Stage Two 2022
THE LARGEST PAN-EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY START-UP COMPETITION EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS WITH SPONTANEOUS EXTRA AWARDS
On 20 and 21 October, Europe’s top universities gathered in Berlin to demonstrate the immense potential of their research and innovation activities. 50 start-ups from more than 40 universities in over 20 European countries pitched in front of more than 45 venture capital firms. And they certainly noticed the huge potential on stage: With two of the participating investors presenting two instead of just one investment award, the confirmed prize money of 2.3 million euros rose to more than 3 million euros on the day of the event. HBOX Therapies, the team nominated by RWTH Aachen University, took home one of two €600,000 Deep Tech Awards by HTGF.
The second edition of Stage Two, the largest pan-European competition for early-stage start-ups from leading universities, set a new milestone. The event initiated and organized by RWTH Aachen University and HHL Leipzig not only grew in terms of the number of participating universities and the diversity of represented countries. What started as an event with twice the prize money of the first edition had by the end of the day exceeded its own expectations. With two additional awards by HTGF and Earlybird, Stage Two 2022 surpassed 3 million euros in awards, thus tripling the prize money of the first year. After more than 50 pitches in the wildcard session, the Digital / Business Innovation and Tech Innovation semi-finals and the finals, moderated by Dan Ram, Diana zur Löwen, Janine Vanessa Heinrich, Lena Waltle and Sven Greulich, a total of 20 start-ups went home with Investment, Cash, Skilling or Accelerate Awards.
To allow for enough time to network, exchange and learn, this year’s agenda had been extended to one and a half days. In addition to 50 different start-up pitches, the program featured a Corporate Panel on “Collaboration in times of crises: Start-ups as innovation engine for corporates and the European economy” with Julian Boha (Siemens), Florian Deter (Microsoft), Jin Choi (Meta) and Shikha Ahluwalia (Balderton), moderated by Aggi Cantrill (Bloomberg), and a Sustainability Panel on the question “How can technology bring sustainability forward in times of global crises?” with Katharina Riederer (eco.mio), Nick de la Forge (Planet A), Christoph Schenek (Microsoft), moderated by Riham Alkousaa (Thomson Reuters).
The event was complemented by an academic exchange between the universities’ entrepreneurship centers led by Audi Denkwerkstatt, a live podcast on stage with Fabian Tausch (Unicorn Bakery) and Ijad Madisch (ResearchGate), keynotes by Kelly Bencheghib (Sungai Watch, Make A Change World), Christoph Sollich (The Pitch Doctor), Tobias Henz (McKinsey & Company) as well as a success story by Amanda Maiwald, co-founder of codary, who participated in Stage Two 2021 and subsequently raised a 3.5 million euro financing round.
RWTH spin-off HBOX Therapies wins Deep Tech Award
RWTH Aachen University was represented by HBOX Therapies, a spin-off from the Institute of Applied Medical Engineering developing an innovative solution for acute respiratory failure. In Stage One, the local university round, the team around Niklas Steuer, Dr. Matthias Menne and Dr. Peter Schlanstein had successfully competed against six fellow RWTH start-ups for the ticket to pitch on the international stage in Berlin. And the members of the local jury were not the only ones impressed by the young start-up. With their vivid pitch, featuring not only the recreation of the respiratory fight of lung failure patients but also displaying the tubes currently used for invasive ventilation, the team made it into the finals as one of four teams in the Tech Innovation stream and ultimately took home one of two Deep Tech Awards by High-Tech Gründerfonds, the largest investment awards worth 600.000 euros each. A second RWTH spin-off, ANTICIPATE, had successfully applied for a wildcard to Stage Two. The team around Kevin Denker and Heiko Wirtz went home with an Accelerate Award to join batch #7 by xdeck.
