Janina Benz

CODE_n13 finalists Codeatelier and carzapp – exclusively at the Continental stand at the IAA

The IAA – “the world’s most automobile show” – is being held in Frankfurt from September 12–22. This year, the Continental fair stand will host two CODE_n13 finalists: Codeatelier and carzapp. The two startups were invited to present their business ideas at Continental’s IAA stand this year, after winning a special prize at CeBIT in 2013. Each startup will have two days to take part in the show’s publicity week.

We are very happy for Codeatelier and carzapp. We will be visiting both startups at the IAA and reporting on the excitement live via Twitter and Facebook. Anyone interested in dropping by to see for themselves can visit stand A08 in hall 5.1.

Codeatelier's smart home solution Homee

Codeatelier’s smart home solution Homee

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Vassilis Nikolopoulos

And what about fundraising?

Vassilis Nikolopoulos

Vassilis Nikolopoulos, PhD
CEO and co-founder, Intelen

Fundraising is a magic concept for every entrepreneur. It describes a difficult and tedious procedure of raising money to develop a venture and support all growth stages.If you ask me about that, after raising two rounds so far for my startup from six different investors (and hopefully more…), I would say that your initial objective should be bootstrapping and not fundraising. This will give you self-confidence, focus and will push you to the limits to finish your MVP (Minimum Viable Product) in order to get feedback and your first pilot customers. Fundraising is a tedious and time-consuming operation that eats your time as a co-founder from other important tasks, such as product validation and initial customer acquisition.

Fundraising comes after you have a prototype that can be used for customer feedback and can validate a business/revenue model, according to the LEAN approach. The initial money you will be asking for, from angel investors or early stage VCs, should go to one important objective: scaling up!

In every fundraising pitch, what should be stressed is not the technology, which already exists out there, but rather how the product or service can be scaled up as fast as possible and how it will follow a specific go-to-market strategy, already defined by your team.

An investor is not looking at the present, but the future. He uses your pitch and product to project his personal portfolio investment life-cycle, analyzes the risk of its current investment portfolio, calculates some financial and investment metrics and makes decisions based on that. So what you need is a good story to simply describe your idea, a well differentiated product with some initial customer contracts, a good emerging market that will help you evolve and take a good market share, and a pretty straightforward go-to-market plan to scale up your product quickly and efficiently.

When we feel ready to go for a fundraising campaign for our startup, we should be ready to justify and present the above arguments. In general, fundraising takes a lot of time from the co-founders, so we have to be sure that our product and progress are not left behind. The CTO should have a dedicated team to move on with development in a semi-automated way. Continuous progress is another key that we have to show to our potential investors. Investors and VCs always evaluate progress and milestones as a part of a continuous startup assessment.

The Intelen story so far…

Intelen started fundraising back in 2009, after winning its first international recognition in the Guidewire Innovate!100 Contest as a finalist. After that, some more international awards came up in 2010 for Intelen’s innovative prototype product on energy analytics and social game mechanics for energy efficiency (Red Herring Global, silicon valley launch, OECD eco-innovation, Siemens World Smart Grid Innovation Contest, etc).

This opened many potential doors and gave Intelen publicity and credibility for its innovative methods; but this also created many expectations and put pressure on the whole team to finalize the products, start acquiring customers, form a high level advisory board and produce a great success story for the fundraising. International recognitions and innovation prizes do not give you funding or money and do not create revenues. Happy customers do…! But, they create expectations you have to meet, and you have to continuously prove your point of differentiation and your will to succeed to people and potential investors. This is what Intelen did and still does, after two seed rounds. Create a success story and show people your agility and fast progress. Then, prove that you have an extremely well differentiated product, acquire satisfied customers, and as soon as your team progresses you are another step closer to success!

In general, when we fundraise we should:

1. Have a 1-2 page executive summary for the investors and a good financial projection (in the seed stage) 1-year ahead. No need for a big business plan, nobody is going to read it.

