“A place to help young entrepreneurs and students find cheap workspaces and the right infrastructure for their company foundation” – this is how Andreas Fischer has described Germany’s first student incubator, named “Launchpad”. Andreas Fischer is a member of the PionierGarage student group at KIT. He was involved in the planning of Launchpad. A “launch pad” is the starting place of a rocket. PionierGarage similarly aims to provide the necessary starting energy for projects in their early stages of foundation.
RESTUBE GmbH, a start-up with roots at KIT, was the first company to avail itself of the opportunity to launch a crowd investing campaign on KITcrowd. The RESTUBE team produces and distributes a safety system for all types of water sports. In critical situations, a floatation device is inflated by a gas cartridge to save the wearer from drowning. Between January and May 2016, the RESTUBE campaign was active on the crowd investing platforms Seedmatch and KITcrowd. As early as 23 days before the end of the funding period, the company reached its funding limit of 600,000 Euros thanks to the support of 640 investors. We interviewed the founder and CEO of the company, Christopher Fuhrhop.
In April, the entrepreneurs’ barbecue was hosted by a member of the executive board for the first time in the eight-year history of the event: Professor Thomas Hirth, the new KIT Vice President for Innovation and International Affairs, personally fired up the grill and explained the significance of innovation at KIT and plans for the further development of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship (CIE) to attendants of the event. He was supported by the Head of KIT Innovation Management (IMA), Dr Jens Fahrenberg, and the Head of the Institute for Entrepreneurship, Technology Management and Innovation (EnTechnon), Professor Orestis Terzidis.
The training course “From Invention to Innovation”, organised for the fifth time on 15 March 2016 at the Further Education Centre for Technology and the Environment (Fortbildungszentrum für Technik und Umwelt – FTU), has been a great success. More than 40 KIT employees attended the intensive seminar on the topic of intellectual property (IP), which dealt with questions of security and legal foundations of technology transfer at KIT.
The “KIT Gründerschmiede” (Founders’ Forge) project aims to strengthen the entrepreneurial culture at KIT. It has been funded within the scope of the “EXIST” programme since 2013. Over the course of the past three years, various measures have been implemented, and their first results are becoming apparent. KIT has reached the third place in the “Gründungsradar” ranking by the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft (Donors’ association for the promotion of humanities and sciences in Germany) and tied place with the start-up RESTUBE GmbH for first place in the renowned Deutschen Gründerpreis awards in 2015. The second round of funding has been approved on this basis, as continuity and the development of successful measures is one of the main principles of the association. We are delighted about the continued sponsorship from EXIST IV and the implied success of our strategy.