Dr. Albrecht Ricken at upCAT

On March 31st, the second round of upCAT (Startup Catalyst) will begin at KIT. During the 12-week intensive program, people interested in founding are guided and coached in their startup plans. They are prepared theoretically and practically for founding a startup or spin-off. KIT professors, as well as experienced senior experts, convey the essential contents regarding the topic of entrepreneurship and provide feedback for the individual startup ideas of participants.For the second time, Dr. Albrecht Ricken is a speaker for B2B and sales at upCAT. He is the business developer of the SAP AG. In a short interview, he discusses his work background, motivation, and expectations for upCAT.

What motivated you to participate as a speaker at the accelerator upCAT?
It fits well to my task at SAP. There, it is my job to accompany innovations from the first idea up until market adoption. Furthermore, I have also already founded a startup.

What is your field of expertise? What will prospective founders learn from you during the Focus Week?
My field of expertise is business development for new products in the B2B area. I am less acquainted with consumer goods business. I can teach founders how to commercialize innovations and about the path to market adoption.

What expectations do you have for the participants and for upCAT?
Curiosity. I am happy if the participants bring concrete questions about commercialization and the market entry of their product.

Were you already active in the field of business startups before?
Yes, I was responsible for commercialization in the “Global Business Incubator” at SAP. Before that, I had my own startup from 2002 to 2006.

Where do you see challenges on the way to becoming a successful business?
It often takes a pretty long time to get to the first paying customers. In order to pass this hard time, you need a concept.

What advice can you give to the young startup teams?   

  1. Founders should take the B2B area into account. In my experience, chances for success are higher there. Consumer goods business is often a winner-takes- all deal and there can only be very few winners.
  2. Gather experience in the branch first and build up a network. You can do this, for instance, by working in a different business for two or three years after your studies.

Tag of the Month: Accelerator

The word “accelerator” often pops up in the founder scene. But what does “accelerator” stand for and what lies behind it?

The purpose of an accelerator for founders, as the word suggests, is to get founders to their destination faster.

There are two basic forms of accelerators. On the one hand, there are organizations or programs that have tasked themselves with supporting startups in a specific field or region. They run campaigns, competitions, mentor programs, and much more in order to promote startups, provide support with business building, build networks, and match mentors and investors with startups. The portfolio of well-known accelerators also includes offering spaces, such as co-working spaces. And example for this is the well-known German Silicon Valley Accelerator.

On the other hand, an accelerator is a coaching program within a specific timeframe for selected founding teams during an early stage. Throughout an intensive process, the founders acquire diverse knowledge, continue to develop their business model, and are often supported by an experienced mentor in doing so. Oftentimes, the teams present their output to investors at the end of the accelerator program and thus get the chance to attract funding.

The KIT Founders Forge and its partners offer a variety of forms of accelerator programs.

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