2. Have a good pitch deck to present: focus on scaling up and go-to-market strategies and use your success story!

3. Organize your development and company progress well: the co-founders will be very busy with fundraising.

4. Demonstrate agility and the will to go global: present contracts and initial satisfied customers. Also use this feedback to adapt your price models. This will give you good and accurate financial projections.

Be ready to meet any expectations you create around you and to work hard in order to prove that you can evolve, learn, adapt and stay agile!

Janina Benz

CODE_n13: Startup Contest @ CeBIT 2013 (Case Film)

Europe’s leading startup event CODE_n presented the 50 hottest startups from all over the globe. More than 250 startups from 35 countries applied to be part of the CODE_n Community live at CeBIT 2013. This video shows the highlights of five days full of entrepreneurial spirit and our 50 finalists which exhibited at CeBIT in hall 16!

Janina Benz

Key success factor crowdfunding – CODE_n initiates live funding at CeBIT

The bestowal of the special crowdfunding award at CeBIT was a big success. Why did we do it? Because even the best idea or the most innovative product does a startup absolutely no good if it doesn’t get out there, to the people. It takes money to get the word out. And financial means aren’t always easy to come by, especially considering the ever-increasing demands associated with implementing new technologies. In fact, preparing market-ready products eats up much more of startup budgets today than it did just a few years ago. It has been getting more and more difficult for small, young companies to get their hands on the capital needed to see their ideas take off. We wanted to introduce our finalists to a new topic, and show them yet another way to find potential investors: crowdfunding .

Crowdfunding describes the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. It can also refer to the funding of a company by selling small amounts of equity to several investors.

A lot of people asked us how this cooperation came about. We wanted to offer our finalists the opportunity to familiarize themselves with crowdfunding opportunities. That’s why we turned to Jens-Uwe Sauer. He was a member of the CODE_n jury in 2012, and, as Founder and CEO of the German crowdfunding platform, Seedmatch, he brought a world of expertise to the table. Just what we needed for our little endeavor.

Working together, we came up with the idea of hosting a live crowdfunding event, right at CeBIT. According to Jakob Carstens, Head of Marketing at Seedmatch, the winners were selected according to very specific criteria:

“In our selection of the startups for the special crowdfunding award, we sized up t More…

Janina Benz

Marco Voigts: “Strike out on a new path to get attention”

Marco Voigt Code N InterviewMarco Voigt is co-founder of PIN AG and one of the initiators of the GreenTec Awards, the best-known environmental award in Germany. For many years he worked as a consultant for the EU in the Ministries of Economics, of Environment, and of Science, and coordinated several support programs in the field of environmental technologies and electromobility. At the moment, though, he is focused on anchoring clean technologies in German industries. Additionally, he is managing partner at VKP Consulting and partner of Deutsche Messe AG for Business Development, responsible for the international trade fair IndustrialGreenTec.

Janina Benz: Could you tell us about the GreenTec Awards (formerly Clean Tech Awards)?

Marco Voigts: The GreenTec Awards is an annual event presenting the newest advances in green technologies. Green technologies need strong ambassadors! The GreenTec Awards bridges the gap between entrepreneurs, scientists, politicians, artists, media representatives, and consumers, thus raising awareness and boosting the popularity of the sustainable (r)evolution. Projects range from car-sharing concepts to recycled construction materials—any innovative project can be part of the competition. But the GreenTec Awards is much more than just that: we host a session for the jury, encourage people to vote for their favorite projects online, and carry out many other activities to raise awareness for a more sustainable life. One of the event’s highlights is an interactive exhibition that invites guests to experience environmental technologies firsthand. More…

Janina Benz

PATXI ECHEVESTE: “This community will be our little treasure”

Patxi Echeveste - Founder of Wattio

Patxi Echeveste – Founder of Wattio

Patxi Echeveste, founder of Wattio, is a serial entrepreneur in the fields of green energy and energy efficiency. He believes that generating green energy is less interesting than conserving it, because the greenest energy is the one that is not used. He launched his first company, a solar company, at the age of 25, right after completing a masters in Economics Engineering. Now aged 33, his second company is aimed at turning normal houses into SmartHomes with Wattio, a powerful, flexible and cost-effective solution.

