The startup scene met on July 1st, 2014 for the first KIT Venture Festival of the KIT Founders Forge. A varied program surrounding the topic of business founding was provided through venture events, seminars, workshops, and discussions, as well as consulting and networking. About 600 guests took advantage of the “founding conference” at the KIT – students and scientific employees interested in founding were able to communicate directly with entrepreneurs, investors, sponsors, and network partners.
The KIT President Prof. Dr. Ing. Holger Hanselka opened the KIT Venture Festival in the morning at the Venture Breakfast. At this breakfast, selected KIT startups were able to discuss their ideas with invited investors and make important contacts. During the subsequent upCAT Demo Day, the teams of the KIT Accelerator presented their business ideas and received constructive feedback from investors and network partners.
For those interested and aspiring founders, several seminars, workshops, and lectures, in which participants were able to learn about techniques and approaches in establishing projects – among other things, Design Thinking, Lean Startup or business modeling – took place throughout the day . In addition to the technical input, the matching-event “Get a job Startup” offered the chance to gain some practical experience. Searching for jobs, young talents were brought together with exciting companies in the startup scene. In order to additionally introduce professors to the topic, Prof. Dr. Peter Seitz from ETH Zurich reported his experience on the founding culture at universities. After a multifaceted day program, the guests gathered for the evening program.
The successful entrepreneur and KIT alumnus from Karlsruhe Dr. Ing. Gottfried Greschner (init innovation in traffic systems AG) opened the evening with a presentation. He talked about his personal history as founder and entrepreneur. During a panel discussion on “Founding in Karlsruhe and at the KIT” he then discussed with:
- Prof. Dr. Volker Saile (KIT Area V),
- Dr. Alexander von Frankenberg (High-Tech Gründerfonds, HTGF),
- Martin Hermatschweiler (KIT-Spin-off Nanoscribe),
- Dr. Ing. Sven Schmidt-Rohr (KIT-Spin-off ArtiMinds), and
- Matthias Geis (PionierGarage e.V.).
The panel elucidated the different phases of a startup – the stations of founding. The rest of the evening was then dominated by networking. In an open atmosphere, guests were able to compare notes, make new contacts between experienced and potential founders or patrons and supporters.
We thank the many guests who turned the 2014 KIT Venture Festival into a success! Special thanks to the founders and entrepreneurs who have filled our program with life by participating as guests or speakers. We also thank our partners BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH, Exi Hightech-Gründungsgutschein, High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH and Honestly MT GmbH.