Three minutes – about the duration of an elevator ride – that is the time frame available for founders and young entrepreneurs at the Elevator Pitch BW to present their business idea. Ten startup teams rose to the preliminary regional challenge. Two KIT teams won over the jury and about 100 listeners with their poised presentations.
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!
On 06/30/2015, this year’s Deutscher Gründerpreis (German Startup Award) was awarded in Berlin. The competition is hosted by the partners stern, Sparkasse, ZDF, and Porsche and is one of the most meaningful distinctions for founders and entrepreneurs in Germany. Every year, this prize is awarded in the categories Student, StartUp, Shooting Star, Special Award, and Lifetime Achievement. This time, two KIT startups made it into the finals and had high hopes at the festive award ceremony.
The startup RESTUBE GmbH competed against Customized Drinks GmbH and OnPage.org GmbH in the category “StartUp.” RESTUBE develops, produces, and sells inflatable buoys for water sports. In a critical situation, a buoy inflates using a gas cartridge. This way, the user can save him or herself from drowning. RESTUBE is so-to-speak the inflatable backup for all athletes in water sports. On the evening of the award presentation, RESTUBE asserted itself against its competitors with its worldwide unique “life buoy.” The team headed by Christopher Fuhrhop and Marius Kunkis won the German Startup Award in the category “StartUp.” We congratulate the team on this great success!
The KIT spin-off Nanoscribe GmbH, founded in 2007, competed in the category “Shooting Star” next to Jimdo and Little Bird. Nanoscribe was nominated for the Startup Award due to technical and entrepreneurial competency as well as the leap from pure research to market success. The company manufactures 3D printers on a micro and nanometer scale and offers photoresists and process solutions for an array of uses. Unfortunately, the jury ultimately chose a different team, honoring Jimdo with the German Startup Award in “Shooting Star.” Nonetheless, getting to the final round gives the Nanoscribe team great recognition.
We are especially proud that two KIT teams made it to the Startup Awards this year. We are delighted to see the development of the startup culture at the KIT and in the “fan city” of Karlsruhe. We congratulate both teams on their successful participation in the renowned competition and on their special recognition for outstanding entrepreneurial performance in Germany!
For more information about the German Startup Awards, visit www.deutscher-gruenderpreis.de
Since 2009, international researchers gather once a year at the Falling Walls Conference in Berlin traditionally held on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9th. The focus of the Falling Walls Conference is on scientific breakthroughs and technologies that have the potential to change the world – researchers exchange information on scientific developments and achievements in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
In the framework of the forum “Falling Walls Venture“, scientific foundings, which can also tear down walls with their innovations, are given a stage. With a nomination from various foundations and academic institutions from all over the world, foundings get to go to Falling Walls. Annually over 20 scientific startups may present their developments and business concepts to a high-caliber jury. The three most groundbreaking business models compete against each other in the finals. The grand finale is the awards ceremony for the “Falling Walls Science Start-up of the Year”, in which the finalists present their project to the entire conference audience again.
The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) spin-off CYNORA GmbH managed to prevail against 20 international high-tech companies in November 2013 and received the award for “Falling Walls Science Start-up of the Year 2013″. At that time, the company was still located in the high-tech incubator on the Campus North of the KIT and was thus nominated by the KIT for Falling Walls Venture.
The CYNORA GmbH is active in the research and development of low cost organic semiconductor materials for organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and organic solar cells (OPV). Today, there already are many monitors of smartphones and some flat screen TV in the uppermost price segment, which consist of OLEDs. As the winner of the competition, Dr. Tobias Grab, CEO of CYNORA GmbH, introduced his startup in the Falling Walls Conference 2013 to the audience of top representatives from academia, business, and politics. He brought the coveted award to Karlsruhe.
Dr. Grab now saw this year’s event from the opposite perspective: after the success of last year, he was called into the jury of the Falling Walls Venture in 2014. As a member of the jury he assessed the business models of the nominees, among other things, by innovation and economic potential and accompanied the decision-making process actively. As part of the Falling Walls Conference 2014 on November 9th, 2014, the three finalists presented their business models to the jury and the conference guests.
More than 25 scientific startups were nominated for the Falling Walls Venture in 2014. As the best startup and “Falling Walls Science Start-up of the Year 2014″ EyeTechCare emerged. The company impressed with an innovative treatment method for glaucoma using a non-invasive ultrasound device.
The initiative for start-ups and business succession (ifex) of the Ministry of Finance and Economics Baden-Württemberg initiated the novel state-wide event format Elevator Pitch BW in 2013. Until reaching the state final, this annual series of competitions travels through several cities in Baden-Württemberg looking for the best founders in the state.
At the local pitch events, the so called regional cups, the aspiring founders can submit their business ideas and gauge themselves. Through a public online voting the ten most convincing ideas are determined – and they may make their pitch in front of a competent jury at the regional cup. The respective winners of the local pitch competitions win not only the prize money but also a place in the state final, where they can present their idea in front of a large audience again. There they have another chance to win prize money for the three best ideas. Even if it does not work out with a rank at the regional cup or the state final, all teams benefit from the media presence and the feedback within the Elevator Pitch BW.
For the regional cup Karlsruhe 2014, a total of 19 ideas were presented for the online voting. With 174 to 324 votes, ten very different ideas reached the regional cup Karlsruhe. This took place on November 18th, 2014 as part of the day of the founders and young entrepreneurs of the chamber of industry and commerce Karlsruhe. The following teams presented their ideas, in the three minute pitches, to the jury and the interested audience:
- Fibeon.de – Finanzverwaltung
- soop – the crowd solution platform
All teams confidently presented their ideas and answered the critical questions of the jury, consisting of representatives from ifex, the Karlsruhe founders’ alliance, and startup firms from Karlsruhe. The pitches from Karlsruhe and the other locations will shortly be published as videos by Elevator Pitch BW. At the regional cup Karlsruhe, three KIT teams finally managed to prevail with their business ideas and convincing pitches.
- Place: vasQlab, with miniaturized printed human organs, as “Body-on-a-chip”- system, via a 3D printing process
- Place: Key point, with flexible software for the display and ordering of figures to support project monitoring
- Place and the audience’s favorite: Lehrwerk, with construction kits that can be touched, as teaching materials for engineers and technicians
We are happy about this success and congratulate the three prize winners. We are curious how far vasQlab and Lehrwerk (with a wild card) will come in the state final in the summer of 2015!