TechQuartier announces collaboration with  Fraunhofer  Venture

TechQuartier announces collaboration with  Fraunhofer Venture and Europe’s Most Impactful Science Incubator, AHEAD 

Collaboration will focus on acceleration of deep-tech startups 

Frankfurt am Main, September 27th – Fraunhofer Venture, the tech-transfer department of the Fraunhofer GesellschaftEurope’s biggest research organization for applied science, is collaborating with Frankfurt-based innovation hub TechQuartier to host entrepreneurial workshops and events as well as provide market access to emerging new technologies and ideas. 

’Fraunhofer is one of Europe’s strongest deep tech powerhouseThis collaboration will bring our network extremely solid teams with promising technologies, which can help connect to market through our corporates,” says Thomas Funke, Co-director at TechQuartierTheir vision of developing tangible innovation that impact people’s lives aligns perfectly with TechQuartier’s mission.’’  

One of the main aspects of the partnership centers around the Fraunhofer Tech-Transfer Program AHEAD (« AHEAD »). The goal of Fraunhofer’s flagship program, managed by Fraunhofer Venture, is to build future business models and startup teams around Fraunhofer technologyDuring their incubation at AHEAD, those venture teams, like any other startups, need to validate their concepts and business models on the market. This bridge will be facilitated through the collaboration. 

“Fraunhofer is interested in having corporate partners who can give hands-on help and share their expertise, market access capabilities and network in their respective verticals,” says Thorsten Lambertus, initiator and head of the Tech-Transfer Program AHEADThis gives vital input to AHEAD-teams, especially in terms of identifying market needs and thereby aiding teams in developing the right product/application and business model. TechQuartier’s programs and network will enrich our existing bridge to the market.” 

In addition, this collaboration will allow AHEAD-teams direct access to the local startup community through TechQuartier’s space and industry specific networking events and workshops. 


About Fraunhofer Venture
Fraunhofer Venture is a central department of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and partner for founders, start-ups, Fraunhofer institutes, industry, and investors. By providing access to Fraunhofer technologies, infrastructure, and know-how with more than 6800 patent families, it offers start-ups the possibility to faster and better establish their products on the market. 

The range of services of Fraunhofer Venture includes comprehensive support and consulting from the idea to the start-up, assistance for finding financing solutions to a possible sale of the company and is backed by different development programs and additional services. 

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 Germanys Fintech Hub as part of the Digital Hub Initiative (de:hub) run by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. For more information: 


Hugo Paquin,
Marketing ManagerTechQuartier
Email :
Phone : +49 178 218 4576 


Lui Herz M.Sc.
Strategisches Marketing und Innovationsmanagement
Fraunhofer Venture

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft e.V.
Hansastraße 27c, 80686 München, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 89 / 1205-4538
Mobil: +49 (0) 160 / 96433315 

Email : 

Thomson Nelson

Member Profile: Fincite Ventures

Member Insights: Three tips to attract VC

Member Insights: Fincite Ventures give three tips to attract VC

Meet Thomson Nelson, Senior Manager Digital Ventures at Fincite Ventures.  The company is about four years old and generally has two or three venture projects going per year with big success and a notable equity portfolio of leading European tech companies. Their portfolio focus on scaleups, and all of them have raised capital and demonstrate rapid growth.

A mainstay of the ecosystem in Frankfurt, Fincite Ventures acts as a technology co-founder, servicing early stage startups in Tech for Equity deals. They provide experience and insights into efficient building and scaling web platforms and business models with a focus on building startups in digital asset management services and marketplaces verticals. 

“We know that overall our selection process of ventures is superior to what the current market standard is. The reason for that is that we take risk factors out of the equation. The results prove us right. All our ventures are doing great and we have not lost a portfolio company so far,” Thomson said. He is an expert on identifying and nurturing fintech startups especially focusing on raising venture capital.  He has developed some insights and tips applicable to startups in all sectors that are looking for funding.

