FHNW student in the top 10 at the European Innovation Academy

MSc International Management (MSc IM) student Eti Luana Pricope joined the European Innovation Academy (EIA) in Turin, Italy, as the first representative of a new partnership between MSc IM programme and EIA. It was a three-week rollercoaster of little to no sleep, challenges and pitches. Participating as one of the five Kumpa team members, their teamwork developed a refined understanding and vision for their brainchild. The idea was a gamification app for running, and was selected as one of the ten winners.

In the Italy program, out of the 540 participants, more than 100 came from University of California Berkeley, Tsinghua University and University of Michigan. The remaining participants came from over 100 countries. The MSc IM programme at the FHNW School of Business sent its first representative to participate in this new partnership with EIA. Eti Luana Pricope, a Canadian currently living in Switzerland, is finishing her final semester. Read her “Reflection of a World’s Learning Experience”.

The Preparation

This program both excited and yet tested me, as I was one of the very few participants not going as part of a big group. Before going to Turin, in addition to voluminous information to read up, I was contacted by one of the contestants asking if I would be interested in joining his start-up.

The Kumpa team: Maxime Robinet, Eti Luana Pricope, Colton Barton, Belén Barbé Abarca and Guillaume Pillon.

The idea was a gamification app for running, which eventually we called Kumpa. Think of it in terms of a real life Pac Man game or Super Mario. The app lets you run solo, against other runners around you or in teams. You get to collect points as you run which unlock new levels and exclusive content from some exciting licensing partners Kumpa is currently in the works with.

The Team

The team consisted of five members. Two engineers Max the founder and Guillaume co-founder are from France Belen, a law student from Spain, Colton a marketing student from the University of San Antonio Texas and myself, a Canadian currently living in Switzerland, and finishing a Master of Science degree in International Management at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland.

The five of us all brought different skills, vantage points, and experiences to the table, but we were united in our passion for Kumpa and its mission to take the pain out of exercise by gamifying and socializing the experience to make it addictive, interactive, and fun.

The Challenge

Kumpa and the other 94 teams at EIA Italy program were in the constant guidance of top-notch mentors, venture capitalists and chief business owners from different fields and from around the world. I can honestly say I do not think any of the teams, including Kumpa, would have gotten as far as they did if it was not for the relentless and valuable support as well as feedback from our mentors, advisors and academics. To all of them, the Kumpa team would like to express its deepest gratitude.

I am incredibly proud of the Kumpa team for being selected as one of the ten winners. We initially made it to the second round which saw more than half of the participating teams being eliminated. The remaining 42 teams then elevated their competitive pitch to the venture capitalists, who made the final decision to support, award and fund the top 10 winners.

Being part of the top 10 meant we got the chance to pitch our winning idea at the grand stage to all attendees, participants, sponsors, companies and venture capitalists from around the world. The Italian press interviewed and provided a coverage on the winners.

The Future

The best part of this entire experience is that although EIA and the competition has ended, Kumpa is just getting started. Kumpa will have its soft launch in September in partnership with TF1, Europe’s largest media company as a part of their 30-year anniversary promotion followed by worldwide launch, projected for October 2017. Kumpa Beta version for Android is available in the Play Store and the iOS version will be released in the coming weeks.

Further information and contact:

To participate in future EIA programme in Italy, Portugal or Qatar, please contact Prof. Dr. Lynn Lim: lynn.lim@fhnw.ch

For more information on EIA experience and Kumpa, please contact Eti Luana Pricope: eti.pricope@students.fhnw.ch or visit the Kumpa webpage

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