Lofino

Member Profile: Lofino

Oliver Hagen and Thomas Biermann

Member Profile: Lofino

Meet Lofino. One of our members focusing on the employee benefit sector to make employer/employee relationships easier and more  transparent using digital technology.

What is your startup and what is your role? 

Behind LOFINO are the two founders Thomas Biermann and Oliver Hagen. Due to years of experience in the field of employee benefits and the cooperation of different companies, Thomas knows the needs of employees. He always places the needs of the employees in the LOFINO team and thus always pushes new ideas in the team. When it comes to placing needs around the topics Mobility, Lunch, Spend, Fit, Web or Consult, he is the right person to contact. With over 25 years professional experience, of it 10 years as a tax official on all levels (tax office, regional finance office and Federal Ministry of Finance) and 15 years as a tax advisor, Oliver knows the current legal situation and supports LOFINO with those topics.

The HSB tax office led by Oliver supports and develops new tax models, with which employees can save simply over the LOFINO App. He advises with emphasis in Berlin/Brandenburg in addition, country widely enterprises and private people competently to almost all questions approximately around the topics tax-free wage modules and knows so, which needs high-level personnel have. Together Thomas and Oliver form a stable and brought in team. The team was supplemented in the course of the time and with the constant growth by LOFINO by Account & Sales managers, marketing experts and IT experts.

 

Where did this idea come from?

Thomas and Oliver have been dealing with tax issues for many years. Due to the strong customer relationship, it became obvious to the two founders that a lot of potential in the area of taxes was untapped. From this thought the idea for LOFINO was born. In order to keep the effort for the finance department as low as possible, we developed simple processes. Today LOFINO helps many companies to organize their benefit jungle and manage it on one application. The unique legal tech approach leads to unusual precision and avoidance of 90% administration effort.

 

What has been your biggest success so far?

We have managed to combine the multitude of different tax models in one app. It was especially important to us that despite the different models, the app is simple and easy to use. We were able to convince companies like ThyssenKrupp with this model. But also investors which enabled us to receive the BAFA Invest subsidy. Successes that we at LOFINO like to look back on.

 

What has been your biggest learning?

Customer acquisition in the B2B sector is steady but slow. We have learned that customers are sluggish when it comes to switching to digital tax methods. If we have convinced a customer, the joy is huge. Despite the fact that customers can cancel every month, only a few make use of this service.

 

What is your background – professionally or personally?

Thomas: I was born in the summer of 1970 and enjoy life in the Rhine-Main-Neckar region. I was a national golf player for over 10 years. Besides playing golf, I enjoy exploring unknown places, sports and everything that sounds exciting. I have been developing various projects in different industries for several years, crazyly I have developed some high-quality golf courses, consult companies, build up structures and gladly make my network with valuable people available. At the moment I am setting up my startup LOFINO.


Miriam Unser

Team Member Profile: Miriam Unser

Miriam Unser

Team Member Profile: Miriam Unser

Meet Miriam Unser. She’s a new face in our New Business & Accounts team, and she’s a force of nature. 

The first time you meet Miriam, you instantly know that she is doing what she likes to do – bringing business opportunities to the startup and corporate communities.  She’s a strong advocate for “doing what you love and finding people who share a similar vision/passion.” 

“I love coming to work every morning. I want to create value with all parts of our ecosystem – from universities to startups to corporate partners,” she said. 

Miriam landed at TechQuartier in September after working for a year in investment banking. Before that, she worked as a Management Consultant in Financial Services for Accenture with two of her main clients – Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank. For three years, she supported multiple business units for these banking giants and grew to understand the needs of the corporate community within the dynamic and changing business environment.

She also brings an ability to think big across the startup landscape. What connections do startups need to be successful? What networks are necessary to build? What is a good mutually-beneficial partnership? Her awareness of what makes successful startups and new business opportunities centers on team collaborations that enable founders and corporates to get the support and knowledge necessary to think out-of-the-box. This can come from simply awareness or corporate support.

We need to reiterate the value of our people, projects, partners and members.”

After four years in Frankfurt, Miriam has fallen in love with the city. The airport, the metropolitan (but also easy-going) feel and the multiple cultures living together are her favorite parts of life in the city. 

