Kamil Barbarski joined our mission to Sillicon Valley! He is an entrepreneur, ecosystem builder and innovation hacker from Cologne/Germany. His goal is to help people and organizations follow ideas that matter for themselves and others so that they can focus on what’s essential in life and business.
Hi Kamil! It’s been 6 months since the Soft-Landing mission to Silicon Valley, and even longer since you applied! But we are interested to know, could you think back to when you applied and tell us what you were hoping for this mission?
For me it was the perfect timing when I discovered Soft-Landing. I just left my company and was looking for new adventures. My first thought was: That’s so great. I can see more of the startup world, serve a bigger purpose and get to know like-minded people. I’m always looking for good opportunities to help myself and my business grow and this was a perfect next step to do so. And I’ve never been to Silicon Valley before. I had been working in the startup scene as an entrepreneur and ecosystem builder for more than 6 years, heard and talked so much about the Valley but never experienced it hands-on. If you are in the startup community you have to go there at least once.
Beyond the specific agenda of the mission, what insights did you gain, or what skills did you improve throughout the week?
I learned a ton about how the valley is working and connected with amazing people. The huge number of startups and innovation initiatives and the straight forward culture that is much more goal oriented are the things that impressed me most. On the other side I also recognized what we’ve got in our ecosystem that I really appreciate. In my personal experience these are things like our social security systems that reduce risk for founders if they fail and a stronger connection to work-life balance, as well as social responsibility. I also learned how to network and communicate in the Valley, what investors are looking for and most importantly when and how it makes sense for European startups to move to the US. It’s so great to have all this knowledge and share it with startups that I meet in Europe so that they gain more possible roads to success.
You’ve already mentioned to us that one of the benefits of Soft-Landing for you was bringing “back home a strong network”. Could you tell us more about building your network in Silicon Valley?
We had amazing speakers and hosts in various companies, startups and accelerators. I connected with most of them and know now who to ping if I need infos or want to start something in the Valley. It makes a huge difference if you meet the people in person, shake their hands, even if you don’t work together immediately. I have a lot of ideas what I could do with my contacts in the valley.
Now, at 6 months after the mission, have you gained any new partnerships or closed any deals as a result of the Soft-Landing mission?
So far I’m in contact with two participants from Berlin with whom I’m talking about specific projects. I also have a long list of people I can meet in almost any European country and the Valley that I will definitely contact when my new projects get to a certain level.
Since returning home, have you implemented any of the lessons learned in the mission into your own work, or even shared tips with your local ecosystem?
Yes, of course. I reached out to my ecosystem via social media and offered anybody advice who wants to know more about Silicon Valley. I met with a couple of founders and ecosystem builders. The things that I told them were mostly new insights for them. I also included my learnings into my talks, workshops, accelerator programs and startup coachings.
What would you say to a startup or an ecosystem leader thinking of joining our upcoming missions to New York or Silicon Valley?
Just do it! Especially if you’ve never been to any of these ecosystems. It will be a huge benefit for you as person, for your business and for all the people in your ecosystem. The more we connect, the more we can work together and make a bigger impact for startups and innovation in general. Thank you for making this happen!
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