Thomson’s first area of focus is looking at a founder’s leadership qualities. Can he/she attract talent with a compelling story? Can a founder endure the obstacle run of growing a company? Can he/she lead teams? Do he/she foresee the future of where markets are going? Can he/she inspire a team, customers and investors – even when the going gets tough?

The first tip – Co-founder/Market Fit

Thomson advises founders to think like a venture capitalist. Ask the question “How is this team best suited to implement this idea?”

“A VC’s evaluation will focus on the team. They know that ideas are not proprietary. In fact, VCs assume that there will be many founders and companies pursuing the same idea.”

According to Thomson, the biggest risk in B2B ventures is often the execution risk. Often there is inherent product/market fit as most ideas stem from experiencing problems first-hand in the industry. In B2B startups it is often important show to the investors that the execution risk is mitigated with co-founding team expertise.

“Funding teams need to show their unique characteristics. Ask the questions: How has the founding team experienced the problem? How can the founder mitigate the technology risk of execution, how is the founder team positioned to acquire end customers easily, because in B2B case-customer acquisition is not only costly but time consuming. How is the co-founding team best suited to tackle this problem?”

The second tip – Product Idea Process/Problem fit

Thomas knows that VCs evaluate the founder’s idea maze. What was the founder’s process to get to his/her current product idea?

“It’s the process of idea maze that is better predictor of the founder’s success than actual product idea itself is. You need to showcase how the product vision is best suited for the problem and why your execution strategy will differentiate from the competitors. Often understanding the current process of how it is done now and then making process efficient is the key differentiator for forming the ideal product maze. Developing customer journey maps and how you envision the new customer journey helps.”

Thomson’s inside knowledge often helps in this development. It’s also important to understand in B2B context when you are selling your product to a corporate.

“You need to figure out how much effort the corporate would need to do in order to fit your product efficiently within their setup. Sometimes product implementation costs for the customer might be a deterring fact. These are also equally important points to be considered when designing the product.”

Finally – Market size:

What if your market is too small? Size does matter in this case. Thomson advises that VCs are looking for big market size opportunities for their investment.

“Sometimes your business model is profitable, your team is really good and the product idea is perfect, but market size isn’t big. That means equity value of the business is often capped, because the market size isn’t big and hence sometimes VC’s reject you.”

But market size should not limit your idea. Sometimes a dedicated, smaller target group is worth investment.

“There are smaller VC funds that invest very early in companies and their business model is to exit companies through acquisitions at lower ultimate end valuations. This might be the VCs you should pursue.”

A final nugget of knowledge from Thomson is about pitching to the right investor.

“Certain opportunities are not relevant for a particular investor. It is important to match the investor-problem-co-founder fit. Many founders oversee that. They make finding an investor a large number game. This does not work well when applying for a job, so why should it work with finding an investor?”


Thomson Nelson

About Thomson Nelson

Before joining Fincite Ventures, Thomas worked as Senior Engineer in Energy industry in the United Arab Emirates. His love of finding venture capital angels and product development is a thread in his career. He has a masters degree in Management focused on Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Technical University of Munich and Bachelor’s in Engineering from India. He also has visited 10 counties, lived in 6 and worked in 4 countries.

Recap: Accelerating the Frankfurt Startup Ecosystem

Recap: Accelerating the Frankfurt Startup Ecosystem

On 26. August Hessen’s leading startup and business advocates gathered at TechQuartier to learn about the current state of the area’s ecosystem and future needs for growth. Among the participants were representatives of Hesse Trade and Invest, of the Ministry of Economy, Goethe University, Science Park Kassel and Werte-Stiftung.

From the Startup Genome side, JF Gauthier (in attendance along with his co-founder Marc Penzel and Adam Bregu) presented his company’s research and findings in “Accelerating the Frankfurt Startup Ecosystem into an Engine of Economic Growth.”

The overarching message focused on the need for all the regional factions to work together to grow the current ecosystem. The recommendation is to become ambidextrous – using both “hands” (the first hand is traditional innovation clusters driven by corporations with universities represent, while the second is the startups ecosystems). The two hands need to work together to increase the number of entrepreneurs, and what Genome calls the ‘lab-to-startup performance.’