“I am looking forward to be an active part of the TQ journey and being a key contributor who drives innovation within the startup and corporate ecosystem.”

You can reach Miriam at unser@techquartier.com and on LinkedIn.


TechQuartier and cesah announce new partnership

TechQuartier and cesah announce new partnership

This collaboration will grow the region’s space technology startup communities through accelerator programs, corporate matching and investor access.

Frankfurt am Main, 04 November, 2019 – The Centre for Satellite Navigation Hesse (cesah) in Darmstadt and the Frankfurt-based innovation hub TechQuartier announce a new partnership to provide market access to emerging new technologies and startup networks.

cesah is contracted to run one of the ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs) in Europe, the ESA BIC Hessen & Baden-Württemberg, located at three different sites: Darmstadt, Reutlingen and Friedrichshafen. It has fostered over 100 new startups, many of which have grown into thriving companies.

“TechQuartier has extensive expertise in various sectors and technologies as well as access to a vast community of startups in Germany, Europe and worldwide,” says Dr. Thomas Funke, Managing Director at TechQuartier. “cesah with its startups will have access to TechQuartier’s startups, accelerator programs and partner support.”

In return, TechQuartier will be updated regularly with information about technologies and trends in the space domain and collaborate in future programs in AgTech, SpaceTech and Artificial Intelligence.

Startups and members in both programs will have greater opportunities to be part of scouting connections, industry-specific workshops for business & product development as well as business speed-dating and accelerator events.

“We are proud of our startups that successfully bring space to market. We are part of a growing network of 20 ESA BICs in 60 locations across Europe. This network has been supporting more than 800 startups to date and represents the largest space startup network worldwide,” says Frank Zimmermann, Managing Director of cesah. “We are looking forward to bringing the TechQuartier and the cesah networks together.”

>> Read: ‘The Stars Are Much Closer Than You Think’ – a personal point of view from TQ Team Member Sonia MalkovaScouting & Matching

___________

About cesah
cesah is a centre of competence for space technologies and applications and supports startups in the technical development, realization and marketing of new products and services related to space. For more than 12 years, cesah has been managing an ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) in Darmstadt, since 2018 with two more sites in Baden-Württemberg in close cooperation with IHK Reutlingen and Airbus DS in Friedrichshafen. cesah is supported by its shareholders State of Hesse, Darmstadt City of Science, Technical University of Darmstadt, University of Applied Sciences in Darmstadt, T-Systems International GmbH and Telespazio VEGA Deutschland GmbH. For more information: www.cesah.com

About TechQuartier
Founded in December 2016, TechQuartier (TQ) is a Frankfurt-based startup hub and cross-industry innovation platform. Now established as the main access point to the local FinTech cluster, it is the reference point both for local startups wishing to grow their business and for corporates aiming to collaborate and leverage their disruptive potential. TQ offers a complete innovation experience made of flexible coworking spaces across 4 locations, acceleration programs, community events, matchmaking with corporates and investors and access to an international network of partner hubs.

TechQuartier and Frankfurt were together named Germany’s Fintech Hub as part of the Digital Hub Initiative (de:hub) run by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. For more information: https://techquartier.com.

PRESS CONTACT – TECHQUARTIER

Hugo Paquin,
Marketing Manager, TechQuartier
Email : paquin@techquartier.com

Phone : +49 178 218 4576

 

PRESS CONTACT – cesah

Lisa Klambeck,
PR & Marketing Manager, cesah
Email : klambeck@cesah.com

Phone : +49 6151 39215610

 



Eintracht Frankfurt and TechQuartier launch TechTalents program

A German version follows below.

Eintracht Frankfurt and TechQuartier launch TechTalents program

In October, Eintracht Frankfurt and TechQuartier launched the first edition of TechTalents, an educational program for the young digital minds of the future. The two-month student program is designed to develop understanding, methodology and career opportunities for the future.

The program includes hands-on workshops and collaborative situations to solve business challenges presented by partner organizations, namely Cisco, Siemens, Dell, Cheil and Freudenberg. The future business leaders will gain a deeper understanding of new technologies and will learn more about developing digital product that can drive change.

