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Pitch Days Batch 2 | Work together. Grow together.

 

FASTTRACK is and even more so will be about partnerships and bridging gaps between high-tech B2B startups and family-owned companies. To continue the successful collaborations of Batch #1, we have implemented our lessons learned to make Batch #2 even more professional and goal-oriented.

Innovative ventures focusing on robotics, data analytics, supply chain solutions, new materials, sensors & actuators and additive manufacturing technologies preferably from all over Europe were invited to apply for joint projects with Hirschvogel Automotive Group, HOERBIGER and Max Aicher Group – all family-owned hidden champions out of southern Bavaria.

Munich Network e.V. was asked to support us with the screening & scouting activities. They reached out to innovation hubs spread across the globe to reach the most interesting ventures. Five weeks prior to the Pitch Days the submission was closed, registering roughly 100 applications for Batch #2.

The 20 following startups from Germany, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Latvia, Poland and Switzerland gathered one of the sought-after slots for the FASTTRACK Pitch Days on 15th and 16th of October:
3D Strong, Azeti Networks, deevio, drag & bot, Eiratech Robotics, EPM Riga, iiMES, IMSystems, InLable, Kinexon Industries, KOJON Network, KOMP-ACT, Locomotec, Nano Join, Neuron Soundware, Magazino, Opiliones, SK – Technologies, SquadTec, Trovus Tech.

 

The Pitch Days kicked-off with an individual briefing session with selected representatives of the three partners and Ceravis on Monday afternoon. The session was intended to give startups a vast idea on which use-cases to focus on in order to maximize the chances of success when pitching their technology to selected German engineers and decision makers the following day.

The first day was topped off with a well-deserved networking dinner with founders and representatives of the three FASTTRACK partners in the Industrial Makerspace next to the FASTTRACK HQ in Landsberg. Time to reflect upon the real live needs of the three partner companies, exchange personal experiences and discuss business opportunities.

 

 

The 2nd day started with a short introduction of the three FASTTRACK partner companies given by their management. Bastian Burger, blik’s CEO, shared his experiences as participant of Batch #1 with the audience and prospective startups of Batch #2. He vividly explained which upfront expectations of the program he had, how they were fulfilled and which challenges along the way had to be mastered.

 

 

“To make the most out of FASTTRACK, don’t just find any stakeholder to conduct the joint project with you – put in effort to find the right one, someone with a clear need for your solution who can help you improve it based on practical experience.”

 

That being said, we made sure our startups would have plenty of opportunities to find suitable stakeholders for their desired pilot projects. More than 50 Managing Directors, key decision makers, engineers and plenty more representatives from Corporate and Advanced Engineering, Quality Management, Production Planning, Product Design, Business Development, IT Services and Logistics Department were eager to meet the founders in person.

 

 

 

We put an emphasis on personal exchange rather than monotonous pitches. The startups were thus given six minutes to teaser their technologies and get business units interested for personal exchange in the afternoon sessions.
On the one hand, startups exhibited their technologies and live demos for a more tangible user experience at the fair. On the other hand, moderated round-table sessions sparked detailed discussions. These sessions turned out to be really fruitful and laid the basis for collaboration on joint projects. Together with interested business units from all three partners, startups discussed technology aspects in detail and elaborated on use cases and which steps to take on next.

 

 

“I’ve never been in one room with dozens of German engineers – quite a drill session, quite an experience!”

 

 

Hands-on and straight-forward – that’s how our partners determined in a typical family-business manner, which startups would be selected into Batch 2. Congrats Azeti Networks, KOMP-ACT, IMSystems, InLable, Locomotec, Nano Join and Trovus Tech.
They will kick-off a total of 9 pilot projects with our partners, starting in January 2019. An additional 4 startups got leads for business opportunities.

Congrats on great results! – Demo Day | Batch No. 1

Work together, grow together: all founders and startups together with involved representatives from Hirschvogel, HOERBIGER and Max Aicher.

 

Nine startups impressed the companies Hirschvogel, HOERBIGER and Max Aicher during the Pitch Days held in January. IOXP, Blik, HD Vision Systems, Cascade Drives, Applied Nano Surfaces, Point 8, Lithoz, Spumix and Tomorrow Labs were selected into the first batch of FASTTRACK out of more than 350 initial applications to start collaborating on joint projects.

 

 

The founders guided the audience through the results of the joint innovation projects.

 

 

Over the past three months, the founders collaborated intensively with their project counterparts on a total of twelve innovation projects. On June 18, they presented their results at FASTTRACK Demo Day in Landsberg am Lech, Germany.
Each of the companies had 25 minutes to showcase their projects, which was followed by a Q&A session to address questions from the audience.

 

 

Additionally the startups had the chance to give a live-demo of their technologies.

 

Attendees had an opportunity to exchange additional information directly at the startups’ marketplaces, where technologies and the project results were demonstrated live on-site.
A barbecue held afterwards provided ample networking time for the startups and company representatives. Time to reflect upon the past months and exchange ideas for further collaboration.

