29. March 2019

Silicon Valley Challenge 2019: Pitch Day!

by Katharina

After 10,000 sticky notes, several hundred ideas and 28 days in Silicon Valley: Thursday, March 21 was the big pitch day at the Headquarters. When touching ground in Munich, the three teams carried four business models in their luggage which were already pre-validated by some customers.

Let’s quickly look back: All this happened only less than six months after it had all started. The Silicon Valley Challenge was launched in October, followed by numerous applications, intensive selection rounds and extensive preparations throughout winter. On February 19 this year, 19 WACKER colleagues from seven countries set off for San Francisco.

4 weeks later, on Thursday morning all participants came together at the Headquarters to rehearse the pitches. There was excitement, there was tension – but we also felt the sadness that the end was near. This time was so intensive, so unique and so special for all of us. One participant said later that day: “I will never forget about this. It was really kind of life-changing. There are so many things I will do differently when it comes to developing the business and collaborating within my team.”

Despite all the emotions, our teams acted like professional start-ups during the pitches. They tried to convince the jury – consisting of WACKER’s Executive Board, division heads and chief digital officers – of the success of their business models. And just like at an investor pitch in Silicon Valley, the members of the jury posed numerous questions, some of them critical, and scrutinized all concepts very closely. Yet, I think the audience at the pitch was quite impressed by the variety of the ideas: apps, artificial intelligence and completely novel products targeting important markets for WACKER around the globe.

The tension was tangible when the jury withdrew to discuss the ideas. Our teams had worked so hard in the last weeks, applying new tools and methods, focusing on real customer needs … but would it be enough for the jury? Were the presentations convincing? Would they like any idea at all?

We all kept our fingers crossed as we waited for the jury’s decisions. And then, the feedback came as a big surprise: The ‘investors’ want to pursue not just one but three ideas of the teams! It’s hard to put into words just how happy our teams, but also we from the Digital Team felt about this success.

One member of the jury stated in his feedback to the teams: “Today, we got a glimpse of WACKER’s future.” We are excited to see how the business models developed will come to life and how the 19 team members will take this further by sharing the Silicon Valley spirit within their teams – #takingchancestogether