Last weekend we had the pleasure to host 8 startups from Karlsruhe, Heidelberg and Mannheim over the weekend at the AppHaus in Heidelberg. Goal was to boost their startup projects together with experts, mentors and also venture capitalist. The days were full of discussions, inputs and also a lot of fun and the founders enjoyed to stay in the AppHaus very much.
I had a short interview with Anne Siebold about this weekend. Anne is startup manager at the Karlsuhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and was one of the organizers of this Boostcamp weekend.
Hi Anne, you are working as a startup manager at the KIT. What do you do there and how important are startups for the KIT?
In Karlsruhe we have a lot of “geeks” as well as a long tradition of IT-Startups. I guess people at SAP are aware of the founding-story of their company, so to say Karlsruhe is kind of the birthplace of SAP. Hasso Plattner, Dietmar Hopp and Klaus Tschira were students of the Technical University of Karlsruhe in the 70ties.
Since that time the landscape of innovation and entrepreneurship has changed, even in politics. Today we are aware that startups can change the world. At our University we do support people who develop these new ideas. Our focus is on web and tech-related startups. My job is to guide startups, students and alumnis to develop business models and getting the ball rolling. In 2008 we established an entrepreneurship center directly located on the campus, which is open to everyone. One important part is the growing startup community – if you like to join, follow us on twitter @CIE_KIT or www.facebook.com/CIEKIT.
Together with the Cyberforum Karlsruhe you regularly organize the Boostcamp. Could you tell us more about this?
Our aim is to support startups in the early stage phase and “boost” them. Ideally they have a prototype and a first idea of the potential business model. At the Boostcamp we then work together with mentors and coaches. At the end of the weekend they know how to move on with the product and business development. It is important to get experienced people involved as well as establish an attitude of “getting out of the building” to test the ideas.
If you have a closer look on tech-startups, especially in the field of IT and web, it is crucial to know about Lean Startup and not to “Fall in love with your solution” too much. The aim is to prove if the startup really solving a problem and if there is a potential market.
The SAP AppHaus hosted this event. What were the reasons for you to come to Heidelberg this time and especially to run the Boostcamp in the AppHaus?
We believe it is important to have a “maker space” like the SAP AppHaus, a creative and open-minded setting for the weekend. In the early phase you need time for team building, and the equipment for creative and interactive work sessions. SAP AppHaus is perfect for that!
So tell us – how was your weekend at the AppHaus?
We had 8 teams mostly with IT-products, 22 participants and 7 mentors from different backgrounds. We applied concepts and methodologies, tested ideas and got a lot of insights from experienced entrepreneurs and business angels. We will see the impact of weekend in the future development.
Any wishes how we can improve the AppHaus even further?
One idea: It could be interesting to bring startups and corporates together – and learn from each other. The key ingredients are already there, creative people, ideas, networks and technologies.
Last question: do you have more ideas how to cooperate with companies. With SAP?
SAP is competent in developing new solutions with cutting-edge technologies – I think we have the potential to bring innovative people together and facilitate innovation – whether they are part of an startup, scientists or corporate people. I guess there is a lot of potential. It could be interesting to bring startups and corporates together. Besides that I am excited to see if HANA is suitable as platform for IT Startups.
Sounds like a plan and the Design and Co-Innovation Center is looking forward to support this also in the future. Thanks for your time and all the best for your startups.