The Strategy

“Within 20 years, startups will become the largest single sector of the world’s economy and have become the No. 1 engine for job creation.”

According to Mr. Gauthier, Frankfurt’s ecosystem value and startup output is much lower than those of the top 30 global ecosystems. To create a real economic engine, he advises that the region triple the number of startups to 1200 by 2024. Of course, quality of startups is important, but sheer size is also a critical factor.

To reach this goal, Frankfurt must focus on its strengths, which it already is doing by betting on FinTech. But that cannot be the only locomotive. The city and surrounding region now needs to focus on Deep Tech, namely Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Life Sciences and Cybersecurity. Building on existing strengths creates the foundation upon which to start building new sub-sectors up.

The final recommendation is too close the success-factor gaps. For the Frankfurt ecosystem, this means helping startups to think globally instead of thinking only about markets, funding and collaborations within Germany. Germans generally stay in Germany. Increasing seed money and all early-stage funding is critical to growth, too. Without support in the early stages, startups die and founders go elsewhere for their next idea.

“About 92% of startups are doomed because of a lack of funding. They have to bootstrap. Many think they have to stay in Germany first because they lack funding,” Mr. Gauthier said about seed funding in the startup ecosystem. “You need to grow. Creating a strong center that supports startups, like TechQuartier.”

The Tactics

Mr. Gauthier shared the example of University of Waterloo in Canada. “Waterloo has high rates of startup creation because of it created an entrepreneurial culture starting with its universities.” Waterloo has a startup creation rate of 947 per million people, while Frankfurt’s rate stands at 67 per million people. Granted, Waterlook is a more mature ecosystem, with the Waterloo University creating startups since 1997, but the metropolitan Frankfurt is rich in higher education resources and should be able to do more.

The first step to building a successful student-to-founder paradigm is to engage PhDs, recent graduates and students and make them entrepreneurs. With more than 17 region universities teaching entrepreneurship, the talent in Frankfurt is potentially large, but students are not being engaged as startup collaborators and founders. Instead, students are being absorbed into the corporate culture and comfort.

“It’s about creating soft clusters, physical clusters and really having this clusters not only be about technology. Create clusters that are not just one university or one large corporation. Start building a cluster that has two or three universities, several large corporations and hundreds of startups. Start a program to create startups and not create technologies. It’s a totally different mindset and different people usually.”

Tactics to engage and welcome new startups includes:

  • Tech Transfer, promoting company formation and funding,
  • Student Competitions, creating of technologies and products,
  • STEM Education Focus, increase and promote diversity,
  • University SSOPs, places for entrepreneurial minds to learn and share,
  • Co-Op Programs, especially in SMEs and startups and
  • Entrepreneurship Curriculum, make it an explicit career path and start educating.


Regional Input

A discussion followed the presentation and regional policymakers, educators and startup experts shared their thoughts on the emerging Hessen startup ecosystem.

Dr. Andreas Hackethal, Professor für Finanzen am House of Finance der Frankfurter Goethe Universität: “What is missing is a clear-cut story. The power of a story that unites institutions is something we cannot overestimate. Now what is our story? This is the biggest challenge in my view to come up a story that pulls everyone together.”

Dr. Sebastian Schäfer: “We have a strong industry base, but our challenge here is really how to help industry and help new centers to develop. For that we have to take action. It’s really about getting out of this traditional economy class. We want to secure future welfare. We are at the heart of the financial part of the country, so we could lead the way.”

Dr. Thomas Funke: “We have 17 universities that have so much talent and researchers, but we are missing ways to brings these ideas to market and to startups. To grow the number of startups this the core issue. We need to activate all the students.”

What is the ideal governance architecture for the Frankfurt startup ecosystem? How do we build a world-class governance ecosystem?