 

 

One thing became clear very quickly during the presentation of the projects: it did not take the teams long to achieve extremely valuable results for both parties. The startups used the opportunity to improve their technologies or even develop new use cases based on the challenges posed by a real large-scale manufacturing environment. The founders benefited greatly from these real life insights and challenges in manufacturing. Their project counterparts contributed all their years of experience, supported them wherever needed in a very hands-on manner and brought the right means and contacts into play to turn all projects into a success.

 

 

Cheers to a very successful first batch – time to elaborate on the results and steps ahead.

 

For Hirschvogel, HOERBIGER and Max Aicher, working with the startups resulted in the development of innovative ideas. They examined the advantages that the startups’ solutions have to offer for their firms and then jointly continued to develop the application.
The end of the first round of FASTTRACK does not mean the end for the Accelerator Program. Soon, the partners will discuss further activities with the startups in-house and will bring the projects to a conclusion outside of the program.

 

 

Additionally, the second round of FASTTRACK is now being launched. Applications may be submitted until September 2, 2018.

Mentoring Session on Fincancing Issues and Bavarian Beer

The project phase of Batch one is up and running – only one month left until Demo Day on June 18, when startups are going to demonstrate their results.

Time to catch a breath and knock off work the Bavarian way – catching up after work over one or two tasty local beers and a cold platter of Bavarian specialties. Fortunately the famous monastery Andechs is just around the corner from our headquarters in Landsberg. Andechs has its own brewery and a couple of cozy beer halls – the perfect setting.

 

 

The get-together in Andechs marked the end of the day’s mentoring session on financing issues and pitch decks. The morning session revolved around the financing topic, focusing on the terms and structure of typical financing contracts. PwC legal expert Frank Tepper-Sawicki passed on his experience from multiple M&A/VC deals to startups in a very practical manner and highlighted the do’s and don’ts for such contracts from a startup perspective. Additionally startups  got first-hand insights into how the requirements of strategic investors differ from that of financial investors.

 

 

In the afternoon, startups had the chance to undergo a reality check and see, whether their customer and investor pitch decks leave some room for improvement. Here, the diverse constellation of participants including representatives from customers, strategic investors, former founders and other startups really paid off. The different perspectives resulted in valuable feedback in terms of possibilities on how to craft even more appealing pitch decks. The startups warmly welcomed the valuable feedback, since it hopefully not only helps them to sell their vision even more appealing to potential Investors, but also to sell more of their products to customers.

It’s a wrap – Pitch Day | Batch No. 1

 

It’s a wrap – Pitch Day | Batch No. 1

 

On January 15th & 16th the first FastTrack batch was successfully launched with the program’s on-site Pitch Days at the Ceravis office in Landsberg am Lech. Due to the high quality and amount of the received applications during the preceding application phase it wasn’t an easy choice for our industry partners to decide on the most convincing teams and innovative technologies to be invited to our Pitch Days. Our partners sifted through more than 300 initial applications and selected the startups for the final round based on multiple factors – strategic fit as well as identifiable scenarios for pilot projects guided them in their decision making process, to name a few. 20 startups from Germany, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland and Belgium qualified for the final round and were thus asked to take the stage to deliver a top-notch pitch.

 

As promised, FastTrack offered direct acces to executive levels right from the start – hence our partners’ Managing Directors didn’t want to miss out on this chance. Dr. Thomas Brücher (CSE of Hirschvogel Automotive Group), Thomas Englmann (CEO of HOERBIGER Antriebstechnik Holding GmbH) and Max Aicher (CEO & Shareholder of Max Aicher Group) opened the FastTrack Pitch Days with their combined keynote, underlining the importance of collaboration between the old and new economy.

from left to right: Max Aicher (shareholder & CEO of Max Aicher Group), Thomas Englmann (CEO HOERBIGER Antriebstechnik Holding GmbH), Dr. Thomas Brücher (CSE Hirschvogel Automotive Group) and Thomas Offner (PwC Quarterback) held the opening keynote.

After the keynotes our Pitch Days were officially on: every startup faced the jury in a 20 minute pitch followed by a 10 minute Q&A. Together with 60 representatives from all three corporate partners, the Managing Directors represented the jury, pinning down startups in tough Q&A sessions.

 

Unlike in most other programs, startups were asked to not solely deliver a standard investor pitch, but rather come up with a technology-centered pitch. Thus the attending partner representatives were in a better position to evaluate potential use cases for pilot projects. In addition to the pitch area, three marketplace areas were set up to foster one-on-one conversations. A majority of startups used this opportunity to demonstrate their products and services and elaborate on potential uses cases together with corporate partner representatives.

 

 

 

The diverse range of invited startups combined with top level partner representatives made this pitch event a truly extraordinary one. The audience was impressed by the quality and level of professionalism that every single finalist delivered. The program’s focus on B2B startups positively contributes to the desired level of quality and professionalism, which all industry partners require and rely on during the project phase.

 

No wonder our partners had another hard time when it came to selecting the winners after the two-day event. Focusing on quality rather than quantity, all three corporate partners together selected 10 winner startups with which they plan to launch three-month projects tailored to the startups’ as well as the corporates’ needs. In March 2018, the project-phase is due to kick off, marking the starting point for the project collaboration between startups and industry partners.

 

Congrats winners!