Filiz Sarah Gärtner

How to successfully incubate startups – a guide for corporations hungry for innovation

Yes, we know the road to innovation can be tough. But it’s more important than ever to rescue businesses and bring them safely to the path of digital transformation. There sure are several ways to reach this goal. But examples of money pouring into R&D that left the companies empty-handed show that business incubation of startups is the better way for corporations to develop new technology and business solutions. Startups have the disruptive power and lateral thinking ability that are often missing in established companies. And they already come with the advanced, game-changing innovation that might be the solution to your problems! But in order to achieve a fruitful co-operation, a fertile ground is necessary. So better read on and learn how to successfully incubate startups in our quick guide for incubators!

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Filiz Sarah Gärtner

Meet our CODE_n CONTEST Finalists 2016: Netbeast from Germany

netbeast_logoNetbeast – one of our Connected Mobility Mobility finalists of our CODE_n CONTEST – developed an open source platform that connects devices of any brand or technology and can add support for new devices through community collaboration. The startup, based in Munich, allows developers to create IoT apps for smart devices without having to worry about compatibility issues. Jon Senra Dearle, CEO and Co-Founder told us more about his company:

What is Netbeast all about? How did you come up with the idea?

Jon: Netbeast is a software platform that allows smart home devices to communicate with each other regardless of their brand or technology. Netbeast makes homes help people to focus what really matters.

The Co-founders know each other from University. In the last year of their career they thought about creating a smart hub which allows any device to connect to it and then all devices could communicate with each other. We started our research in the smart home field and realized that there were a lot of smart home solutions – yet none of them was smart enough. Smart devices can not communicate to each other at all, which makes them island solutions. So we decided to create a software solution that could be installed anywhere and allows devices to be smarter than they naturally are.

“Digital Disruption“ – that’s the motto of this year’s CODE_n CONTEST. What makes your solution innovative, what makes it disruptive?

Jon: Currently, there are a lot of smart home products, but they can not communicate with each other, even they are smart as well. This is due to the fact that the devices are from different brands or they use different protocols to communicate like wifi or Bluetooth.

There are some solutions on the market at the moment however they are closed environments. Devices can only communicate with each other if they belong to certain brands. So let’s say I want to include another smart device to that environment: I can never be sure if that is going to work, because I wouldn’t know exactly which device I had to buy. Customers can only buy certain brands, if they wanted to make it work and not any brand, meaning you couldn’t always get what you wanted. We’re changing that: from now on, customers can turn their homes into a smart one with any device. You don’t have to think about this anymore.
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Filiz Sarah Gärtner

Meet our CODE_n CONTEST Finalists 2016: CRiskCo from the United States

logoOur CODE_n CONTEST Finalist CRiskCo revolutionizes the credit approval process and helps loan providers with key challenges such as financial data acquisition, response time reduction and better risk assessment. The startup’s infrastructure connects to accounting systems in a one-click process, collects relevant data, standardizes it, and sends it to the loan provider in seconds. CEO Erez Saf told us some more details about his FinTech company!

What is CRiskCo all about? How did you come up with the idea?

Erez: CRiskCo is disrupting the credit information business, a field ruled by giants such as D&B and Experian, which lack the tools and data needed to predict or manage credit portfolios. We help businesses reduce bad debt and make good credit decisions by providing credit risk information, by predicting future defaults and by assessing risks of current and potential customers. CRiskCo’s revolutionary approach includes the use of unique Artificial Intelligence algorithms, Big Data models and a cloud based technology. CRiskCo’s goal is to enable trust between businesses worldwide and enable new credit solutions to address SMB’s needs.

