For several days the X-Linker-Startup Event of the Accelerator 5-HT took place in Mannheim in the first week of February. Several international start-ups (from France, Israel, Poland, USA and other countries), selected from more than 100 applications, presented their ideas in the field of Digital Chemistry & Health. The quality of the start-ups was very good throughout – some start-ups even had extremely impressive business concepts, which they had already implemented to a certain extent. Martin Thoele spent two days advising several start-ups in the area of finance as a mentor. The winner of the final pitch event on the last day of the event – despite very strong international competition – was the Darmstadt based start-up Sooqua.
On January 29, 2020, Fraunhofer Venture held an event with 15 start-ups in Frankfurt am Main as part of the Ahead Startup Program. Fraunhofer teams from all over Germany and even from the Helmholtz Society further developed their start-up ideas during the multi-day event and presented them there. Martin Thöle was invited as mentor and discussed the very interesting business ideas with the teams.
On September 30, 2019 Martin Thoele has been accepted as mentor for the ASTROPRENEURS Space Startup Accelerator from esa. esa runs a network of 30 business incubators in Europe (with 60 locations) including cesah in Darmstadt, which just has announced that it has supported the 100th startup in Darmstadt.
On September 6, 2019, Martin Thoele was accepted as a mentor at the 5-HT / the Digital Hub in Mannheim / Ludwigshafen, which focuses on (digital) chemistry and health start-ups. “The de:hub initiative of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology networks companies, start-ups, investment partners and research institutions at twelve competence centers throughout Germany.” The main sponsors of 5-HT include BASF and SAP. 5-HT is one of the world’s leading accelerator programs for digital chemistry and digital health start-ups. Approximately half of the startups supported come from abroad.
AAAgiler graduated from Y Combinator’s Startup School after ten weeks on September 28, 2019. The Startup School is a mix of weekly online sessions (two lectures each with themes specifically relevant to startups) also available on Youtube, a regular performance self review plus a weekly group session with about four other startups each. Y Combinator has the experience of founding over 2,000 startups since 2005. In this year, 30,000 startups with almost 42,000 founders took part. The best lecture as per my opinion has been “Advice for Hard-tech and Biotech Founders” by Jared Friedmann, because he shows how to get funding despite high hurdles, especially for deep tech startups. The programm is free of charge and only to be recommended!
On September 17, 2019 AAAgiler attended the AHEAD Bootcamp N°3 of Fraunhofer Venture in Munich. Of the about 28 Fraunhofer tech startups being present there, six were from Darmstadt (more than from any other city in Germany) reinforcing the city’s position as the hidden champion of the tech hubs. The quality of the business ideas and technologies presented was very impressive, however the main problem as for most deep tech startups is available funding even for game / world changing ideas, which I regard as a severe political failure. Available public funding options are too low and slow (it takes upto 12 months for a decision) as a typical deep tech startup requires about EUR 1 million to launch its first product. Private venture captial, who normally do not understand deep tech as they are often not technical people, prefers easy to understand / “low risk” investment into B2C startups with a short-time to break even.
On September 6, 2019 AAAgiler has joined 5-HT / the Digital Hub in Mannheim / Ludwigshafen, which is focused on Chemistry and Health startups, as a mentor. “The de:hub initiative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy links up corporates, startups, investment partners and research institutions at twelve centres of excellence across Germany.” Among the key sponsors of 5-HT are BASF, the world’s largest chemical producer which is headquartered in Mannheim and nearby SAP. It is one of the leading accelerator programs for digital chemistry / health startups globally. About half of the startups come from abroad.
Poligy, a startup with a revolutionary technology based on bipolymers to convert heat into power located in Duesseldorf, is in the process to issue digital participation rights capital in co-operation with Startplatz in Cologne and Cashlink. AAAgiler is acting as part-time CFO for Poligy. On June 11, 2019 an article was published in Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
On June 13, 2019 Wissensfabrik organized a speed mentoring event at HUB 31 in Darmstadt with startups and leading corporates like BASF, Bosch, Commerzbank and LBBW. This gave startups a unique customized mentoring and feedback opportunity. AAAgiler was also one of the mentors. Empirical evidence suggests that mentoring can have very substantial impact on the performance and success rate of startups. The immediate feedback given from the participants as shown in the picture shown was very positive. E.g. the main points were that the speed mentoring was inspiring and informative.
On May 16, 2019 AAAgiler was at the round table „German and Israeli innovation – how to connect the best of two worlds“ organized by the Bertelsmann Stiftung / Founders Foundation in Bielefeld.