The final consensus was that Frankfurt is rich in opportunity and the next step is designing a governance to help build together and engage students and professors to develop entrepreneurs, who in turn will take the leap of entrepreneurship and start their own ventures.

TechQuartier and Deutsche Bundesbank

Deutsche Bundesbank Becomes TechQuartier’s First Institutional Partner

TechQuartier and Deutsche Bundesbank

Dr. Jens Weidmann, President of the Deutsche Bundesbank, and Dr. Thomas Funke, Co-Director of TechQuartier.

Deutsche Bundesbank wird erster institutioneller Partner von TechQuartier

FRANKFURT AM MAIN / 28. August 2019 – TechQuartier hat heute seinen ersten institutionellen Partner bekanntgegeben, die Deutsche Bundesbank. Mit dieser Zusammenarbeit wird das Netzwerk für Innovationen in Deutschland verstärkt und weiter ausgebaut.

Die Partnerschaft mit der Deutschen Bundesbank bietet verschiedensten Unternehmen eine gemeinsame Grundlage, um zusammen innovative Lösungen für kommende wirtschaftliche, soziale und ökologische Herausforderungen zu entwickeln und umzusetzen.

„Dies ist ein bedeutender Meilenstein auf unserem Weg, tiefgreifenden und nachhaltigen Wandel durch Innovationen zu gestalten‟, sagt Dr. Thomas Funke, Co-Direktor von TechQuartier. „Als eine der renommiertesten Institutionen Deutschlands bietet die Deutsche Bundesbank TechQuartier eine einzigartige Perspektive auf die Mechanismen und Regulierung der Finanzmärkte, und ihr Engagement in unserem Netzwerk ist äußerst motivierend. Wir freuen uns sehr darauf, die Zusammenarbeit aufzubauen.‟

Im Rahmen der Zusammenarbeit wird TechQuartier seine Expertise für zukünftige Innovationsentscheidungen einbringen, indem es globale Technologietrends und geeignete Technologien (z.B. KI, Big Data) in der FinTech-Landschaft findet und bewertet. Dazu gehört auch die Suche nach und Beurteilung von disruptiven Marktentwicklungen und die Analyse ihrer Auswirkungen.

Durch diese Partnerschaft werden gemeinsame Ressourcen geschaffen, die eine bessere Vernetzung von regionalen und nationalen Startups und Universitäten ermöglichen und den Zugang zu Finanzierungsplattformen und -möglichkeiten verbessern. Im Gegenzug wird die Deutsche Bundesbank an globale Gründernetzwerke, Partner-Hubs, junge Talente und das umfassende Startup-Netzwerk von TechQuartier angebunden.

Die Deutsche Bundesbank erhält einen Sitz im Lenkungsausschuss von TechQuartier und hat damit strategische Mitsprache bei der Ausrichtung des Innovation Hub. Zu den Gesellschaftern von TechQuartier gehören die Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, die Technische Universität Darmstadt, die Stadt Frankfurt und die WIBank.

Über die Deutsche Bundesbank
Die Deutsche Bundesbank ist die unabhängige Zentralbank der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Zentrales Geschäftsfeld ist die Geldpolitik des Eurosystems. Zu den weiteren Aufgaben gehören das Finanz- und Währungssystem, die Bankenaufsicht, der unbare Zahlungsverkehr sowie das Bargeld.

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 zur 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.


Deutsche Bundesbank Becomes TechQuartier’s First Institutional Partner

FRANKFURT AM MAIN / 28. August 2019 – TechQuartier announced today that Deutsche Bundesbank will become the startup hub’s first Institutional Partner. This collaboration will help continue to build a stronger, more connected ecosystem for innovation in Germany.

The partnership with Deutsche Bundesbank will provide a common foundation for a variety of businesses to work together to develop and deliver innovative solutions to upcoming economic, social and environmental challenges.

“This is a very important milestone on our journey to create deeply impactful, long lasting change through innovation,” said Dr. Thomas Funke, Co-Director of TechQuartier. “As one of Germany’s most prestigious institutions, the Deutsche Bundesbank brings to TechQuartier a unique perspective on how financial markets operate and are regulated, and their involvement in our ecosystem is extremely encouraging. We are very much looking forward to establishing the working relationship.”