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In my former role as CTO for a SAP Partner and an SME consultant, I had developed ad hock solutions for businesses to manage and control their credit customers’ portfolios. I personally witnessed businesses deal with dozens of poor clients, who defaulted or displayed sporadic payment behavior. A couple of years later as the CIO of eLoan.co.il, a P2P lending platform, I was exposed to some great tools and innovative ideas for managing individual’s credit portfolios, which I noticed that the SME community lacked. This is what drove me to start CRiskCo. More…

Filiz Sarah Gärtner

Meet our CODE_n CONTEST Finalists 2016: UrbanAlps from Switzerland

urbanalps_logoCODE_n CONTEST Finalist UrbanAlps is a high-tech startup based in Switzerland that is reinventing the mechanical key with 3D printing. The young company is a constellation of innovation specialists with a focus on laser processes, plus a group of remarkable advisors ranging from former members of the executive team at ASSA ABLOY to serial entrepreneurs (a-connect) and directors at McKinsey & Co. For this interview we talked to Managing Director Alejandro Ojeda. Have a quick read to find out more about the Photonics finalist:

What is UrbanAlps all about? How did you come up with the idea?

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Alejandro: UrbanAlps is about Swiss security products for the city. We bring the Stealth Key: the affordable house key that is safe against 3D copy.

“Digital Disruption“ – that’s the motto of this year’s CODE_n CONTEST. What makes your solution innovative, what makes it disruptive?

Alejandro: To put it in a nutshell: We take a centuries old industry of traditional hole drilling to a world of 3D metal printing.

You’re one of the 13 finalists in the Photonics contest cluster. Which challenges do you think young companies have to face in this sector? How do you handle these challenges?

Alejandro: My personal feeling is that hardware startups are strongly handicapped compared to ICT or medTech startups for relevant reasons (i.e.: deployment speed of products…). We tackle that challenge by having a scalable strategy for a huge market: mechanical keys.

Your solution seems to solve a lot of problems. Are there already plans for a market entry of your product? More…

Filiz Sarah Gärtner

Meet our CODE_n CONTEST Finalists 2016: Quantum Base from the UK

qb_logoMeet another one of our CODE_n CONTEST HealthTech Finalists: Quantum Base designs, develops, and delivers quantum security solutions, which are based on quantum mechanics rather than mathematical complexity. This is the only proven way to save digital information securely. The British startup was spun out from Lancaster University and provides solutions that are 100% secure and guaranteed by the laws of physics. Dr Robert Young, Co-Founder of Quantum Base, took the time to tell us all you need to know about his startup!

What is Quantum Base all about? How did you come up with the idea?

Robert: At the core of our organizational philosophy is a fundamental belief that product, data security and integrity is a sensible and basic human right, indeed a requirement, in all modern-day societies.

The digitized, connected societies we inhabit are driven by a dependency on ever-increasing security requirements, but how can you depend on anything if you can’t trust it? At Quantum Base our core concern is guaranteeing 100% product security, authenticity or data integrity. So whether we’re talking about a pill to a painting, to a prize-winning horse; or a form of packaging or even a bit of data on a network or in free space, we use the laws of quantum physics to create simple, small, practical and cheap quantum security solutions that are 100% provably secure. It is this level of unbreakable security which we can deliver, that bridges the current, and ever-increasing gap in security between the good guys and the bad guys.

How did we make this happen? Well, the idea was to smash together a world leading scientist, two sharp technologists, and a really average entrepreneur. Then add in some super smart people, and stick them all in the mixer together. We said, if we create an environment of trust, mutual respect, and driven by a real need to dramatically and urgently disrupt the way things are done in the security space, we’ll find a better, smarter way of thinking about the security and integrity of literally everything we work, use, buy consume, communicate, and play with.

Finally, we encourage them all to make beautiful music together, you know, the stuff that gets you just there, in the heart; the stuff that moves you, shakes you; makes you want to cry, gets you pumped, and bang, literally! …the result is Quantum Base.

So, in maybe less romantic terms, it’s two normal guys (friends), The Royal Society (arguably the greatest scientist in the world), world-leading scientists at a world leading institution, and business leaders and visionary’s. All trying to change the way the world views or “does” security in many different ways. It’s about absolutely believing that you can, and have to, create small, cheap, and practical products or solutions; quantum security solutions so elegantly simple, that anyone can use them, so anyone can have the security we feel is their right. So here at Quantum Base that’s what we’re doing, we’re building it, and we hope that the people will come, see our vision, and help us build our 100% provable and unbreakable security products, guaranteed by the laws of physics. For us building provable trust and security serves as the building block for everything else.

