Great Day for Olive Valley
Palma de Mallorca, Friday June 7th 2019. A light breeze comes wafting down the Paseo Maritimo, caressing the hair and cooling the faces of the people assembled in the outdoor Cargo Bar behind The Boathouse. It is an astonishingly large group of people that are gathered here on this gold, blue and white summer evening. They all seem unusually well-dressed and good-looking. And, it will appear, ingenious.
The event is a Dragon’s Den style event, the first, much anticipated business event of the year arranged by Melanie Kirkpatrick of Olive Valley.
The investors Andrew Slack, Olive Valley Founder and Growth hacker extraordinaire
Richard Owen, Joaquin Cotoner, are here to hear the business ideas of no fewer than ten entrepreneurs, with a view to future investment.
Before the first presenter takes the mike, there are sparkling bubbles aplenty with strawberries handed out by people so beautiful that in any other country they would have been snapped up by agencies a long time ago. Here they are just normal waiters.
Elegant tapas appear, as tantalising looking they are delicious, and I immediately break one trying to manoeuvre it into my mouth, spilling guacamole all down my freshly ironed shirt. But who cares? I’m not the one who has to be scrutinised by dragons! I’m just here to enjoy myself. I can eat the guacamole later. Joke! Being civilised, I dash inelegantly to the bathroom and wring out my entire shirt.
When I get back the presentations have already begun. One by one, in one memorable instance two, (complete with identical t-shirts) the participants present their companies or ideas.
There is Emma Boardman with Bambini Lingo, an all-singing, all-dancing language course for toddlers and children.
We have Mauricio Peralta and his Reactiva Trail, a virtual reality tour of the entire world.
Daniele Antoniani and Joe Poehlein of Play for Life have devised a way to collect money through online gaming to help disadvantaged children go to school.
Manuel Pavesi of WheeMove wants to ease Mallorca’s traffic woes by providing green electric scooters for hire.
Miguel Pieras of Hustle Got Real has invented software that enables you to sell anything in the world without any overheads such as stock.
Walter Colitti of Modosmart, presents an app that allows you to control your air conditioning unit remotely.
Rosen Vladimirov, InJOYMAP, is working on an app that streamlines all the tourism related services in the Balearic Islands.
Yusef Chaib Hassan gives us Miombos an app/marketplace for sustainable products, and finally we have Xavier Castillo, of Flyshionista, a social media shopping app that allows you to pick out cool things foreign countries and have them personally delivered by whoever is coming to yours.
There is even a spur of the moment pitch, a pop-up, as it were, about how to painlessly sort out your affairs – after death from Vince Chase.
Some speak a bit shyly and hesitantly, others are old hands at performing. But all have great ideas that the world needs to hear. It has to be said, however, that the slightly menacing name the organisers have chosen, Dragon’s Den, couldn’t have been more misleading.
For the atmosphere is so relaxed, friendly and cheerful that anyone who might have been feeling nervous before going on stage – which isn’t even a stage – will soon be carried along on the general feeling of benevolence. Each candidate is cheered with the same enthusiasm.
Apart from hearing everyone speak, the highlight of the evening for me is when I am invited to try out the aforementioned electric scooter. Learning to ride a scooter really is quite different from learning to ride a bicycle, which almost killed me more than once back in the black and blue days of my childhood. With a scooter you just get on – and stand there. You push a green button for Go, and go. That’s it. What an epiphany!
The summer evening flows mellowly on, and it never seems to get dark. We all vote for our favourite pitch, and Walter Coletti of Modosmart, he of the app for saving money on your electricity bill by controlling air conditioning remotely, wins the 500 euro prize. Congratulations, Walter!
Sated with good wine, good food, good company and good fun, all bathed in golden evening sunshine, I walk home. But I have to say, after the scooter, walking suddenly seems rather dull. Well done, Melanie Kirkpatrick of Olive Valley, for bringing the crême of Mallorca’s entrepreneurs together in such an entertaining way. May the next Dragon’s Den come soon.