As part of the collaboration, TechQuartier will lend its expertise to future innovation decisions by finding and rating global technology trends and appropriate technologies (e.g. AI, big data) across the FinTech landscape. This includes the discovery and assessment of disruptive market forces and evaluating the relevant impact of innovations.

Shared resources created by this partnership will allow greater connectivity for regional and national startups and universities plus increase access to funding platforms and opportunities. In return, Deutsche Bundesbank will gain global connectivity with founder ecosystems, partner hubs, developing talent and TechQuartier’s comprehensive startup network.

Deutsche Bundesbank will have a seat on TechQuartier’s Steering Committee, gaining a strategic voice on the innovations hub’s orientations. TechQuartier’s shareholder roster includes the Goethe University Frankfurt, TU Darmstadt, the City of Frankfurt and WI Bank.

About Deutsche Bundesbank
The Deutsche Bundesbank is the independent central bank of the Federal Republic of Germany. Eurosystem monetary policy is the Bundesbank’s core business area. Other core business areas including financial stability, banking supervision, cashless payments and cash operations.

About TechQuartier
Founded in December 2016, TechQuartier (TQ) is a Frankfurt-based startup hub and cross-industry innovation platform. Now established as the focal point for  the local FinTech cluster, it is the reference point for local startups wishing to grow their business and for corporates, universities, investors and other institutions aiming to collaborate and leverage their disruptive potential.

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.

Press Contacts:

Susanne  Kreutzer
Deutsche Bundesbank
Stv. Abteilungsleiterin Externe Kommunikation
Tel.: 069 9566-4231

Hugo Paquin
Marketing Manager
Tel: 0178 218 4576

techquartier agtech

The Future of Food: AgTech & FoodTech Outlook with Dr. Murat Ünal

techquartier agtech

The Future of Food: AgTech & FoodTech Outlook with Dr. Murat Ünal

Sign Up to Join the Event

For a network scientist like Dr. Murat Ünal, the AgTech sector is like a giant food buffet. The number of possible combinations and opportunities is seemingly endless and, in the end, you should have something delicious on your plate.

Founder of SONEAN, he is one of the inspiring  experts who is mentoring participants in this year’s “Growth Alliance – The AgTech and FoodTech Accelerator”  presented by TechQuartier and Rentenbank on October 7- 11.

Dr. Ünal is touting the increasingly important role of global food production as one of the driving forces pushing high-tech innovations and fundamentally changing this ancient necessity of human survival. Modern farming.

“The average age of a farmer in Japan is 65,” Dr. Ünal said. In Europe, about two-thirds of agricultural workers are between the ages of 40 – 64 according to the European Commission on Agriculture.

These stats lead to the question: “Who will grow our food in the future?”

The answer is human-led technology. Sunlight-powered robots farming fields in Africa and driven by a human team in Singapore who can exactly pinpoint the optimal time to water to produce a larger crop yield? Why not?

This is where Dr. Ünal’s expertise and imagination step into the picture. His company SONEAN “launched a unique service called ‘Ecosystem Intelligence’ and runs the largest private social network analytic capability in Europe.” He is interested in connecting the dots (or in network science terms the “nodes”) across fields, countries, beliefs and politics to create a realistic, real-time 360-degree outlook that can help AgTech and FoodTech startups weigh the competition and forecast success.

Helping Startups

“We want to give startups a very good idea of the AgTech space. Not only what we are doing, but more importantly the very relevant developments we see on a global scale,” Dr. Ünal said about the upcoming event. “We want them to benchmark their startups with what is going on across the world. With a mouse click, we can tell them what other companies are doing and give them realistic feedback. Are they really on to something different from other companies?”

