Five-day intensive program supports twelve IT and high-tech start-ups with contacts to experts, investors and established entrepreneurs, thus facilitating their successful market entry. The highlight of the Firecamp was the finale with the presentations of the start-ups in front of more than 60 guests, including a total of 25 investors and a three-member jury. Winner of the competition is the Berlin-based start-up AUCTA.
It was the first Firecamp that was completely online. "It's the same program, the same high quality of start-ups and mentors, and the same networking...only digital," says Paul Becker of the Up2B Accelerator Team.
Twelve IT and high-tech start-ups from five different countries had the chance to present their business ideas to investors. It's often all or nothing for these start-ups. Only if they manage to convince investors, they can continue their activities and realize their ideas. Four days of intensive work with experts and mentors preceded the final.
Dima Sarle, Managing Director of ArcticStartup from Helsinki, gave the start-ups their first impulse on Monday. Sarle, himself the founder of five companies, accompanied the start-ups throughout the entire week of the firecamp as a mentor for presentations to a very specific target group - the investors. Colin Bennett, who has been a trainer for business people for 20 years, also gave pitch trainings on the first two days. Monday concluded with a virtual beer tasting with Ben Vivell from the Taproom in Mannheim.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the start-ups received qualified and individual feedback on their solutions and business models in one-on-one coachings with 16 mentors. On the final day the corporate startup matching took place in the morning. The founders were able to establish personal contacts with company representatives and talk to them about their business model in ten minutes each. In the afternoon, the start-ups made their grand entrance in front of guests from politics, business and culture as well as a jury.
AUCTA, the Berlin-based start-up, won the Up2B Firecamp. The three founders Henri Huselstein, Elías Alonso and Daniel Seiler are developing a program that enables companies to create immersive employee training using virtual reality. The special feature is that this allows knowledge to be passed on to each employee on a large scale and platform-agnostically. Matthias Hornberger, Managing Director at Kizoo Technology Ventures, explained the decision: "AUCTA gave a presentation checking all the boxes with a product which seems absolutely market-ready and targeting attractive segments right now.." As the winner AUCTA takes home a cheque for 1,000 Euros. The prize money was sponsored by the Techniker Krankenkasse.
"The Rhine-Neckar region is a great place for start-ups. That is one of the many reasons why we are so happy to have the Up2B Accelerator, to bring all the corperations around here, all the research institutes, universities and great people into one program for start-ups from around the world, and of course to bring great ideas and talents to that region," explains Thomas Prexl, head of the start-up office in the Technology Park and one of the brains behind the Up2B Accelerator. The participating start-ups all develop products and services for the business customer segment (B2B).
Second place was won by the start-up Neutroon, which provides private 5G networks. This enables companies to make the leap into Industry 4.0, as they own the infrastructure themselves and manage and use all data from the IoT deployment themselves. Third place went to AiZUBI, which develops learning machines for industrial applications. These can learn tasks like human beings from observation and interaction with experienced co-workers.
The winners of the Up2B Firecamp in June 2020 at a glance:
1st place: AUCTA UG (limited liability)
2nd place: Neutroon
3rd place: AiZUBI UG (limited liability)
The following start-ups participated in the Up2B Firecamp:
AiZUBI (Bielefeld), Neutroon (Barcelona, Spain), STATISTANCE (Berlin), CROVE (Berlin), AICOACHING (Königswinter), panda (Helsinki, Finland), AUCTA (Berlin), CYBERPHYSICS (Moscow, Russia), machinesees (Nizhny Novgorod, Russia), KOKORO (Vienna, Austria), GIRI (Stuttgart), Virtual Fort Knox (Heidelberg)
The following companies were involved:
IDS Innovation, Gelita, SAP, ABB, EnBW, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, BASF, INTER Versicherungsgruppe, ADM Wild, Pepperl & Fuchs, edataconsulting
About the Up2B Accelerator
The Up2B Accelerator is a joint project of the Technologiepark Heidelberg, Startup Mannheim and innoWerft Walldorf and is co-financed by the state of Baden-Württemberg and the European Social Fund (ESF) until the end of 2020. As one of eight Accelerators supported by Start-up BW in Baden-Württemberg, the Up2B Accelerator promotes start-ups with a focus on IT, Industry 4.0, Internet of Things and Big Data concentrating on business-to-business customer segments.