Last week, the region’s biggest green-tech conference GreenEST Summit took place at Kultuurikatel. In addition to comprehensive keynotes and panel discussions, the event also hosted a large demo-area, where 21 different green-tech start-ups presented their innovative solutions. A virtual pitching competition was held between all of the start-ups in order to find the most promising according to the conference’s participants.
Six start-ups presented their technological solutions at NOCCA’s booth: Nutiparkla, Vokbike, Aufort, Bidrento, PhaseGrowth and EcoPetBox. The pitching competition was won by one of Nocca’s own – Nutiparkla. We had a short conversation with the founder of Nutiparkla, Khuldoon Bukhari and Vokbike’s Indrek Petjärv.
How has the event been for you?
Petjärv: It went actively! It was the first conference for us to show the VOK bike. We worked hard for three days and nights before the conference, but the end goal was to finish our latest prototype by GreenEST. This we managed to do successfully, so overall I would say it has been a successful conference for us!
Bukhari: We found some good leads, some great advice from being at the demo area here so it has been really nice, I would say.
What has been the highlight of the event for you?
Petjärv: The overall highlight was that at least 20-30 people tried to ride our vehicle. Everyone liked it and rode the vehicle intuitively – there was no need for any training. This has been one of the main goals while making this vehicle: if we want to make it shareable, then it has to be very intuitive and easily learnable. I think we managed to do this well, the event has been validation for us.
Bukhari: I think we have got two very good leads from the customer side personally. I really liked the start-ups that were here, some of them are doing a wonderful job. I got to try their products and I really hope that they’ll go to market and I’ll be able to buy some of the products that were here today.
Why do you think we need green conferences like this?
Petjärv: I think this is a good opportunity for people in the field to meet, discuss and learn from each other’s mistakes, experiences, and so on. I think this is a good place for experts in the field to come together and discuss.
Bukhari: Well, it puts a different dimension into perspective. I was here a month ago with Latitude59 – it was solely focused on raising funds, it was too capitalistic and all about money. These conferences make you understand that you don’t only have to think about money – you can think about bigger global change as well as you can make money through it. It’s benefiting every aspect of the society – it’s making our lives better as well as it’s making money. Having start-ups like this and focusing on them on the investor side is a really great thing.
What do you think is the function of start-ups in tackling climate problems?
Petjärv: Climate problems need to be acted upon very quickly, so I think that the flexibility of start-ups could be one of the keys to ensuring that our solutions are quick and efficient. If an old-school company starts trying to innovate, then they will first discuss everything for five years, and then maybe a decision will be reached. I think that because the climate problem is so urgent, we need to act very quickly and start-ups are the best option for this.
Bukhari: I think start-ups are more bold, they can take more aggressive stances than corporations can. They have huge willpower and motivation driving them and there is not that much at stake to lose so they can be wild and experiment. The more you experiment, the more you learn about what works and what doesn’t – that’s one reason I think start-ups are great for testing green tech solutions.