Partnering Via Academia
How to connect corporates with university start-ups? – This was the motto of this year's Aachen Technology and Entrepreneurship Conference (atec) which took place on October 28, 2019. Hosted by RWTH Innovation in partnership with digitalHUB Aachen, the atec is the biggest entrepreneurship conference in the region. For the 9th time, corporates, investors, founders, researcher and students gathered to benefit from this platform for exchange, discussions and networking with the focus on entrepreneurship.
More than 400 guests came together at the SuperC of RWTH Aachen University to get inspired, discuss innovation and establish new contacts. Speakers included Frank Thelen from Freigeist, Sebastian Pollok, co-founder of Amorelie, Henrike Luszick from Bridgemaker GmbH, Alex von Frankenberg from High-Tech Gründerfonds, Dr. Casimir Ortlieb from e.GO Mobile AG, Dr. Nils Eiteneyer from FOND OF GmbH and Niels Eldering, Head of Space Solutions, Innovation and Ventures Office of the European Space Agency.
After the initial Investor Speed Dating in which regional founders and start-ups had the chance to meet potential investors, doors officially opened at high noon. Guests were welcomed by their hosts Prof. Dr. Malte Brettel, RWTH Vice Rector for Industry and Business Relations and Managing Director of RWTH Innovation and Dr. Oliver Grün, CEO of digitalHUB Aachen e.V. followed by an inspiring keynote held by Sebastian Pollok, co-founder of Amorelie and founding partner of the Berlin VC fund "Visionaries Club". Sebastian filled us in on “Digital Disruption and Rapid Growth” by showcasing his personal entrepreneurship journey and allowing the audience to bombard him with questions instead of sticking to a scripted presentation.
Highlight panel discussion
Another highlight of the day that left no chair empty was the panel discussion between Frank Thelen from Freigeist Capital, Henrike Luszick from Bridgemaker and Alex von Frankenberg from High-Tech Gründerfonds who tackled the question if and how Germany can grow more unicorns.
And the winner is… The Battle of the Big Five & Spin-Off Award’19
A brand-new element of this year’s atec was the pitching contest ‘The Battle of the Big Five”. Five start-up teams had the chance to win a visit to the Plug & Play Tech Center in Silicon Valley for a three-months international accelerator program. The jury (Hannah Boomgaarden – Program Manager of Plug & Play Startup Autobahn, Jan Borgstädt – Managing Partner at Join Capital, Marius Rosenberg – Managing Director at Adhesys Medical) was most convinced by Hades, who have made it their mission to bring light into the underground and to detect damage in sewer tunnels using AI. Congrats!
The winners of the RWTH Aachen Spin-Off Award were officially presented at atec’19. Congratulations again to the winners: Clinomic, CellEQ, Senseering, DroidDrive, Safion, EnergyCortex and Mindmotiv.
What’s next? Developing the leading European tech incubator
Of particular interest at the conference was the presentation of the newly developed RWTH incubator, one of the central activities within the Excellence Start-up Center Initiative, funded by the NRW Ministry of Economics. With the help of the incubator and numerous other initiatives coordinated by RWTH Innovation entrepreneurial activities in the RWTH ecosphere are to be increased even further. "Entrepreneurial thinking and action will be a central component of the RWTH culture in order to ultimately ensure that no research result is lost for transfer to economy and that every start-up receives targeted support," explained Professor Brettel. The close cooperation between the RWTH Innovation and the digitalHUB Aachen will be continued and expanded within the framework of the Excellence Start-up Center initiative.
Some Impressions from the atec'19
*more pictures comming soon!