During the beginning stage of a business startup, founders are often faced with different challenges. Questions regarding financing, the business plan, and fear of failure are always present. However, entry into the business is facilitated through so-called incubators. In an incubator, startup projects that are preparing their business startup find a supervised space to develop and grow.
The term incubator originally comes from the fields of medicine and biology, where it is also referred to as a breeder. The principle of an incubator is to create the ideal conditions for breeding and growth processes. For newborns, for instance, the incubator provides an ideal and safe environment for the child to grow. In the field of business startups, this principle can be transferred to young startups. Incubators for startup teams create the best framework conditions that level the successful start into business life for the prospective entrepreneurs. In the special facilities or spaces of the incubator, startups receive support and consultation for their startup project. In addition to the availability of inexpensive rental spaces and infrastructure (e.g., offices, laboratories, or production facilities), founders are also supported with entrepreneurial know-how. Through consultations and coaching sessions by experts form the startup scene, the teams in the incubator are supported in a targeted manner through intensive supervision and their opportunities for growth increase. The incubator, as a focused startup center, simultaneously stands for infrastructure, knowledge, and network. In some cases, incubators also offer startups seed funding and are available to help founders with tips when searching for capital.
With its lively startup culture, Karlsruhe offers young founders some smaller and larger incubators or spaces in the area. A list of links for additional information can be found on our website “Space for Founders .” Especially for scientific spin-offs, the KIT offers a high-tech incubator on Campus North, where 10 startup projects and businesses are currently located.
On February 12, 2015, Mirko Holzer of BrandMaker GmbH was welcomed as a guest at the KIT Entrepreneurship Talks. Holzer began a first attempt at founding while still at school. During his studies at the KIT (the University of Karlsruhe at the time), he was encouraged in his startup plans. He experimented with different ideas and is a successful entrepreneur and provider of a management system for the marketing industry today. Although Holzer “grew up” in the IT industry, his lessons learned are interesting for all founders:
Many of the founder teams of students, researchers, and / or graduates of the KIT wonder whether their ideas, their startup projects, or their research projects are suitable for an application for the EXIST Business Start-Up Grant. Directly related to this is the question of what to bring to a successful application. Below, we highlight the three main evaluation criteria – which we will discuss in detail in the founder consultation with the teams. Continue reading
The program “Young Innovators” is a successful tool to support scientific company foundings from universities and non-university research institutions in Baden-Württemberg. Especially innovative founding projects from science are annually awarded with funding from the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts. During the finding phase, they receive support in the targeted preparation of the company founding.
This year, ten “Young Innovators” with innovative products or processes were selected in Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, and Villingen-Schwenningen. Again the balance for KIT submissions is very positive: five of the total ten founding teams stem from the KIT and receive the funding of the Ministry of Science. All funded teams receive a contribution towards securing their living expenses and are helped along with practical coaching. Additionally, the founders can use the infrastructure of their university or research institution.
The newly accepted founding projects from the KIT:
- SearchHaus – searching solutions for structural data like databases , wikis, web pages, ERP, or CRM systems with intelligent search algorithms
- PriceNow – Software-as-a-Service for automated and personalized marketing towards existing customers in e-commerce, through recommendation algorithms for small and middling online shops.
- Ineratec – Container-based compact system for decentralized chemical transformation of gas from biogenic and non-biogenic sources in storable value products
- Rüdenauer 3D Technology – 3D visualization software for intuitive universal use and multidisciplinary, as well as cross-provider information exchange
- MobiSafety – Mobile application for the design, coordination, and implementation of rescue operations for institutions of civil protection with integrated information media
We congratulate the five founder teams of the KIT and wish them a lot of success for the further development within the frame of the “Young Innovators” program. Further information regarding the funding program and the teams can be found on the website of the Ministry of Science.
Our partner CyberForum e.V. organized the Business Angel Day in Karlsruhe with us today, where angel investors and capital-seeking founders meet and socialize. But what are Business Angels in the first place and what value can they provide startup teams?