• 06/10/2013

A TUM student at Global Startup Youth:

App "CrowdRelief" can help in a case of emergency

Gunther Glenk, a student of TUM-BWL (Technology and Management), just arrived back from Kuala Lumpur where he participated in <link http://www.geskualalumpur2013.org/youth.html>Global Startup Youth</link>, a summit for young entrepreneurs from all over the world. More than 500 students from 105 countries took part in order to reflect about the world's problems together. How was his visit to Malaysia? Verena Meinecke spoke with Gunther Glenk.

Gunter Glenk in front of the Petronas Towers
Gunter Glenk, student of TUM-BWL, in front of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, where he took part in the Global Youth Startup just recently. (Photo: Gunther Glenk)

You participated in Global Startup Youth in Kuala Lumpur as one of only two students from Germany. What is it about?

"Global Startup Youth" is an international accelerator that focuses on transforming ideas into high-growth companies – companies that solve global problems. We worked in small mixed teams and developed web applications that could be useful for the fields of health, education, the environment, and women's empowerment.

That sounds like hard work and a lot of experience. How did you like it?

It was stunning. What I liked best was getting to know so many people from different cultures at only one event, without having to travel around the world – and learning about what is going wrong elsewhere. For me, all of the problems here in Germany were just blown away. Yet, it is pure coincidence that I was born in Germany. Many people are not even aware of the high standards we have here. That all roads are paved, for example, or that a broken arm will be treated immediately. We take it all for granted.

How did you come across Global Startup Youth?

I’m especially interest in the field of international foundations. I did some internships, for example at Rocket Internet, the founders of Zalando, among others. Entrepreneurship can only be experienced in practice, not so much in theory. I came across the meeting in Malaysia on the internet. The application procedure was quite extensive and you needed to be chosen from 6,000 applicants. 250 of the participants were from all over the world, 300 from Malaysia.

In international comparison, what are the differences regarding start-ups?

Here, it’s more about high technology or about efficiency optimization. In other continents, people are facing other problems that need to be solved. In Africa, for example, education or the empowerment of women is a very important issue. In many places, there is no access to the Internet – but people have mobile phones, so you can think about solutions by SMS, for instance.

What exactly did you do in Kuala Lumpur?

We were split into teams of up to 10 people. There were different responsibilities: Every team had coders, hustlers, domain experts and youth leaders. My teammates were from Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Bulgaria, Australia, the USA and from Belize. We had one and a half days time to draw up a business plan, to do the programming and so on. We slept only two hours a day – and at the end of the day, the app "Crowd Relief" was presented.

What can the "CrowdRelief" app do?

Disaster situations often create chaos and there are people in need of a lot of resources, while people in the surrounding regions are willing, but don’t know how to help. The app helps to bring them together if both parties post what they need or what they can provide. An algorithm matches the two closest parties and informs them, so that the people within a certain region will be able to help themselves even before the Red Cross arrives. A large organization such as the Red Cross can make use of the app too: they can check the statistics to see what resources are needed most. The demand is there, so I am now planning to develop the app further, together with a Malaysian from my team.

You will have a master’s degree in two years time. What then?

Actually, I would like to do a doctorate. I definitely don’t want to work for a major company. That’s too slow. I would prefer to join a start-up, or build one up myself. A lot can happen in two years. A month ago, I did not even know that I would be flying to Malaysia. The opportunities are there, you just have to take them.

Gunther Glenk (22) is in his first master’s semester of TUM-BWL with a special emphasis on Finance. He is from Dinkelsbühl and plays the keyboards for the German pop group wegweiser. The band already supported artists such as Sido, the Killerpilze or Peter Maffay. Their new release is coming soon. Connect to Gunther Glenk on facebook

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