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The Quantum Base Team

“Digital Disruption“ – that’s the motto of this year’s CODE_n CONTEST. What makes your solution innovative, what makes it disruptive?

Robert: What’s so fundamentally different is our Optical Q-ID or Q PUF (Quantum physically unclonable function) uses new two-dimensional materials (e.g. graphene like sheets) that can be read with a smart phone and cheap filter. The devices are secure to the atomic scale; as secure as it’s possible to build, and the best bit – they can be mass-produced to ensure they are amazingly cheap. So, in terms of authentication for instance, you can tag any product or any packaging whatsoever, because the devices are literally miniscule (microscopic, e.g. a few thousand atoms in size).
As each one has its own unique ID, and can literally be placed on any surface, of any thing, it means you can address each one directly in real time, using Internet or new media technologies with a remote database.
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Stadtmarketing Karlsruhe

Guest feature | 15 Reasons to Choose Karlsruhe

What many people associate with Karlsruhe are the Federal Court of Justice, the Federal Constitutional Court as well as the city’s soccer team, the Karlsruher SC. Being a young and innovative city, Karlsruhe has so much more to offer to its inhabitants and visitors, though. Check out the following 15 reasons (there are many more, of course) why Karlsruhe is the perfect location to visit or settle down:

1. Karlsruhe offers 3,240 square kilometres of space for ideas.

Karlsruhe is one of Europe’s most prosperous technological centres. And if you happen to have a good idea yourself, more than 10 advisory centres for startups can help you transform your idea into a viable business with a sustainable future.

22. We prove every day how well this actually works.

Karlsruhe is Baden-Württemberg’s strongest economic region and ranks among the top ten economic centres on a national basis. And that is of course great for the people of Karlsruhe, too, because at 4.7 %, the unemployment rate is among the lowest in Germany.

Illustration Bundesverfassungsgericht3. What makes Karlsruhe a “secret capital”?

Everyone in Germany knows that Karlsruhe is home to the Federal Constitutional Court and the Federal Court of Justice. But how many people realise that there are other key national institutions here, such as the Max Rubner Federal Research Institute for Nutrition and Food, or the Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute?

4. So you like swimming?

Then why not take a dip in one of Karlsruhe’s twelve indoor or outdoor swimming pools, or one of more than 20 recreational lakes in the region? Or do you prefer to keep your feet firmly on dry land when it comes to sport? Then you could take advantage of our excellent network of cycle tracks or simply go jogging. No less than 60 % of the city area is green and the Hardt Forest begins just beyond the market square.

5. The fan-shaped layout of the “Fächerstadt” makes for a beautiful cityscape.

And you will need a fan yourself, because Karlsruhe enjoys warm, Mediterranean-like summers! With 1691 hours of sunshine, it is the fifth sunniest city in Germany. The balmy summer evenings will tempt you to linger at one of the many restaurants, cafés or bars that give the city its southern flair. More…

Filiz Sarah Gärtner

Meet our CODE_n CONTEST Finalists 2016: evopark from Germany

evopark_logoOur CODE_n CONTEST finalist evopark is the market leader in digital off-street parking in Germany. Their app allows you to easily find off-street parking locations and check real-time availability. Parking lot tickets become obsolete as you can enter and exit lots and garages by opening barriers automatically using RFID technology (evotag). The young company, selected for the Connected Mobility cluster, also works with exclusive retail partners to offer discounts on parking fees. We talked to Sven Lackinger (Business Development) about his startup:

What is evopark all about? How did you come up with the idea?

