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On July 14th, Osedea took part in the second edition of the event known as “InnoBahn”, held at the Phi Centre in Montreal’s Old Port. The InnoBahn concept is simple: well-known companies such as National Bank, L’Oreal, Ubisoft or Robic, present a business challenge that they’re currently facing, and various startups step up to the plate to present their suggested solutions. The result is a dynamic exchange of expertise and innovation that helps startups show the world what they’re made of - and sets the stage for business partnerships in the future.

We decided to participate in InnoBahn so that we could…

  • Introduce ourselves to the various companies who were participating.
  • Network with other startups.
  • See how far we could stretch ourselves in terms of leveraging our strategic talents and technical know-how, under a tight deadline.

Our InnoBahn Experience

One of the challenges we participated in was presented by Robic, a major IP law firm located here in Quebec. Robic was looking for a way to simplify their internal invoice approval process (which occurs before said invoices are sent to their clients).

We didn’t have an “off the shelf” solution in hand, so we knew committing to the challenge would require us to develop everything from scratch. Regardless, we dove into the experience head-on, sensing that it would be a unique opportunity to push ourselves into exciting new territory.

The timeline: We only had two weeks to create a working prototype – and as such, we had to work fast. We put together a team, rolled up our sleeves, and went for it, using our evenings and weekends to make as much progress as possible, as quickly as possible. Because we were literally creating something out of nothing, we relied on solid teamwork to set and meet the tight deadlines we knew would be needed if we hoped to make the grade.

The approach: We kicked things off by thinking the invoice approval process through from start to finish. Then we put together some wireframes, and built out the system from there, using whatever spare time we could muster up around our other projects to develop a robust and elegant solution.

And I have to say – I’m pretty proud of what we’ve managed to achieve in such a short time span.

The working prototype that we created can automatically retrieve invoices from Robic’s internal system, and it allows invoices to be approved directly by SMS or email. It’s also possible to log in to the system and view invoices in a “rapid approval” mode. Plus, we made it easy to edit invoices and add notes to them.

Innobahn 1

The Results: How’d We Do?

As a team, we really enjoyed working together on this project. A few of the Osedea employees who were involved in the challenge even came out to hear the pitch at the InnoBahn event!

We were all eager to find out what solutions the other participating startups had come up with, and whether they would measure up to what we had poured our efforts into at Osedea. Once all the pitches were over with, we were on pins and needles waiting for the final results, hoping to take home the win.

Happily, everything worked out in our favour. We were thrilled to hear that we’d been selected not only as the winner for the Robic challenge, but also as the “coup de coeur” startup of the evening, as awarded by Halte 24-7, an awesome coworking space here in Montreal. In other words, not only did our potential client love our solution, but the public loved our pitch!

The Benefits

If after reading this post, you find you’re intrigued by the premise behind a pitch contest such as InnoBahn, I would definitely recommend participating in one in the future.

InnoBahn 2016 was well-organized, we met plenty of other great startups, and it was a fantastic opportunity to connect with potential clients.

Our InnoBahn experience also delivered the following perks:

  • By bringing together Osedea employees who normally work on different projects and aligning them to the same goal, we tapped into a whole new level of camaraderie.
  • After finding out that we’d won the Robic challenge, Osedea employees were tweeting about our victory and giving each other pats on the back for a job well done. This kind of company pride was heartwarming to see!
  • We had the chance to connect with lots of potential clients and prospective business partners at the event. Innobahn’s public relations and social media campaigns generated awesome visibility for Osedea and the other participating startups.

In short, participating in InnoBahn was a rewarding experience that we won’t soon forget!

P.S. If you want to relive the moment, check out the video of our pitch

Martin