“Entrepreneurial thinking and acting is one of the most important skills of the 21st century. That’s why we’re delighted to be launching TechTalents, a program that brings young people closer to this ability,” says Dr. Thomas Funke, Managing Director of TechQuartier – the start-up and innovation hub of the Frankfurt Rhine-Main region.

In addition to acquiring new skills, students participating to TechTalent will have the opportunity to expand their professional network with future-oriented companies and digital thought leaders.

Axel Hellmann, board member of Eintracht Frankfurt, says: “We are delighted that such powerful, innovative and internationally active companies have agreed to work with Eintracht Frankfurt and TechQuartier to promote and challenge our TechTalents. The qualification of the next generation for the working world 4.0 plays an important role for the future economic success of every company.”

Eintracht Frankfurt and TechQuartier are committed to sustainably strengthening the digital ecosystem and supporting the potential of more than 230,000 students in the Frankfurt metropolitan region. TechTalents was created to be a platform to build an active community with high potential and at the same time be a new recruiting tool for companies.

Questions about TechTalents? Mail: eintrachtdigital@eintrachtfrankfurt.de


Eintracht Frankfurt und TechQuartier starten TechTalents-Programm

Im Oktober starten Eintracht Frankfurt und das TechQuartier die erste Edition von TechTalents, das Fellowship-Programm für die digitalen Köpfe der Zukunft. Ziel des zweimonatigen Programms für Studierende aus allen Studiengängen ist es, Verständnis, Methodik und Handlungsfähigkeit in relevanten Zukunftsthemen zu entwickeln und sie auf die Wirtschaft und das Arbeitsleben der Zukunft vorzubereiten.

Durch praxisorientiere Workshops und interdisziplinäres Arbeiten an einer Business Challenge der beteiligten Partnerorganisationen bekommen die Zukunftsgestalter von morgen ein vertieftes Verständnis zu aktuellen technologischen Entwicklungen, erlernen die Methodiken der neuen Arbeitswelt und digitaler Produktentwicklung und stehen bereit, mit ihrem Wissen den digitalen Wandel voranzutreiben.

„Unternehmerisches Denken und Handeln ist eine der wichtigsten Kompetenzen des 21. Jahrhunderts. Daher freuen wir uns mit TechTalents ein Programm ins Leben zu rufen, welches jungen Menschen genau diese Fähigkeit näherbringt“, sagt Dr. Thomas Funke, Managing Director des TechQuartier – dem Startup- und Innovationshub der Region Frankfurt Rhein-Main.

Über den Erwerb digitaler Kompetenzen hinaus bietet TechTalents den teilnehmenden Studierenden die Möglichkeit, ihr professionelles Netzwerk mit zukunftsorientierten Unternehmen und digitalen Vordenkern zu erweitern.

Axel Hellmann, Vorstandsmitglied von Eintracht Frankfurt, sagt dazu: „Wir freuen uns, dass sich so leistungsstarke, innovative und international agierende Unternehmen bereiterklärt haben, gemeinsam mit Eintracht Frankfurt und dem TechQuartier unsere TechTalents zu fördern und zu fordern. Die Qualifizierung der nächsten Generation für die Arbeitswelt 4.0 nimmt eine bedeutende Rolle für den zukünftigen wirtschaftlichen Erfolg eines jeden Unternehmens ein.

Für den Pionierjahrgang 2019 konnten die renommierten Unternehmen Cisco, Siemens, Dell, Cheil und Freudenberg als Partner gewonnen werden.

Eintracht Frankfurt und TechQuartier haben es sich zur Aufgabe gemacht, das digitale Ökosystem nachhaltig zu stärken und das Potenzial von 230.000 Studierenden in der Metropolregion Frankfurt dafür zu nutzen. Mit TechTalents soll eine Plattform entstehen, die eine lebendige Community für High Potentials schafft und gleichzeitig ein neues Recruiting-Tool für Unternehmen bietet.

