Over a period of eight weeks, twelve teams of students and researchers worked on ideas for possible start-ups. Under the guidance of Marie-Claire Becker and Kristina Winter, both start-up coaches from the Transfer Centre in the EXIST-Potentiale project, they navigated topics such as business model, product-market fit, target group analysis and financing as part of the SQ offered by ENI.
Some teams used the offer to further develop their existing idea, while other teams only found their way to each other and to a business idea during ideation. Pitching was also trained - and tried out at the Demo Night. Eight of the teams had qualified for this. In three-minute pitches, they presented their start-ups to almost 80 guests and a jury of four.
The jury, consisting of Barbara Pfister (coordinator of the Holzbau-Offensive BW at MLER), Stefanie Baade (head of the Baden-Württemberg office @KI Bundesverband), Rubina Zern-Breuer (head of the Transfercenter Universität Stuttgart) and Jens Caspar (Herr Kächele and Neckar Käpt'n), who also donated the cash prizes, did not have an easy time deciding who should win Best Pitch and Best Business Model that evening because of the quality of the pitches. So they decided to award two second prizes and one first prize.
The crowning glory of the evening as Best Pitch went to the PARASOLAR team: with gastro-sunshades that generate electricity. That's right! Win-win for guests and restaurateurs: while the guests enjoy their place in the shade, the pub's cash register is buzzing twice, because the umbrellas covered with Solartextil feed electricity into the grid and reduce the establishment's energy costs. The prototype has already been in test operation for six months and the team expects it to be ready for the market as early as 2024.
The hot second-placed start-up was INFERNO. Their product, an aircraft-helicopter hybrid is almost in the hangar to efficiently fight the increased frequency and intensity of forest fires due to climate change. The aircraft can fly vertically and therefore also take in water from smaller bodies of water. However, it can handle twice the amount of water than helicopters currently in use. Next step: a 1:7 demonstrator ready for series production in 2029. WOW.
Super-small, super-easy, super-smart is the idea behind SpinMagIC. Micro-sensors that can measure the quantum spins of specific chemical substances. Simply insert the probe into the material. That's it. No huge technology, no chemistry needed for digestion. No exposure to chemicals for the people who collect this sensory data (e.g. ingredients in food). It's magic. I like it, the jury thought and awarded another second place.
NATALISO - wants to make Secret Santa obsolete: with an app that uses AI to navigate users to the best pool of potential gifts for specific recipients. The pool is then swiped for the final selection. For shopping, the users are redirected to the corresponding shop. If the gift fits the recipient perfectly, returns are minimised. Bad for scrap Secret Santa, good for the environment.
IMENSUS takes you to the moon. Because there are resources lying dormant that could be used on Earth. Space Resource Exploration is about finding the best places to mine on the moon. Imensus provides the necessary technology, data and analysis with near surface high resolution data. UPS: so far, there is no start-up in the entire space resource economy that specialises in data mining.
ROBOBIN cleans up after events or festivals or when the pavements are raised in a city at night. Fully automated, the robots set out on a clean-up mission as rubbish collectors 2.0. Robotics meets Hurricane and turns it into a clean-up mission.
FLUX SPEAKS promises faster fluency in a foreign language. The idea: the language learning app conducts authentic conversations with learners. And through the AI-based approach, the APP trains itself on the users, their language level and error patterns. The inhibition to speak decreases, the language level increases. A fantastic addition to existing apps and language courses in presence.
STATIONARY makes stationary trade virtual. Simply connect the merchandise management system and in no time at all interested parties can see where which product is available in the shop. But it's nicer to buy the real thing on site!
The ENI will again offer an AWAKE run in the winter semester. It's worth it!