The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) offers prospective founders a number of funding programs for implementing their startup ideas. An important instrument is the EXIST Business Start-up Grant, which supports startup projects from an early stage. The funding is directed toward students, graduates, and scientists from universities and non-university research institutions. Within one year, the teams receive the opportunity to turn their first idea into a concrete business model, including a business plan, and to receive professional assistance in doing so.
Three KIT teams didn’t miss out on this chance and applied for the grant – successfully! The founders of Aquaplot, Curafida, and Selfbits were able to gain support with their innovative and technology-oriented ideas and, thus, received the EXIST Business Start-up Grant. The KIT Innovation Department actively helped in preparing applications. The Aquaplot team develops a software as a service solution for navigating and planning routes for maritime and cargo traffic. The team of Curafida also offers a SaaS application. Their system for health services is intended to bring chronically ill patients and their medical specialist closer together and to improve the flow of information. The third team, Selfbits, is working on a cloud-based service in the field of knowledge management / knowledge acquisition.
During the course of the year-long funding period, the teams can continue advancing their startup plans. In doing so, the prospective founders are supported through seminars and coaching. The goal is to prepare them for market entry through the technical and entrepreneurial realization of the idea. The task of the founders is to improve their business plan – the final business plan is the conclusion of the grant support. We look forward to seeing the development of the three KIT teams and wish them a lot of success!
Twice a year, technology-oriented startup projects from universities and research institutions may apply for funding through EXIST Transfer of Research. With this funding program, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) supports outstanding teams of founders whose technology-based startup ideas require elaborate development work. The goal is to improve the startup climate at universities and research institutions as well as to increase the number of technological and scientific business startups.
In May 2015, the jury met and decided on the submissions from the January 2015 application phase. Altogether, 87 sketched ideas from around Germany were examined. Twenty-six startup teams from the areas of life sciences, energy technology, sensor technology, software, and industry 4.0 won the jury over and received approval for funding. Among them are three teams from the KIT: GIn, OTEGO, and Emmtrix. Congratulations!
The team of GIn – Gesture Interaction for Wearable Technologies has specialized in the area of augmented reality (AR). Using newly developed technology for gesture interaction, the aim is to considerably expand and improve the input options and the range of functions of AR glasses and ‘wearable devices’. The OTEGO team is working on a spin-off in the energy sector. With thermoelectric generators (TEGs), they hope to transform ambient heat directly into power when a temperature change occurs. The technology can be applied in a wide array of markets. The third startup project, Emmtrix, develops a software solution for programming multicore processors for simplifying the parallelization of embedded systems in the industry field.
These entirely different ideas were rated by the BMWi as technologically demanding and economically promising startup projects. With the help of EXIST Transfer of Research, the teams can now focus on continuing to develop, proving the technical feasibility, and preparing the startup. We wish the three teams a lot of success and will follow their development!
LehrWerk UG offers teaching materials for tinkerers in the form of construction kits for schools, educational institutions, universities, and at home. The goal of the two founders Jonas Fuchs and Benedict Jux is to make complex systems understandable in a playful manner in order to transmit technical foundational knowledge more easily and quickly. Through direct interaction by touch and connecting components, the developed construction kits create a technical understanding that is often missing when you enter a career. In an interview, we asked the team of LehrWerk about the idea, the startup time, and the future prospects.
LehrWerk team: Jonas Fuchs and Benedict Jux
OPVengineering offers highly dynamic test bench automatization components in the field of automotive development. With their solution, they create ideal test environments in the test bench by operating drive components interacting with virtual vehicle remainder models. In cooperation with industry partners and the KIT, the team works on constant development. In an interview, we asked the team of OPVengineering about the idea, the startup time, and the future prospects.
OPVengineering team (f.l.t.r.): Christian Stier, Steffen Jäger, and Martin Geier with a test bench demonstrator system
IneraTec develops a container-based compact system that enables liquid synthetic fuels to be extracted from small and medium-sized gas sources. Renewable fuels are created from biogas. This way, fuels can be produced wherever they are needed. The compact systems developed by IneraTec represent a new technology within chemical process engineering that distinguishes itself from large chemical plants where this process took place until now. In an interview, we asked the team of IneraTec about the idea, the startup time, and the future prospects.
Team von IneraTec