,000 euros. Some of them grew to become international success stories – Lingvist, Flydog, coModule, GlobalReader and Sprayprinter. Sponsors of the foundation are the Ministry of the Environment, the city of Tallinn, Utilitas and Hedman Partners.
Applications can be submitted until 15 October: www.prototron.ee.

More information and contact details:

Jana Pavlenkova
Chief executive officer of Prototron
jana@prototron.ee
www.prototron.ee

How to get money from Prototron to implement your idea?


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The Prototron application round is underway again, which is why it is worth to recall the seven of the most important points that can help you to prove to the Panel of Experts that your idea is worth the funding of EUR 10,000.
The advantage of obtaining funds from Prototron is simplicity: the application can be filled in online, you do not have to have an enterprise to submit the application, all enterprising people are welcome to present their ideas, it is not necessary to provide your activity reports of previous years, it is the idea and a capable team that are important.

1. The idea must be understandable immediately
The primary decision regarding financing the idea will be made on the basis of applications submitted by the teams, so it is most important to formulate your world-altering idea as clearly as possible. It must be clear in just a few sentences why, for whom, and how? Also is important the uniqueness of the idea, or what problem it solves?

2. An expert team
The mere ingenious idea is however not enough for conquering the world; someone has actually to implement it. Practice shows that if one person is able to see the best technical solution to a problem (which is often their own problem), they may lack competence in the field of marketing or sales. Or, if you have a good idea and customers, there must be at least one of the co-founders on the team, who will be able to carry out the idea technically. Therefore, enlist around yourself a team who is able to successfully bring the product or the service to the world market.

3. Show commitment
The evaluators of the idea consider it important that the team is wholeheartedly involved. Therefore, describe where the team is currently with developing their idea? In the best case, the negotiations have been held with potential customers who have already made a commitment to test and use the product. Of course, no one expects the team members to quit his or her current day job on the spot, but the Expert Panel must be able to see that the team is ready to commit to the product, and even at the expense of his or her free (or sleep) time.

4. Know your market
To sell your product/service successfully, you must map the target group who would be willing to buy it and at what price – how large is the number of potential customers? If your product would, in reality, have just a few customers or its price would be inaccessible for the major part, it does not seem too promising. Find out if there are already competitors operating in the same field and how is your product different from the currently existing products? What is this “something” that makes your product desirable?

5. Assess your need for money, realistically
With the grant from Prototron, the team can create their first tangible prototype, so write down 5-7 main cost lines, for which you plan to use the grant (preferably for the purchase or outsourcing the components necessary for assembling the product), and to which extent is the team able itself to contribute financially? Have you planned to involve other funding sources (EAS, Estonian Development Fund, KredEx, the ESTBAN, BuildIt, Ajujaht etc.)?

6. Time is money
The faster the first prototype is ready, the faster it will reach the first paying customers to be sold. List the realization of the idea into timewise measurable steps, so you will be able to plan the actions of the team better. Depending on the complexity of the product/service, it could make it to the market within a year after the completion of the prototype.

7. It is always worth at least a try
To succeed, it is often necessary to experience failures; it is part of the evolution. For success, it makes sense to involve those who have walked the same road before as mentors. Prototron experts provide feedback on many ideas, providing help on how to develop an idea further if the plan is still at the level of thought, but the idea is worth implementing. Prototron gives strong teams, in addition to money, also mentoring, an incubation program, legal and marketing advice, further investor contacts and specific other types of help when appropriate.

Prototron is waiting for your application until 15 October at 23:59 at: www.prototron.ee. The amount that will be shared between teams in the current round of applications is about 40,000 euros.