How everything came into place
Hi there, my name is Andra Nuta and currently I spend most of my time organizing cool events for Rockstart Accelerator. I came across Rockstart by chance, about a year ago, driven by the will to experience more with organizing events and working in an international environment I started looking for opportunities in Amsterdam. I joined the company in January 2013 and quickly synchronized with the fast pace of an accelerator. One month after I came on board we had our first big event – Selection Days – the first encounter of the teams that would join the intensive program. Setting up this event was my first big task and together with the great team I managed to pull it off and create a true Rockstart experience for our guests in a really short time.
This was my introduction to the way things are done at Rockstart and I quickly learned a great deal about the company and the concept around it. One thing was clear from the beginning – that everything moves so quickly and the environment is so dynamic that you can definitely never get bored or wonder “what can I do” at the Accelerator. We always had something going on at Rockstart even before the program started – we had to move to a bigger office, decorate the space and plan, plan, plan for future events.
Working in such a fast paced environment is always challenging and fun but can also get chaotic at times, so the whole experience has its ups and downs. What I appreciated from the beginning is the freedom we all got when working on the projects we owned, even form the first weeks as Rockstart interns. All the projects that I worked on gave me the chance to create and bring new insights to the team. I also learned how to work under pressure and to accept that plans that take weeks to build up can crash and burn in a matter of minutes – but that’s also part of the challenge. Moreover, getting to meet like-minded, inspiring people that work towards a common goal was another big plus, that kept us all going at times when we thought our energy resources were running low.
However, this intense rhythm of working can also bring out some tension at times, especially when tasks and plans stack up and time is not on your side. What I can say for sure is that this type of job is not for everybody. You might not always get the structure you expect and things seem to get out of hand quickly; plans change driven by the dynamic and ever changing nature of the work. So if you’re not flexible and quick to adapt, it might take some time getting used to the working style of a startup.
Over the last 2 months of working at Rockstart I took, so far the greatest challenge of my live, by organizing Demo Day: our program’s most important milestone and biggest event. Demo Day is the peak of the program, time for the 10 teams that joined the accelerator to pitch their business and present their progress to a network of investors, mentors, press, partners and staff. It’s the time when over 500 entrepreneurs and investors comes together and Rockstart Accelerator gets to spread the vibe, energize and give back to the community.
Picutres by Dieter Schalk
Given the fact that the Rockstart vibe is a bit difficult to convey, especially by a team of 10 people that might feel it differently, putting together a flawless event was indeed a challenge. Every step of the process, however, was a fun learning experience – from hunting for venues around Amsterdam and discovering the entire city’s hidden wonders, to finding a challenging keynote speaker or playing around with floorplans, concepts and logistics in order to reach the best possible setting, we all explored and worked a lot in the months leading up to Demo Day.
Demo Day is much more than a pitching event followed by feedback and networking sessions – it’s the startups’ time to shine and a fun experience over all. And when you want to provide a cool, memorable experience, you need to make sure that everything goes right from the point that the guest steps into the venue, until he gets back home and reflects on what he’s just witnessed. We all knew that the key to providing an experience rather than a simple event laid in the details. After hours of tiring brain storming meetings, we came up with quirky additions such as a backstage bar and chocolate covered insect snacks that stuck with our guests and made the event memorable.
This experience taught me a lot about stepping out of my comfort zone and pushing myself to the limit, only to find new resources when I could not see past the approaching dead end. I also worked with an amazing team that made all the efforts worthwhile.
Before joining Rockstart Accelerator I did not know exactly what to expect from the company itself. I set out on this journey hoping to get more experience with events management and see if this is really what I want to do in the future. I also wanted to see how I can fit in an international environment and how a company functions. Looking back at my experience I can say for sure that what I got out of this internship is much more than I could have imagined. I got to work on a wide range of projects – from small scale office held events to big gigs that taught me all about event production, management, logistics, creative concepts and much more. I got freedom and trust to explore and implement new ideas and I grew to understand what Rockstart Accelerator stands for in detail.
One thing I can say for sure is that I’ve had great times with all the people at Rockstart spaces – from office drinks, team dinners, beer-tasting trips to Belgium and long working days, it’s all been a hell of a ride and I’m glad to be part of the team for good now.