For five KIT teams, everything revolves around advancing their startup project. They are taking part in the upCAT#4, a 12-week intensive program for startups and spin-offs. This is where prospective startup teams work on accelerating their market entry. The fourth KIT accelerator is lead by Dr. Gerda Frank and Petra Nitschke from the Center for Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship (CIE).
Together with internal and external speakers, they share startup-relevant knowledge and a variety of methods that can be directly used in the following practice and mentoring sessions. The teams receive additional tips from experts in the industry and economy, so-called mentors. From December 7th-10th, 2015, the kickoff week took place – the start of the program. For one week, the teams received input in order to specify their business ideas. We met the teams at the beginning of the program.
An event of the venture forum neckar e.V. in cooperation with the Sparkasse Heilbronn on September 30, 2015 was to provide answers to the question of which challenges businesses will be faced with in the future and how they can be tackled. The continuously advancing digitalization of production processes and the increased networking of different production locations via the Internet, two big themes under the umbrella term Industry 4.0, often require rethinking, especially for medium-sized companies.
For startups, it is also important to deal with the topic of Industry 4.0 from the beginning. Many processes must be coordinated from the start in collaboration with customers and cooperation partners. The event offered a platform for recognizing the needs of startups, cooperation partners in industry, and investors/financiers early on in order to address them.
A total of four startup teams/startups from the KIT were exhibitors at the event. Three of them presented themselves in a pitch (12 in total) to the investors/financiers and potential cooperation partners with great success. All in all, the event was well attended by approx. 200 participants and approx. 20 startup teams.
Before the semester break, the last KIT Entrepreneurship Talk of the summer semester took place on July 16, 2015. This time, Tim Stracke, co-CEO of Chrono24, was invited as a guest. Stracke entered the online marketplace for luxury watches in 2010. Today, the company is among the leading global market places in this sector. The success was recently crowned by an investment – the company will receive 21 m. EUR from Insight Venture Partners. Congratulations!
Stracke studied industrial engineering at the University of Karlsruhe TH (which is the KIT today) and also received his MBA at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. After his studies, Stracke worked in consulting but founded his own company soon after. Before becoming a CEO of Chrono24, he was able to gather a lot of experience in the startup scene. At the E-Talk, he shared his lessons learned as a founder and entrepreneur and gave the audience personal recommendations and tips.
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