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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Energy in the future and entrepreneurship – EIT Digital Summer School

Under the heading “Smart Energy Systems & Entrepreneurship,” the international summer school of the EIT Digital took place from July 27 to August 7, 2015 in cooperation with the KIT Institute for Entrepreneurship, Technology Management and Innovation (EnTechnon). The goal of the summer school was to promote innovations in the energy sector. Around 40 participants from around the world participated in the two-week summer school in Karlsruhe.

Through expert lectures and workshops, master students, scientists, and young professionals dealt with the energy systems of the future and potential business ideas in this segment such as new energy systems, e-mobility, or storage systems. One highlight of the summer school was the excursion to juwi in Wörrstadt. In addition to a guided tour of the company grounds and a tour of the wind facilities, Matthias Willenbacher, co-founder of juwi, was available to answer participants’ questions at the founder’s talk.

 

The focus of the first week of the summer school was on energy-relevant topics. During the second week, potential business ideas were created in various workshops. These ideas were then developed in small groups lead by mentors. At the end of the summer school, the teams presented their developed business ideas during a seven-minute pitch to an expert jury. After long consultation, the jury named the ‘Multi-Family Homes Flexibility Monetization’ team the winner. Participants were also able to rank each other. In this ranking, the ‘Power Check Plug’ team received the most votes. The final pitch ended with satisfied teams and enthused jury members.

 

Looking back, the participants draw a very positive verdict. Anca Solacolu of the KTH Stockholm explained, “After my Bachelor’s degree, I thought that I would never be able to build a company – because I lacked the entrepreneurial skills. My Master’s degree at KIC Inno Energy and the summer school helped me a lot in developing these skills.” She valued the cultural and information technological exchange during the summer school and was able to gather valuable experiences. Simon Salis of University of Brighton also sees the summer school as a positive experience and responded to the question of whether he would recommend the program straightforward with, “Just two words: Yes, 100 percent!”

upCAT #3 – Teams pitch successfully on Demo Day

On March 10, 2015, the accelerator program “upCAT” of the KIT Founders Forge ended in applause on the final Demo Day. After twelve weeks of intensive work, the six participating teams presented their business model to an expert audience consisting of business angels, venture capitalists, and Karlsruhe network partners. Six entirely different teams participated in the upCAT #3:

  • ChromX: Software for chromatography modeling for process development and robustness studies for the biopharmaceutical industry
  • LehrWerk: Construction kits as teaching materials for prospective engineers and technicians
  • Paralution: Software and consulting to accelerate the calculation of computer-supported simulation
  • Softtop: Weatherproof covering for bicycles and e-bikes
  • Storrays: Technology for manufacturing ultra-high density peptide arrays
  • tego energy: Energy supply modules for energy harvesting

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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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