Rückfragen zu TechTalents? eintrachtdigital@eintrachtfrankfurt.de

Über TechQuartier

TechQuartier ist ein 2016 gegründetes und in Frankfurt beheimatetes Startup Hub, eine Cross-Industry Innovationsplattform. Inzwischen hat sich TechQuartier als lokales FinTech Cluster etabliert und ist der Referenzpunkt für lokale Startups, die wachsen möchten und für Unternehmen, welche nach Möglichkeiten zur Zusammenarbeit und vollen Ausschöpfung ihres Potentials suchen. TechQuartier bietet eine komplette Innovationserfahrung mit flexiblen Coworking Spaces an verschiedenen Standorten, Accelerator-Programmen, Community Events, Matchmaking mit Unternehmen und Investoren, sowie Zugang zu einem internationalen Netzwerk von Partner Hubs. Weitere Informationen finden Sie hier: https://techquartier.com.


Team Member Profile: Lucas Schmitt

Team Member Profile: Lucas Schmitt

Meet Lucas Schmitt. One of our newest team members, he’s in the role of Innovation Scouting and Matching Manager.

“I have a passion for innovation, “ Lucas said. “This community is perfect to support opportunities to create something of your own.”

Before coming to TQ, Lucas was a Technical Controller at Siemens and before that, he was a Business Analyst at Lufthansa. All were good, secure positions in reputable companies, but he felt restless.

With a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Mannheim and a Master of Science in Energy Management from the Darmstadt University of Applied Science, he wanted to put his knowledge and beliefs to work in a way that would make a daily difference. In his new position, he matches startups with corporate partners. The potential is to be a catalyst that creates change at TechQuartier.

“Lucas brings his corporate experience and focus to our team, but he also brings new ideas to match startups with the right opportunities,” Dominik Zborek,  Head of Scouting & Matching.

Future plans include uniting local universities with tech and businesses to build up our regional startup ecosystems. He describes it as “bringing the innovation out of universities.” Lucas also is interested in working with startups in the GreenTech Hub.

“We have the opportunity and technology to do something about sustainability and retain a high quality of life.”

Naturally, Lucas is also an outdoors lover. He spends his free time traveling to places like Malaysian Borneo, Cape Town and the US Pacific Northwest to experience new landscapes and their inhabitants. He snowboards, skis and plays Fußball, too.

You can reach Lucas at schmitt@techquartier.com and on LinkedIn.


Winner of Atos first Female FinTech Competition announced

Winner of Atos first Female FinTech Competition announced

Lea Roser, founder of nevaal AG

Frankfurt, October 23, 2019:  Atos, a global leader in digital transformation, today announces, together with Deutsche Bank and TechQuartier in Frankfurt the winner of its first Female FinTech Competition, Ms Sima Ohadi, Chief Behavioural Officer at Odonatech, a software solution to optimize investment advice.

Sima says: “In Odonatech, we use algoritms that are based on behavioural finance and AI to create coaching technologies for advisors and wealth managers to help them know their clients better and to personalize their advice”.

Odonatech will  be part of Atos’ global FinTech Program, which includes FinHub – a fast-track onboarding program with access to Atos’ extensive network of major Financial Services companies (Atos serves 13 of the largest 20 banks globally and 15 of the largest 30 insurance organizations) with legal and go-to-market support from Atos. It also includes access to FinLab, through which Atos helps FinTechs develop their offerings by combining expertise and solutions to test, create and develop new services.

The ‘Excellence Award’ and audience vote winner were as follows:

  • Lea Roser – co-founder and CEO of Nevaal, a networking platform which supports companies in visualizing, analyzing and decoding the value of teams.
  • Silvia Papapietro – founder of Loaney, a consumer credit project for the Italian market.

Lea Roser will spend the day in the Deutsche Bank Innovation Lab in Berlin and Silvia Papapietro will spend the day with an Atos industry expert in the FinTech Lab.

This global competition announced in June this year successfully recognizes female leaders in FinTech and fosters and encourages innovation and growth in the sector by providing FinTechs access to relevant resource, networks and expertise.

The competition journey brought together nearly 20 applicants – FinTechs from all over the world with a female founder or female(s) in the top management groups. The jury was impressed with the innovative business cases of each participant and invited the six best cases to pitch their business cases in front of audience a panel of jury members from partner organizations at the final of the competition at TechQuartier in Frankfurt.