Janina Benz:What makes Wattio different than other smart home systems?

Patxi Echeveste: Wattio brings you a complete solution for saving energy and managing your home in a smarter way: we master software, firmware, and hardware to make your life greener and easier. It is extremely easy, secure, flexible, scalable, open, cost effective, and cool.

JB: What’s been your biggest challenge so far?

PE: This project has taken four years of hard R&D work in order to bring a complete solution for SmartHomes to you all. But, honestly, the big challenge now is to place it in the market, and to catch the attention of the media!

JB: You’ve just launched a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo. Why did you decide to raise money through a crowdfunding platform?

PE: We wanted to recruit a unique user base. This community will be our little treasure and we want to grow with it. We will take care of their problems and love their feedback. You know, taking care of the environment and the people we love is a big task—that’s why we need this community. Of course, supporters will get great benefits.

JB: What do you plan to do with the money that you raise?

PE: The more you support us, the more products and solutions we can offer you. Apart from the electricity and comfort system, we will offer solutions in the security and health fields as well. And of course, the platform will be continuously improving and growing.

JB: Aside from contributing, how else can people get involved?

PE: Ask folks to spread the word and make some noise about our campaign! Use the Indiegogo sharing tools, get one of our running t-shirts. We will be always grateful.

JB: Thanks, and good luck!

Editor’s Note: We’ll be featuring some of our finalists on the blog in the weeks leading up to and after CeBIT, but their participation has no bearing on the contest results

Laura-Marie Schneider

Audio Interview with CODE_n finalist Alexander Zosel (E-Volo)

Have you ever heard of an electrically powered aircraft that can take off and land vertically like a helicopter? Well, if you haven’t, you don’t know the volocopter.

The e-volo volocopter is a completely novel, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) manned aircraft, which cannot be classified in any existing category. In his interview, Alexander Zosel, one of the three inventors, introduces the volocopter and explains what makes it unique.


Paula Cizek

Congratulations to the CODE_n13 Winners!

After months of deliberation, we are proud to announce the winners of the second annual CODE_n contest! Changers.com won first place in the Startup category, and GREENCLOUDS took first place in the Emerging Company category; each received prize money amounting to €15,000.

Although the two company serve different customers, their commitment to cleantech solutions is clear. Changers, based in Berlin, has developed portable solar-powered chargers for smartphones and tablets. The chargers measure the amount of CO2 that has been saved and convert it to “Changers Credits,” which are posted to the online community and can be exchanged for sustainable products and services. The Netherlands’ GREENCLOUDS has developed a technology platform that makes idle resources in data processing centers to others, which allows companies to create a new source of income while reducing the data centers’ carbon footprints.

CODE_n13 Award Show

CODE_n13 Award Show

The contest was highly competitive from the beginning: of the 250 companies from 35 countries that entered, just 50 finalists were invited to exhibit at the CODE_n hall at CeBIT. “We found selecting the winners was a very difficult task,” stated Ulrich Dietz, CEO of GFT and initiator of CODE_n. “Many of the finalists caught our attention with their exceptional business models addressing the energy transition.”

In addition, carzapp and Codeatelier were recognized with special prizes sponsored by the international automotive supplier, Continental, the newest partner to CODE_n. carzapp, based in Berlin, operates a private carsharing platform through which anyone can make their car available for rental, while Burgstetten-based Codeatelier has developed Homee, an app that allows users to control a variety of devices in their home. The companies will share a show booth with Continental at the international automobile show IAA in Frankfurt, as well as receive mentoring from experienced innovators.

Changers and carzapp are continuing their winning streak this week with additional awards: just yesterday, these two companies won a special crowdfunding prize at CODE_n. From now until May 5, private investors with a bank account in Germany can visit seedmatch.de to buy shares in the companies starting at €250. In total, both companies have a chance to earn up to €250,000 in venture capital.

If you’re at CeBIT, we encourage you to stop by our both and congratulate the winners and the other finalists; they’ll be at Hall 16 until Saturday. Congratulations once again to all who participated!

To read the associated CODE_n press release please click here.