Sven: My founder colleague Max had the ground-breaking idea to evopark. On holidays in France, he was annoyed by waiting at toll stations although he just had to pay a few coins. At the same time other drivers passed the barriers quickly by holding up a card. He remembered a similar situation in German parking garages and wondered whether there could be a solution to simplify the process. Back in Germany, we refined the idea together with our fellow students Tobias and Marik. In 2014 we founded evopark.

The leading team: Maximilian Messing (Product & IT), Marik Hermann (Sales), Tobias Weiper (Marketing) and Sven Lackinger (Business Development)

The leading team: Maximilian Messing (Product & IT), Marik Hermann (Sales), Tobias Weiper (Marketing) und Sven Lackinger (Business Development)

About 30% of all inner-city traffic results from drivers looking for a parking spot. At the same time, however, most parking garages still have unused capacity even on busy days. A major potential which evopark tackles by offering an innovative parking service. The evopark parking card replaces the usual paper ticket. No more queuing at the pay station. No more looking for change. Parking with evopark is significantly easier and more convenient. Best yet: evopark is completely free of surcharge for drivers. Customers only pay the regular parking fees. The well-proven long range UHF RFID technology on our parking card enables convenient and highly reliable entry and exit. Barriers automatically identify the
integrated chip. The system works completely seamless.

“Digital Disruption“ – that’s the motto of this year’s CODE_n CONTEST. What makes your solution innovative, what makes it disruptive?

Sven: The German parking market is fragmented and characterized by a deeply ingrained traditional thinking. It was a hard way to convince parking operators to confide in an innovative product in the first place. But we believed in the success of our concept, so that we insisted and persistently pursued our goal – with success! Being first in the market, we offer a fully integrated solution suitable for all common parking management systems. An attractive product and a sustainable business model provide benefits for all stakeholders. We believe, that is the only way a digital product can generate added value for the industry in the long-term. Drivers park more easily and comfortably. Parking garages are getting more attractive, frequencies increase. The solution to credit customers’ parking fees supports local retailers. A concept, which clearly pays off. Last but not least, again being first in the market, we gained the automobile manufacturer Porsche as investor: Its newly founded subsidiary, the Porsche Digital GmbH invested a seven-digit figure in evopark. More…

Filiz Sarah Gärtner

Meet our CODE_n CONTEST Finalists 2016: Blockchain Helix from Germany

It’s time for the next FinTech finalist in our blog series: let’s meet Blockchain Helix! With their innovative solution, the German startup overcomes the problem of anonymous vs. legally secure transactions. Oliver Naegele, Founder & CEO, told us more!

Blockchain_Helix_LogoWhat is Blockchain Helix all about? How did you come up with the idea?

Oliver: Blockchain Helix is a Blockchain architecture that overcomes the problem of anonymous vs. legally secure transactions. We do this, by introducing an Identity management that handles privacy. We can streamline any KYC process and manage the user accounts with our technology.

We are driven by the fact, that Web 2.0 has data leakages and loss of data self-determination. Internet nowadays is not suitable for an internet of values and transactions. That´s why we need an approach to give back trust and our long work with blockchain and portal-solutions leads to this.

“Digital Disruption“ – that’s the motto of this year’s CODE_n CONTEST. What makes your solution innovative, what makes it disruptive?

Oliver: We are working on a technology that we call Trusted Web“ or Web x.0“. Our Helix technology gives us the capabilities to have privacy and security by design. Blockchain is a true gamechanger and the way we want to introduce it for everyday and everybody use and hide the disturbing wallet-usage is disruptive.

You’re one of the 13 finalists in the Applied FinTech contest cluster. Which challenges do you think young companies have to face in this sector? How do you handle these challenges?

Oliver: FinTech Startups more than any other sector (besides biotech) have to be more serious in business and has to deal with a very slow moving industry. This is a challenge as well as an advantage. Our very special challenge is that we are exploring the capabilities on a very early stage. Every Blockchain Technology like Hyperledger, Ethereum is public beta and evolving fast. This leads to higher development demands and workarounds. To overcome the fear of a new technology we do Blockchain events at our office and run the BlockchainLAB as an open dialogue platform. More…