Interviewee: Peter Martin Holst, Co-founder of Peaqs
What is your elevator pitch? Peaqs was designed with two purposes in mind. First, to train the entrepreneurial mind by making a safe place for experimentation and learning. A sandbox so to speak for teaching within higher education where students can arrive at an early stage business plan through a set process with enough flexibility to accommodate most course plans and totally independant of curriculum or theoretical approach to the subject of entrepreneurship.
Second purpose, to provide accelerators, incubators and other eco-systems that surround early stage ventures with a platform that can be used to make pitch competitions and show case early stage businesses in an easy, efficient and engaging way.
In short, to sum up the two purposes you could say that we are here to accelerate entrepreneurship and the development of new solutions and businesses because there is a basic need for more and better solutions to the vast array of challenges we as a species are confronted with – on all levels.
Can you expand? Peaqs is a system made for higher learning within entrepreneurship that allows teachers and faculty to create blended or hybrid learning experiences for their students.
Apart from being designed for learning outcomes, its 4-staged development process can move a product from concept to pitch-ready business plan in an efficient and engaging way, making it ideal for virtual or hybrid pitch competitions as well.
Peaqs was recently the platform partner for a GBSN initiative called Africa Business Plan Challenge, that was supported by Stanford Seed and AACSB. Here we had participants from 15 countries and 55 very interesting solutions developed in student teams. But basically Peaqs was the platform where the ideas were developed, show cased and where the business angels and faculty experts could engage with the projects as they developed in real time.
The platform is highly customizable allowing the teacher or program coordinator to timebox game-phases according to course progression and define headlines that match curriculum and method of approach. This way, all processes are aligned and student projects are at level state of progress at all times for maximum comparability across projects on the platform. Also, projects are displayed in a way that gives students, teachers, program coordinators and outside business mentors (if they are invited) an easy and instant overview.
Everything takes place in a password protected online environment so only the participants the teacher or program coordinator specifically invites are able to see and interact with the platform.
A stock market engine ends gamification to the process of peer-reviewing as students are invited to act as investors and make trading decisions based on which projects they find to be performing better than others. This functionality is quite popular for running pitch competitions as judges and outside mentors can get onboard and provide feedback in a fun and competitive way – they can also just leave written comments behind in the commenting function.
Peaqs is designed in Copenhagen, Denmark, and saw its first beta-release in late 2018 where it quickly found an integration with three Danish business and technical universities. In 2019 Peaqs was a finalist at the Nordic Edtech Awards. Today Peaqs is live across 4 continents and even expanding into other subjects of teaching that stand to benefit from its unique approach to drive a learning process.
If you would describe your startup to have a superpower, what would it be? Well, that’s a bold question. But I guess it would be to create superior class room engagement levels and to accelerate the development of business plans surrounding a business, project or service.
This story and others on Times of E are made possible by a sponsorship from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that provides access to opportunities that help people achieve financial stability, upward mobility, and economic prosperity – regardless of race, gender, or geography. The Kansas City, Mo.-based foundation uses its grantmaking, research, programs, and initiatives to support the start and growth of new businesses, a more prepared workforce, and stronger communities. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org and connect with www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.