KIT startup teams sweep the board at the CyberChampions Award 2015

ShareBW Kongress des CyberForumsOn 11/12/2015, the CyberChampions Award was awarded as part of the ShareBW Congress. The prize was offered to founders and young businesses from the extended TechnologieRegion Karlsruhe (Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion) in the categories “Best Concept” and “NewComer” as well as a special prize for “Innovation.” As early as October, 29 applicant teams pitched in order to be selected for one of the coveted spots in the finals. A 17-person jury, including former prize recipients as well as representatives from industry and economy, evaluated the submissions. The decisive factors for a spot in the finals were specific know-how about markets and customers, a clear positioning, and a smart strategy. Ten startup teams with roots at the KIT were selected among the 11 finalists. Continue reading

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.

CYNORA back at “Falling Walls” – This time as a jury member

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.

Rückblick: Dr. Tobias Grab präsentierte das Geschäftsmodell der CYNORA GmbH auf der Falling Walls Conference 2013 und erhielt die Auszeichnung „Falling Walls Science Start-up des Jahres 2013“  © Falling Walls  Foundation

Retrospect: Dr. Tobias Grab presented the business model of CYNORA GmbH at the Falling Walls Conference in 2013 and received the “Falling Walls Science Start-up of the Year 2013“ © Falling Walls Foundation

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.

Strong performance of KIT teams at regional cup Karlsruhe, Elevator Pitch BW

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:

  1. ADDREZZED
  2. Fibeon.de – Finanzverwaltung
  3. Keypoint
  4. LehrWerk
  5. one&now
  6. PRALINÉE
  7. smartapply
  8. soop – the crowd solution platform
  9. vasQlab
  10. wikiMerkur

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.

  1. Place: vasQlab, with miniaturized printed human organs, as “Body-on-a-chip”- system, via  a 3D printing process
  2. Place: Key point, with flexible software for the display and ordering of figures to support project monitoring
  3. 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!

Strong KIT teams at the Cyber Champions Award 2014/15

The CyberChampions Award 2014/15 was awarded on November 6th, 2014, within the Hightech.Unternehmer.Kongress 2014 (high-tech.entrepreneur.convention). All in all, the KIT teams demonstrated a strong performance. No less than six KIT foundings or founding projects reached the final round of the award this year and were allowed to pitch in front of a competent jury – which includes former prize winners of the CyberChampions. From all the finalists, the jury selected the prize winners: the categories “BestConcept” and “NewComer” as well as the INIT innovation prize were awarded.

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Picture: all finalists, award winners and sponsors of the prizes together, after awarding the CyberChampions Award 2014/15.

 

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