Congratulations to the brilliant finalists of the competition, who each demonstrated an impressive business case:

  • Sassoum NIANG – InTouch (Senegal)
  • Sima Ohadi – Odonatech (France)
  • Carolina Yeo and Britta Mues-Walter – Proftrack Pte Ltd (Germany)
  • Silvia Papapietro – Loaney (Italy)
  • Eleonore Cordesse – manager.one (France)
  • Lea Roser – Nevaal (Germany)

The new initiative brings together women in business, finance and technology and will be run again next year.

Ursula Morgenstern, CEO at Atos in Germany said: “Very inspiring day. Great business ideas which will bring value to Atos’ customers. Very happy to recognize and help these talented women in fintech industry and look forward to next steps!”

Yvonne Swainston, Director at Deutsche Bank Innovation Labs said: “Really interesting group of ideas and companies. It was a pleasure to meet panel and judge the event!

Participants in the Female Fintech Competition.

Member Profile: Field Buzz

Member Profile: Field Buzz

Meet Field Buzz, a new TQ member since the first of September. Co-founders Alexis Rawlinson and Habib Ullah Bahar started the company in 2015 with the goal of creating smartphone-based software “to reach the invisibles in the last mile in emerging markets.” These so-called “invisibles” are the 4 billion farming smallholders, small shops, low-income consumers and unbanked globally whose profiles and transactions with the rest of the world are currently recorded on paper only. Because these people do not have electronic track records with the many companies and organizations that are working with them, there is no way for the companies to know systematically that they are trustworthy and active. So they never get offered all kinds of services and products that would help them to grow out of poverty, such as credit, insurance, training, targeted business or agronomy services.

Field Buzz bridges that gap by helping companies to replace paper records with smartphone-based transactions in the “last mile” in countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar, Uganda and Kenya. The cash-positive startup already has large clients including Danone, Neumann Kaffee Gruppe, BRAC Microfinance and Welthungerhilfe. But to reach scale, they have been moving beyond customized projects for large clients, converting to a modular software-as-a-service platform suitable also for many smaller organizations.

To keep growing, they have been signing software-distribution partnerships with mobile network operators in emerging markets; and longer-term, they hope to offer profiles & ratings of the previously “invisible” for third-party financial service providers. Field Buzz are looking for like-minded investors to expand their operations and help reach more people in more countries around the world.

For more information about Field Buzz: https://field.buzz or simply say hello to Alexis Rawlinson at his desk at TechQuartier on the second floor.


Founders' Journal: suprtrue - EY Startup Academy

Founders' Journal: Two Tales from EY Startup Academy

Sisters Laura Haberkorn (pictured) and Sandra Tennemann are the co-founders of suprtrue.

Following the Story

In early October, seven fledgling companies from all over Germany began their EY Startup Academy education. This year’s class is made up of a wide mix of startup business ideas. These startups were selected after competing in a pitch competition in September. From 13 only seven made it into the EY program.

Over the following five weeks, we’ll track the progress of two startups from the group – suprtrue and Sooqua. We’ll ask the founders questions about their past, present and future.

>> Sooqua – week one

meet suprtrue

Sisters Laura Haberkorn and Sandra Tennemann are the co-founders of suprtrue, a web shop (in the making) for simple, sustainable packaging. According to Laura, suprtrue is a collaborative project initiated and held by Packaging Circus, a packaging design agency founded by Laura, Sandra and Kolossum, which was in turn founded by Digital Entrepreneur Florian Krebber.

Week Two – Q&A

Q: What keeps you awake at night?
A: My brain firing in all directions and a thing called Internet.

Q: Whom do you admire?
A: I draw inspiration from a number of people, admiring their boldness to challenge and rethink conventional concepts and provide new perspectives, like a Jessica Walsh in design or a Bjarke Ingels in architecture for instance, but right at this moment? Everybody who sets up a business from scratch and still gets everyday s*** done, haha. 

Q: Who is your biggest supporter?
A: Mentally: Family & friends and a network of likeminded business partners.
Financially: Maybe you? 

Q: Is this fun?
A: It better be fun. I am always up for a bit of comedy in my life. 

Q: Do you have any comments about what you’ve learned this week?
A: This last week has been a lot about crunching numbers including tax and accounting tips – which eventually crunched my brain.  I will definitely have to forward this to our future finance and tax advisor. Interested anyone?


