Three KIT startup projects receive EXIST Transfer of Research

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!

RESTUBE brings the 2015 German Startup Award to Karlsruhe

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.

Preisträger RESTUBE, Kategorie StartUp |Bildquelle: Franziska Krug / Deutscher Gründerpreis

Image source: Franziska Krug / Deutscher Gründerpreis

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

KIT Entrepreneurship Talk with Prof. Stork – Pioneer of technology transfer at the KIT

Prof. Stork bei den KIT Entrepreneurship TalksOn April 23, 2015, the opening event of the Entrepreneurship Talks for the summer semester 2015 took place. Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Stork, multiple founder of KIT spin-offs, collegial leader of the Institute for Information Processing Technologies (ITIV), and director of the area of embedded systems and sensor engineering at the Research Center for Information Technology was invited as a guest. He talked about his professional career, which impressively combines science and entrepreneurship.

Prof. Stork already began to deal with entrepreneurial thought early on alongside to his pure research activities. His motivation in doing so was his curiosity regarding whether there was a possibility to realize his research results and whether there were already companies on the market that could manufacture products from them. The question about realization or even utilization of research results on the market was not self-evident at the time. It was a novelty and wasn’t viewed very positively. Consequently, Prof. Stork had to initially pursue his project relatively unnoticed.

Continue reading

Spring School – Scientists get a taste of startup

For the third time, from March 23rd to 27th, 2015, the spring school for soon-to-be founders and scientists interested in founding took place. As previously, the HECTOR School of Engineering & Management was a cooperational partner of the spring school.

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As usual, the participants came from a wide array of areas: from toxicology through to genetics and ranging to robotics and interactive real-time systems. We were pleased that the spring school attracted some more female participants this time – nearly half of the 14 participants were female. Continue reading

Founder of the Month April: 300MICRONS GmbH

300MICRONS designs and produces new 3D cell culture systems for the biological and pharmaceutical research and industry. The basic product is a film substrate for 3D cell cultivation. Own production of the film products makes it possible to take individual customer wishes into consideration. The products are ready to use and available in industrial standard formats. We interviewed Eric Gottwald, a co-founder of 300MICRONS, on the idea behind 300MICRONS, its founding period, and future prospects.

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300MICRONS team, from the left: Dr. Roman Truckenmüller, Dr. Stefan Giselbrecht, Prof. Dr. Eric Gottwald, Dr. Peter Haug, Rabea Petermann, David Thiele

What does your company stand for?

Cell culture experiments have been carried out for decades in culture vessels in which cells are grown in two dimensions. One can easily conceptualize that this is not exactly physiological. Although successful experiments with three dimensional cultures had already been carried out in the 1960’s, it was not until the end of the last millennium that the 3D culture systems were broadly accepted. There are different approach methods that can be used for the production of such 3D cultures. Classically, this is done using spherical cell aggregates. This approach however has various disadvantages, for instance, the limited suitability for high-throughput screening campaigns in the pharmaceutical industry.

Our 3D cell culture systems are film-based. The films are equipped with microscopic depressions (300µm in diameter and depth), the so-called micro-cavity arrays. Each depression can take several hundred to a thousand cells. The film products also contain several thousands of micro-cavities in the standard industry and research formats (micro-titer plates) – hence, this not only enables high-throughput screening of 3D cell cultures, but also the excellently automated microscopy of film systems.

The organotypic results could even supersede certain animal tests. A key USP of 300MICRONS is that we developed and patented the necessary technologies for the production of our film products over many years. This enables us to very flexibly and quickly go into the wishes of our customers and lays a very solid foundation for future development of more innovative products for the cell culture field.

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Where and how did you get this brilliant idea?

The increasing demand for our systems, triggered by scientific publications, existing collaborations, word of mouth and eventual winning of several start-up competitions prompted us to bring our ideas to the market.

How did your founding team come together?

Roman Truckenmüller and Stefan Giselbrecht developed the technology at the Institute for Micro-structure Technology (IMT) and the Institute for Biological Interfaces. I have worked for more than 20 years on the earlier models of the current 3D-cell culture systems. Peter Haug joined us after the acquisition of Helmholtz Enterprise funding as a founding angel and is now working on the advisory board of the company.

What would you say are the benefits of being your own boss?

Research at the KIT basically entailed working independently. In addition, you have the opportunity to act independently and present your own research findings to a wider audience. Of course, taking responsibility also means having to live with all the consequences.

What do you think are the properties that one should have to be a successful entrepreneur?

When one has decided to establish something, he/she puts in everything that is needed.

What would you term as the hurdles on the way to a successful business? Where did you get support?

Being a team that is purely from the science arena, positions in financial management, marketing, sales, and business development must be adequately filled. Through successful acquisition of Helmholtz Enterprise funds, the opportunity was opened for us to bring on a person for these areas of the company. Furthermore, networks such as those provided by Science4Life or BIOPRO are very helpful.

How did you deal with the large workloads during start-up?

This kind of a perspective somehow releases unimaginable energy and the scheduling and self-management also functions perfectly. In addition, clear division of tasks as well as prioritization of the tasks at hand also helps a lot.

Do you have any advice for other young entrepreneurs?

Just do it!

Quick overview:

  • Founders: Eric Gottwald, Stefan Giselbrecht, Roman Truckenmüller, Peter Haug
  • Founded in: 2014
  • Homepage: www.300microns.com
  • Contact: info@300microns.com
  • Fields: Bioscience, Health & Social services
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