Lars Schatilow

Guest feature Lars Schatilow | How I failed with my startup… and how I keep going

We recently shed light on the topic of failing with your startup – something which hurts but can also be an opportunity to learn some important things! If you find yourself in this situation, you could learn from tips on how to get back on track. In today’s guest feature, Lars Schatilow, the founder of the CODE_n13 finalist Selando, tells us his personal story of failure. Our thanks go to Lars not only for sharing the story of his success but also for telling us what defeat actually feels like and the lessons learned.


Lisa Flieg

Startup Codeatelier: “Don’t set up a company in the hardware sector” Interview Part 2

We continue our Alumnus catch up with Codeatelier and provide you with more founders news of Waldemar and Jochen. If you missed the start, don’t forget to catch a glimpse at part 1. But finally, find our why they don’t necessarily recommend establishing a startup in the hardware sector to other entrepreneurs. Furthermore the founding duo sheds light on what’s behind the new startup project Steuerbot.


Lisa Flieg

Startup Codeatelier: “Our tip to entrepreneurs? Find partners and an amazing co-founder!” Interview Part 1

We love alumni reunions! At the GFT Inspiration Day, we had the opportunity to meet up again with smart home startup Codeatelier. Its two founders, Waldemar and Jochen, gave us an update on what’s been happening since they took part in the CODE_n CONTEST back in 2013. And here’s what we can tell you: There has been a lot of development, since through the competition and the platform at CeBIT, they were able to find a key partner to help them grow further and have now even come up with another startup idea – Steuerbot – which they are currently working on. You’ll also learn in part 2 of the interview why the founding duo doesn’t necessarily recommend establishing a startup in the hardware sector to other entrepreneurs ;-).



Janina Benz

Reunion with CODE_n13 alumnus Daniela Schiffer from Changers

Daniela (Changers) with Felix, Johanna and Elke (CODE_n Team) f.l.t.r.

Daniela (Changers) with Felix, Johanna and Elke (CODE_n Team, f.l.t.r.)

Yesterday we welcomed Daniela Schiffer – co-founder of Changers and CODE_n13 winner – in our office in Stuttgart (Germany). Seven months after CeBIT we were curious what has happend in the meantime.

In our interview with Daniela we talked about her experience at CeBIT, the busy time after the trade fair show managing all the media requests, why saving energy can be fun, especially with a hip product and an active community involved. In the past months Changers doubled the number of sold products and increased the community engagement through gaming mechanisms. The team is busy finding new partners and is working on new distribution concepts.

Find the whole audio interview below.

Janina Benz

CODE_n13 Jury: Interview with Carsten Knop

Carsten Knop is a senior business editor of the German daily »Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung« (FAZ), based in the Frankfurt headquarters and in charge of the companies section of his paper. He contributes editorials and feature stories. He was born in Dortmund, and educated at the University of Münster, Germany. Carsten Knop was already involved in CODE_n12 as a juror and we’re very proud to welcome him in our CODE_n13 jury as well.

Carsten Knop - CODE_n13 Juror

Carsten Knop – CODE_n13 Juror

Janina Benz: From your perspective as a journalist, what “turning points” have made people take the renewable energy transition more seriously?

Carsten Knop: Without a doubt: the decision made by the German government to withdraw from nuclear energy. The shockwaves caused by Fukushima were a clear indication that sticking doggedly to this source of energy in Germany is no way to keep winning elections. A natural consequence of this is that renewable energy simply has to be taken more seriously in Germany. It’s our future.

Janina Benz: You recently attended the World Economic Forum in Davos. What are the big players talking about in regards to energy?

Carsten Knop: The German transition to renewable energy is not being applauded by everyone. It’s placing a burden on neighboring countries in a number of ways, especially if the European grid has to compensate for German power fluctuations, which are inevitable with renewable energy. Also: withdrawing from nuclear energy to this extent has never been seriously mimicked in any way by other developed countries.

Janina Benz: What do you think are the biggest barriers to transitioning to renewable energy?

Carsten Knop: One thing everyone has to be conscious of is that this switchover will cost electricity customers a significant amount of money. Transitioning is expensive, and everyone will have to fund it. Also, the technical challenges are huge. For example, linking offshore wind farms to the electricity grid, or laying new power lines through countrysides, or smarter grids – these are just some of the new predicaments. But the German engineers will overcome this problem – if they’re given the money they need.

Janina Benz: How do you live an energy-efficient life?

Carsten Knop:  Our house is connected to an extremely efficient combined heat and power unit. It’s also very well insulated. Our car is tuned for fuel-efficient driving. And in the office we do like to avoid using ceiling lights if it’s still light enough outside.

Janina Benz: What innovation (in energy or other sectors) do you think will have the greatest impact on society in the next ten years?

Carsten Knop: Without a doubt the switchover in lots of technical areas to smart grids, whether it’s energy supply, transportation, or even manufacturing. The digital world is also merging more and more with production. Industry 4.0 is becoming extremely exciting, paralleling what is happening with smart grids.

Janina Benz: Which new clean-tech innovations are you personally most excited about?

Carsten Knop:  On a personal level, I’m most interested by wind energy – and how to control electricity networks at home, intelligently. Oh and I forgot: we’ve also got one of those smart home systems.

Janina Benz: Out of all the clean-tech sectors (renewable energies, e-mobility, smart grid, etc.), which do you think will see the most developments in the next five years?

E-mobility and smart grids.

Janina Benz: How has the ‘average’ clean-tech consumer changed over the last decade?

Carsten Knop: The average customers of these industries are no longer some kind of eco-hippy. They’re anybody: the average person walking down the street, of any age or social strata. Although they still tend to earn a bit above average.

Janina Benz

Strong Partners: Dell and Seedmatch to Back the CODE_n13 Contest!

Through November 18, CODE_n will continue searching for the world’s most promising startups whose ideas make a valuable contribution to the transition towards sustainable energy. The contest will run under the motto: “Smart Solutions for Global Challenges.” The 50 best entries will get the opportunity to present their business concepts at CeBIT 2013 in Hanover.

In addition to founding company GFT and strategic partners Ernst & Young and Deutsche Messe, two more companies are getting involved in CODE_n13: technology corporation Dell and the crowd funding platform Seedmatch.



Dell and Seedmatch Sponsor Special Prizes

With these new partners, our participants have even more opportunities to win. Dell is awarding a prize of €10,000 to the best business application developed for Windows 8 systems. Three German startups will also have the chance to receive crowd funding services through Seedmatch. Participants who submit a complete application at by November 18, 2012 will be automatically entered to win one of five Dell Latitude™ 10 tablets*.



CODE_n Community at CeBIT

CODE_n offers 50 startups their own exhibition space at the world’s most important event for the digital industry, CeBIT 2013 in Hanover. In line with the upcoming CeBIT theme “Shareconomy,” they will get the opportunity to share their business ideas with trade visitors, investors and potential partners in a special, artistically-designed exhibition hall from March 5-9, 2013.

CODE_n13 Contest Sets Its Sights on Startups and Emerging Businesses

In addition to free exhibition space at CeBIT, a number of other attractive incentives await CODE_n13 Contest participants. Winners of the CODE_n13 Awards in the “Startups” and “Emerging Companies” categories will be awarded €15,000 each.

All companies that have completed at least one business transaction and were founded in or after 2006 are eligible to participate.

[*Dell Latitude 10 Tablet with WIN8 & Intel® Atom™ Processor Z2760 1.8GHz with Intel® Burst Technology, 1.5GHz HFM, 600MHz LFM]