The initiators from RWTH Aachen University and HHL Leipzig Graduate School draw a positive conclusion: “We’d like to thank everyone in the Stage Two family for making this event a success on all levels,” says Prof. Malte Brettel. “This is only the start. If we look at the success stories evolving after last year’s event, we are excited to see what’s next for this year’s teams. Stage Two is not just a competition, it is a starting point for companies, a starting point for change.”
More information about Stage Two at stagetwo.io.
Winners of Stage Two 2022
- Earlybird Investment Award by Earlybird, €100k: OASYS NOW (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
- Earlybird Investment Award by Earlybird, €100k: Semorai (Industrial AI Solutions Wildcard by Siemens)
- Atlantic Investment Award by Atlantic Labs, €250k: Electrogenos (Impact Startup Wildcard by better ventures)
- Onsight Investment Award by Onsight Ventures, €350k: Cellbricks (Impact Startup Wildcard by better ventures)
- seed+speed Investment Award by seed+speed, €400k: Brainamics (Technical University of Munich)
- HTGF Deep Tech Award by High-Tech Gründerfonds, €600k: HBOX Therapies (RWTH Aachen University)
- HTGF Deep Tech Award by High-Tech Gründerfonds, €600k: FastCast Ceramics (KIT Karlsruhe)
- Best Digital/Business Innovation by STS Ventures, €250k, and Audi Denkwerkstatt, €20k: Compounder (University of Cologne)
- Best Tech Innovation by Speedinvest, €250k, and Siemens, €20k: Untap (Imperial College London)
- KI Park Innovation Award by KI Park, €10k: Genvision (KU Leuven)
- Sustainability Award by ENHANCE and German Entrepreneurship, €10k: ProteinDistillery (WHU)
- Female Founder Award by Orrick and Female Founders, €15k: Untap (Imperial College London)
- Digital Technology Award by DvH Ventures, €25k: Compounder (University of Cologne)
- Wildcard for xdeck batch #7 by xdeck: ANTICIPATE (RWTH Aachen University)
- B2B Sales Bootcamp with UVC Partners by UVC Partners: Skypass (NTNU)
- Premium Access to PantentPlus Innovation Platform by Patent Plus: Untap (Imperial College London), ProteinDistillery (WHU)
- Getting your FoodTech ready for fundraising by FoodLabs: Cequestre (University of Oxford)
- Fast-Track to Join Capital’s IC Meeting by Join Capital: nocoli (Chalmers University of Technology)
- Low Code meets Digital Twin: Bootcamp with Siemens & Mendix by Siemens: aniML Tech (London Business School), Yuman (Technical University of Denmark), Boxxy AB (Stockholm School of Economics)
- Young Professional Negotiator by Schranner Negotiation Institute: Resmonics (University of St.Gallen)
- VfG Impact Coaching by Value for Good: Manuscrito (Universitatea Babes-Bolyai)
- Interactive HardTech Bootcamp by IOT+ Network: nocoli (Chalmers University of Technology)
- Superangel 10 x Growth Sprint by Superangel: Untap (Imperial College London)
ABOUT STAGE TWO
Stage Two is the largest pan-European competition for early-stage university start-ups, organized by RWTH Aachen University and HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, with the mission to unite visionaries from across Europe both on and off stage. The annual competition convenes Europe’s top university spin-offs, high-profile investors, and key industry leaders in Berlin for an exclusive pitch contest and networking event, and is livestreamed internationally. Preceding the finals in Berlin is a local university round (Stage One), in which the start-up centers of the participating universities each select their best start-up to compete at the international level. The main event is embedded into a culture of sharing experiences in a growing international community of start-ups, universities, corporates and venture capitalists. Driven by the vision to leverage Europe’s full innovation potential “For Our Beyond”, the Stage Two family fosters an ongoing exchange of knowledge and best practices among its members in regular roundtables. Stage Two is backed by corporate partners and the EXIST-Potentials program of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action to support universities and their entrepreneurship centers in creating an active, sustainable start-up culture. More at stagetwo.io.