Participants in the TechQuartier five-day free program “Growth Alliance – The AgTech and FoodTech Accelerator” will have access to some of Germany’s best coaches including:

Five-Year Outlook

In addition to encouraging German startups to think about organically growing their ideas on a worldwide scale, program coaches will offer insights into the near future of Europe’s AgTech and FoodTech scene.

Here is Dr. Ünal’s five-year outlook the European AgTech industry focuses on the following:

  • There most likely will be a lot of breakthroughs in automation.  Robot or remotely-driven tractors are on the horizon.
  • The death of the combustion engine used in farming equipment is imminent as we move away from fossil fuels. Hydrogen, electricity and sunlight are all possible energy sources for new engines.
  • Crops will become more organic – weeds and bugs might be removed by robot “hands” and the use of chemicals will become more pinpointed in their application.
  • Data delivery will be important. A bee-sized drone flown by a remote human pilot could zoom between plants and collect information about crop health. Using improved, faster WiFi technology, a “farmer” can adjust watering schedules, fertilizer applications or pesticide information immediately on a micro or macro scale.
  • Food security and job retention is also important, according to Dr. Ünal.
    “Food production is a very basic industry that sets the standard for many other industries. Because, not just from a food security point of view, but if 70% of your people are working in agriculture like in some emerging markets, you want to keep these people employed or you want to train them. This is vital for so many countries.”

The New Farmer

These innovations are exciting to a young class of startup founders and students who might not considered about farming as a career, but want to create robots to aid in crop production or use machine learning (artificial intelligence) to predict needs.

“There’s a new generation of people developing ideas that will change the industry for good.”

About Dr. Ünal

Dr. Ünal graduated from the University of Adelaide/Australia with a B.Com degree. He holds an M.B.A degree from Kellogg/USA and WHU/Germany and its network programs at Tel Aviv Uni/Israel and Hong Kong Uni of Science and Technology/China SAR. Murat further has a LL.M. degree from the School of Law at Northwestern Uni in Chicago and a Doctorate in Business Administration from IE Business School in Madrid specializing in social network analysis (SNA). He regularly lectures at leading universities globally focusing on the unique application of SNA.

About TechQuartier’s Growth Alliance – The AgTech and FoodTech Accelerator

“The AgTech bootcamp offered us, not only professional input from highly competent experts and experienced companies, but above all the opportunity to network with other technology-oriented startups as well as the agricultural and food industries. This constellation is unique in Germany,”  said Dominik Ewald, Co-Founder of Monitorfish. His pitch was voted best pitch of Demo Day during last year’s inaugural AgTech and FoodTech Accelerator.

Topics covered in this five-day bootcamp include “Investment Readiness,” “Pitching & Storytelling” and “Governance.” Plus a business speed dating event will connect startups with investors and a demo day to introduce projects to the public.

Samuel Bisrat, EduCreate founder

Member Profile: Samuel Bisrat

Member Feature: Meet Samuel Bisrat

Samuel Bisrat, EduCreate founder

At the age of 22, he already had his first Frankfurt startup, Outdoor Kids, successfully up and running. Now two years wiser, Samuel and his partner Samuel Menghistu are in the beginning stages of a new venture – EduCreate.

This new idea was inspired by an upcoming teacher shortage predicted to hit Germany in 2025 when schools are obligated to hold classes all day instead of a half day. To fill this gap, EduCreate will connect schools and students with professionals in all fields who can bring their expertise to classrooms. From sports to art to science, students can learn from their community network and schools can provide interesting all-day learning opportunities outside of traditional curriculums.

“We need to close the gap between educators and professionals. More people are needed to work with children.”

Scheduled to launch online in April 2020, EduCreate can be customised for individual schools and age groups via a web-based app. Samuel is also looking for corporate sponsorships to help offset costs, too.

Samuel is also inspiring. As a young startup founder, he is someone promising already gaining experience on the entrepreneur playing field.

His motivation is simple.

“I just have fun starting companies and being able to work on my own ideas. This is my way to impress myself. I don’t do boring.”

CTO Needed
The team is on the hunt for a CTO to join this startup. Interested? Email Samuel Bisrat directly here.