Week One – Q&A

Q: What does your startup need now?

A: We have already future-minded suppliers on board, but of course we would like to get more inspiring businesses involved. We want to be a game-changer and make the world of packing more sustainable and eco-friendlier. Apart from that, we appreciate the support we get from the EY startup academy in giving a framework of how to bring our business successfully to life on a structural level. Tax, legal, financials – these topics are of course very interesting for us. Since our backgrounds are in design, branding & communications, it is good to get a better understanding of what we need to prepare for rolling out our business.

Q: What inspires your team to continue?

A: The idea to really make a difference in the world of packaging, to break with conventional structures and to be an inspiration or a trigger for the entire value chain to finally work and adapt a more resourceful way of packing and move towards a circular economy. This is fantastic motivation and worth the effort. 

Q: Do you all think that you have personality traits that will help you be successful?

A: We have a vision and see the bigger picture when it comes to solving problems. Creativity is certainly one of our strengths.

Q: What is your general outlook about suprtrue today?

A: We want to become a benchmark in the field and are open for collaborations & partnerships on various levels. Eventually the platform should grow into a curated marketplace with a huge information and innovation hub for producers, brand owners and end-users alike. There are no limits.

Q: How does an idea become a business and what do startups really need help as they grow?

A: The people behind the startup are just as important as the idea. Without a good team that is passionate, curious and open to explore, there is no chance to grow. You have to be bold to do the unimaginable. That’s the spirit we like to incorporate. We hope to find a strategic partner who will support our aspirations.

About suprture

“Through our long-time agency experience and our cross-functional knowledge in design & packaging engineering, we have seen that there is a huge demand for an easy access to sustainable packaging solutions, which can be customized and purchased in small quantities. A user-friendly online shop with classical and special designs is our response to the need of the market.”

Think Moo for package designs. Everyone from a creative director at Adidas to a small-batch jam maker would have access to individual packaging designs available to large and small quantities. Designers and non-designers will save time finding beautiful and sustainable packaging components for large or small orders.

“We believe we can all do better and incorporate a more environment-conscious way of living by choosing quality products and packaging solutions with an eco-friendly approach – therefore we carefully source suitable packaging and pack components and create new coherent and attractive packaging ranges for various industries such as fashion, food, cosmetics and lifestyle. Our pack designs can be embellished with a business logo or an individual layout which can be previewed with the help of a 3D mockup before placing the order.”


Founders' Journal: Sooqua - EY Startup Academy

Founders' Journal: Two Tales from EY Startup Academy

Christopher Dörner is one of three Sooqua co-founders.

Following the Story

In early October, seven fledgling companies from all over Germany began their EY Startup Academy education. This year’s class is made up of a wide mix of startup business ideas. These startups were selected after competing in a pitch competition in September. From 13 only seven made it into the EY program.

Over the following five weeks, we’ll track the progress of two startups from the group – suprtrue and Sooqua. We’ll ask the founders questions about their past, present and future.

>> suprtrue – week one

Sooqua

“Sooqua is a Predictive-Maintenance-Tool that analyzes sensor data within (water) supply networks using machine learning algorithms and thus localizes leakages in an early stage, shows the networks status in real-time as well as predictions of pipe bursts. Our SaaS-solution makes repairs plannable and cost efficient and thus enables the supplier to maintain a reliable and sustainable pipe network.”

Week Two – Q&A

Q: What does your startup need now?
A: Right now we need legal and tax advices most urgent since we are about to found our own GmbH end of this year. So far we had two legal coaches who helped us a lot to know the potential difficulties that we could face during this process. We just got pre-seed financing, so our search for financial resources is not very urgent. We use the pitch training to be prepared for investor/vc-talks in the beginning of next year. We’d also like to have an external point-of-view about our business idea and want to profit from EY’s international knowledge and network.

Q: What keeps you awake at night?
A: While working the tasks for the next days and strategic opportunities we could look into keep me from falling asleep.
On holidays warm and starlit nights by the ocean with a cold beer in my hand, meetings with friends and an interesting chat or snoring people in hostels keep me awake.

