Second EXIST funding phase approved for “KIT Gründerschmiede”

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.

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2015 Moments – Highlights of the KIT Founders Forge

The advent season rings in the end of a year – a good time to “decelerate” everyday life and to indulge in a review of the past year. We look back at the lovely, collective, and educational events of 2015.

KITcrowd – Crowdfunding for startups

KITcrowdAs part of the Founders Forge, the KIT already offers students and scientific employees a wide array of offerings for startup promotion, for instance with consulting, coaching, and seminars. In March, we launched the KIT crowdfunding platform KITcrowd in order to offer KIT founders an additional financing opportunity. Since the launch of the platform, six startup projects and startups have presented themselves. Three of these were successful and able to advance their ideas. More about KITcrowd

A motive for KIT startup teams at upCAT

8 upCAT #3bTwice a year, prospective founders have the opportunity to intensely work on their startup at the KIT accelerator upCAT. An initial idea develops into a concrete business model in three months – supported by entrepreneurial know-how, coaches, and mentors. The Demo Day in March was a complete success. All teams were able to excite the audience of investors and network  partners and received valuable feedback on their business cases. On December 7th, 2014, the next round of upCAT will begin! More about the program

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Particularities of life science startups

For some years now, increasingly more startups in the life sciences sector emerge at the KIT, such as Amcure, Incella, Acquifer, Corvolution, or recently 300Microns. In this area there are highly exciting projects that, through their immediate international focus, have larger growth opportunities than a classic startup but are much more complex and thus also more labor intensive in the design phase.

While a technical or IT-based startup is mainly oriented on the market, a successful life sciences startup must also always act in the scientific field. Only those which are present at conferences and verifiably document results that were generated with the startup technology in scientific publications are perceived in the academic market, which is often the entry market.

The scientific founders therefore often remain in the academic field rather than transferring into the management of the startup company completely, which is otherwise usual. As co-founders, they assist in the advisory panel, the so-called Advisory Board, with product development, shape the corporate strategy, and support the acquisition of customers through their academic network.

The financing of life science startups is also a particular challenge. When laboratory tests for product development or manufacturing are required, the young company is going to incur high costs. Here, the KIT can help by providing for the initial phase of the founding with fully equipped laboratory and office spaces in the KIT’s own high-tech incubator for moderate rental fees.

Last but not least, life science founders need a lot of stamina. Economic success arises much later for them due to the long phases of product development and approval, particularly in the clinical field. In comparison, non-technology-based startups can offer a different product or service on the market after a short startup phase.

Are you currently working on a technology from which a business idea can be developed? Are you toying with the idea of founding a company? Do you need advice on founding? Then use the offers of the KIT Founders Forge and make an appointment with the consultant team of the KIT Innovation Management – we support you in your startup projects.

“From Invention to Innovation” – Further education on the topic of technology use

WaTT_260x200The Founders Forge, in cooperation with the Training Center for Technology and Environment (FTU), offer the educational event “From Invention to Innovation” twice a year. The half-day event is targeted towards all KIT employees and tells the participants how they can protect their inventions as intellectual property (IP) and at the same time profit from them.  They get to know the tools of technology transfer and get an impression of the procedure of innovation exploitation at KIT.

On October 7th, a total of 15 participants came together to take part in the series of events. Four topics were addressed in the four hour seminar.

  1. Patent utilization
  2. Market analysis and exploitation strategy
  3. Contract models and design – Beware of traps!
  4. High-tech start-ups from science.

The KIT was represented here in many ways; starting with Ph. D. Candidates, through KIT scientists, up to a professor. The active participation at the seminar shows that the topic “innovation and its exploitation” is an important topic not only among students and scientists but also professors. In discussing the different thematic areas it became apparent that especially the topic patent law poses many questions. For illustration purposes, complicated issues of everyday life were described. The IP consultants of the KIT Innovation Management were in great demand here. They aided the participants with difficult questions. In the seminar, the awareness for patents and their scientific importance, especially as far as technological exploitation is concerned, was raised among all participants.

The next “From Invention to Innovation” course takes place on March 16th, 2015. All scientific employees and managers of the KIT, who want to get to know the basics of a successful patent exploitation, are invited. Registration is already available and can be done through FTU. You can find further information at the Founders Forge.

Entrepreneurship for Researchers – Satisfied participants of the Summer School 2014

 Scientists discover the world of entrepreneurship and convince at the final pitch

Under the title “Entrepreneurship for Researchers”, the Institute for Entrepreneurship, Technology Management and Innovation organized the summer school of the KIT Founders Forge from September 22nd to 26th, 2014. The school took place again in cooperation with the HECTOR School of Engineering & Management.

A total of 16 participants from technical or scientific areas faced the entrepreneurial challenge and worked on specific business ideas based on technical inventions of the KIT in the five day school.

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