2021 was, undeniably, a strange year: both for us and for the world. While jabs helped us get one step closer to normality, it was still twelve months where meetups and events had to be coordinated virtually and where we constantly negotiated a careful balance between the physical and the digital.
This said, it was also a time of immense value for hubraum, where we secured important investments, coordinated two startups to embark on a revolutionary new project and in which friendships and partnerships deepened. We reached out to a range of hubraumers to ask them for their favorite memories of 2021.
While 2021 was fabulous in lots of ways, there was one clear highlight for me as program manager at hubraum: taking meetings with T-Systems and our scouting team to find the world’s most innovative startups whose products benefit from access to campus networks. I know! Meetings aren’t generally the high point of your average work day, much less the entire year. But the discussions we had were so lively and the decisions we reached were so fruitful that I’m sticking by this choice. Without those meetings, perhaps we wouldn’t have struck upon the idea of accepting the companies Bitvox and Diota as program partners — and without that choice, we wouldn’t have worked together with those two companies and T-Systems to create a new solution (and corresponding proof of concept) that’s completely revolutionary and which could change everything from building an aeroplane to carrying out surgery in a hospital.
Reflecting on my time interning at hubraum, I was struck by how much I achieved and how fortunate I was to have this experience. For the whole duration of 6 months, every day was a lesson. Not only did I gain tremendous knowledge on a professional level, but I also derived insights into more personal, life-related matters. It’s not just about learning about the latest technological trends and meeting inspiring people; it’s also about learning how to be a hubraumer.
To explain, I’d like to take you back to our surprise Christmas activity of our offsite in Poland, where we were asked to “DIY” a Christmas wreath for our colleagues (which we would then gift them as a Secret Santa). After an intense day of workshops and meetings, I was surprised at how energized and excited about the task everyone still was, despite the fact that not all of us are natural DIY-ers. While we were all singing along to Frank Sinatra’s “Let it Snow,” I realized it was more than a work duty; it was a family activity, holding a traditional Christmas together. If you look at the photos below, you will see that hubraumers are not only experts but also artists. Yes! Being a hubraumer is delightful!
I work in the investment team, so I need to give a shout out in terms of all the great work we did: we made a successful exit from Flexperto, closed two new investments in PHYTunes and Monolets and signed 17 investment agreements, and through this reached a total of 41 signed. We introduced a new, convenient way for startups and companies to approach hubraum about investment opportunities through a new platform, which I hope will lead to us receiving information about promising startups more quickly and guiding teams through the stages of the investment process more effectively.
I’m an innovation scout and my favorite part of 2021 was – perhaps unsurprisingly! – the best part of my job: getting to talk to people building tomorrow’s great companies. It’s easy to be inspired at work when you’re spending a lot of time chatting to the same people who are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible when it comes to technology.
I joined the developer relations team in November last year. The DevRel team is spread across Europe, so we have people in Cologne, Berlin and Krakow. As such, one notable highlight of 2021 for me was something that in more normal times wouldn’t warrant comment: meeting the DevRel team face to face. After such a long time communicating virtually, nothing felt better than conducting meetings and brainstorms in person — I’m excited to continue working as part of this well-oiled machine in 2022.
A treasured part of my work in 2021 was venturing deeper into developers’ worlds by, alongside my team, carrying out several qualitative and quantitative research projects and UX testing with developers. We investigated their needs and delivered insights from their point of view to keep improving our portal dedicated to exposing telecommunication APIs. Arguably, this may not sound that sexy! This said, it was a huge part of our (and my) work with the biggest impact and was deeply rewarding work that I hope will benefit developers for years to come.
2021 was a strange year, with us carrying out multiple projects in a still-locked-down pandemic environment. However, there were definitely some great moments, too: for a start, we launched our Open RAN topic (for the uninitiated: open radio access network). We trialed this at Hub4Industry in Krakow, Poland using public funding. This trial is still ongoing and we’re performing tests: the results seem to suggest that this technology will be valuable for Deutsche Telekom with regard to product development. We’re at the very beginning of our journey but this area already suggests huge potential for the year ahead!
Want more great hubraum insights? One other notable highlight in 2021 was our study about the current state of AI in Germany, which is available to download for free (in both English and German) here.
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