A: Whom do you admire?
Q:
I admire all the founders who took the hard way and chose to work hard to found their own company and to realize their dreams. Especially people who founded their companies without having great investors from the beginning on and were struggling to survive financially but still made it.

Q: Who is your biggest supporter?
A: Of course, each team member motivates all the others and supports where she or he can. Furthermore, our friends and families are helping us to keep going and HIGHEST, the Entrepreneurship Cluster of TU Darmstadt supports us where ever they see the chance to.

Q: Is this fun?
A: Working with innovative and smart people is always inspiring and fun. That’s why working with entrepreneurs is a privilege. It is also hard work at the same time and not always easy but with a little humor everything is doable

Q: Do you have any comments about what you’ve learned this week?
A: We learned how to build a financial report so that investors can have a quick insight into the key figures and KPIs of our companies. Additionally, we got information how to build up a brand which represents the dream of the founders and the core idea of our business explained in an easy understandable way. 


Week One – Q&A

Q: What does your startup need now?

A: Right now we need legal and tax advices most urgent since we are about to found our own GmbH end of this year. So far we had two legal coaches who helped us a lot to know the potential difficulties that we could face during this process. We just got pre-seed financing, so our search for financial resources is not very urgent. We use the pitch training to be prepared for investor/vc-talks in the beginning of next year. We’d also like to have an external point-of-view about our business idea and want to profit from EY’s international knowledge and network.

Q: What inspires your team to continue?

A: We would like to help solve one of the biggest upcoming problems for our society. Due to population growth, urbanization and climate change, an increasing number of cities and regions will suffer from water stress in the next decade. The UN expects, that by 2030 the possible water supply will be 40% below the actual necessary demand. That’s why we want to help find a solution for this problem, increasing the efficiency of utilities and thus making water supply more sustainable.

Q: Do you all think that you have personality traits that will help you be successful?
A: We do think that we are an interdisciplinary and international team with complementary knowledge and personality traits. We are all very ambitious and are working hard to bring the project into reality. We motivate each other and push ourselves while still having fun working with each other and not taking life too seriously.

Q: What is your general outlook about Sooqua today?

A: We would like to develop a predictive maintenance tool, which sets new standards within pipe monitoring. We do not only want to develop our solution for just water utilities, but also for gas/oil-pipelines, district heating and the producing industry that uses pipes.

About the Founders

Sooqua is a young team made up up graduates from Technische Universität Darmstadt and University of Trento. This team was named “People’s Choice” winners during the pitch competition last September.

Christopher Dörner: Co-Founder with a MSc in Industrial Engineering from TU Darmstadt and is the deal-maker. He is responsible for the business part of the startup and organizes everything from customer acquisition and marketing over financing to strategic topics. Chris has already worked in a Software-StartUp

Valerie Fehst: Co-Founder with a MSc in Physics from TU Darmstadt and the Gyro Gearloose. She is responsible for developing the product and basically doing the innovative part. She is transferring the real-world problem into a mathematical and physical model. Valerie has already worked in an IoT-StartUp.

Tri-Duc Nghiem: Co-Founder with a MSc in Software Engineering from Uni Triento (Italy) and the code-runner. He is responsible for implementing the product into code and making the software run smoothly. With more than 7 years of experience in implementing Machine Learning algorithms, he is an expert in his field. He also loves to run marathons. Duc has already worked in corporates and IoT StartUps


Recap: Growth Alliance - The AgTech and FoodTech Accelerator

Recap: Growth Alliance - The AgTech and FoodTech Accelerator

Growth Alliance - The AgTech and FoodTech Accelerator: Startup BEEsharing won 5000 € from Rentenbank.

A look into the future of agriculture in Germany: The Agricultural Minister, bees & lavender-scented pig stalls

For the second year in a row, 10 startups in the AgTech (and introduced this year, FoodTech) development sectors participated in Growth Alliance: The AgTech and FoodTech Accelerator, a business bootcamp co-created by Rentenbank and TechQuartier. The program took place at TechQuartier in Frankfurt from 7-11 October.

More than 35 startups originally applied to be part of this accelerator. From that initial group, only 10 were invited to a week of intensive startup development.

  1. Fliegende Wildretter: Before a farmer mows a field, drones are used to scout for baby and small animals to prevent needless deaths.
  2. BEEsharing: Pollinators are shared between beekeepers and farmers on an online platform. Bees can be ordered and transported to fields in Germany. If you don’t have a field, you can always buy honey products directly from producers.
  3. Cepri: Germany’s first smart insect farm producing mill worms and mill worm flour for high-protein food production.
  4. Vineyard Cloud: With software and an app, a winemaker can monitor and plan everything from pest-control to the grape harvest.
  5. Opal Operational Analytics: The Baker-Planner app uses gathered information – from inventory to sales – to forecast future needs.
  6. SprayPatternator: From snow machines to pesticide applications, coverage is optimized using a new technology that reports efficient spray delivery patterns.
  7. Farmerscent: Keep animals healthy and calm with a diffuser that sprays antibiotics and natural lavender and eucalyptus oil in stalls.
  8. ag.supply: An online shop for all things agriculture and farming.
  9. Seperight: Liquid manure can be used sustainably to produce electricity and water.
  10. Traplinked: With an app, digitally monitor mouse and rat traps.

The week culminated with a Demo Day on Thursday 10. October. More than 150 people at TechQuartier watched each of the 10 startups present their idea in a 5-minute, well-rehearsed presentations. The big winner was BEEsharing (Otmar Trenk and Nils Gerber), which won € 5000 from Rentenbank. Second place went to Traplinked and third to Farmerscent.

“Two years ago, Rentenbank approached us to help create an accelerator for the emerging AgTech and FoodTech in Germany,” said. Dr. Thomas Funke, TechQuartier Co-Director. “Our goal for the accelerator program is to give startups an alive and dynamic way to connect with corporates, funding and networks, so founders can continue to develop and grow their ideas.”

Germany’s Food and Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner

Meeting the Minister

Germany’s Food and Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner was a guest at TechQuartier and interacted with each startup founder during a roundtable discussion about digital agriculture. She promised to continue to fund startups and digital experimental fields on farms and in rural areas nationwide.

“Der Vorteil von start ups ist es, das ist Vor- und Nachteil, beides, dass sie nicht die Riesentanker sind, sondern klein und schnell, und unkonventionelle Ideen haben. Der Nachteil ist, dass sie noch nicht in irgendwelchen Strukturen sind, Förderstrukturen etwa, oder in Netzwerken, wo Selbstverständlichkeiten sich ergeben, und das muss man zusammenbekommen,” Minister Klöckner said to the startups.

(English translation: “The advantage of start ups is that they are not giant tankers, but small and fast, and have unconventional ideas. The disadvantage is that they are not yet in any structures, such as funding structures, or in networks where obvious things arise, and we must come together.”)

By 2022, 50 – 110 million euros have been earmarked for digitization and modernization in agriculture. promised Minister Klöckner. She also invited all three top contenders (BEEsharing, Traplinked and Farmerscent) to this month’s “Politischen Erntedank” in Berlin and present their ideas to policymakers.

Mentors + Speed Dating

Throughout the week, startups took part in hands-on courses to perfect their brand story and pitches, learn about investment readiness, marketing, ecosystem intelligence and go-to-market prep from mentors with startup successes to share.

The mentors included:

  • Bianca Praetorius, Startup Pitch Coach & Public Speaking Trainer
  • Julian Reitze, Founder and Managing Director of rezemo GmbH
  • Bettina Gereth, Independent Financial Advisor
  • Dagmar Bottenbruch, General Partner DC&F Capital Partners Management GmbH
  • Philip Groth, Founding Partner PSG Rechtsanwälte
  • Simone Bach, Senior Associate Baker & McKenzie
  • Dr Murat Ünal, Chief Intelligence Officer & Founder SONEAN

Accelerator startups were also matched with established corporations for a Business Speed Dating afternoon. Essentially, each founder had 5 minutes to meet with representatives from corporations in a quick networking session.

“I think the most important part is to keep on building connections, bringing people together and open a chance for someone who is not in the startup ecosystem, first time founder to build his/her network,” ag.suppy co-founder Sebastian Schauff said about TechQuartier’s role in supporting German startups.

Demo Day + Workshops

Press Coverage