Issue 49, April 2014
bulletEntrepreneurship in Germany
bulletGerman Startups Association - The Voice of Start-ups in Germany
bulletInnovation: Tinkerbots - A Building Set that Makes Creating a Toy Robot a Snap
bulletBerlin Geekettes Expands to NYC
bulletParStream, Inc. - A German Silicon Valley Accelerator Success Story
bulletInterview with Prof. Dr. Tobias Kollmann - Germany's E-Entrepreneurship Expert
Entrepreneurship in Germany 

"Silicon Allee," Berlin's burgeoning tech scene, has become a global hotbed for start-ups. Revenue from IT, the city's fastest growing sector, rose 20 percent last year to €2.2 billion, according to Investitionsbank Berlin. Cheap rent, an affordable infrastructure, and a creative culture have attracted young entrepreneurs and developers with ambitious start-up ideas to partake in the city's thriving digital landscape. 


In the second quarter of 2013 alone, Germany overtook the U.K. as the leading target for European investment capital with €273 million in funding. Despite this success, however, challenges for Germany's start-up ecosystem still remain, such as access to sufficient capital for business creation. 


Germany offers a wide variety of funding opportunities to support entrepreneurs at both the state and federal levels. The "Entrepreneurship Funding & Resources" page on the GCRI website outlines these customized programs, which include assistance with the funding application process, obtaining permits, recruiting personnel, and providing information about growth areas.


The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has created a nationwide network via Startup Week Germany to raise awareness about the importance of entrepreneurship in society. The Ministries of Economy in all 16 German states as well as business umbrella associations are involved in this campaign, which offers youth competitions, startup fairs, and consulting advice. 


Looking ahead, Germany is on the verge of a fourth industrial revolution in which IT merges with products from the German engineering and automotive sectors to continue to propel Germany forward as world economic leader. 



article2German Startups Association - The Voice of Start-ups in Germany 
The German Startups Association (Bundesverband Deutsche Startups e.V.) was founded in 2012 to encourage a culture of self-employment and to reduce the barriers to starting a business. The organization's mission is to be the voice of German start-ups, to create a networking platform for all members of the German start-up ecosystem, which includes entrepreneurs, start-ups, politicians, and businesses, as well as to stimulate an agile culture of entrepreneurship in Germany together with the organization's members, industry associations, major institutions, and established businesses. Well-known start-up members of the association include ResearchGate, Lieferheld, and 6Wunderkinder.
The association facilitates campaigns, events, and research such as the "German Startup Monitor" report ("Deutscher Startup Monitor"), in order to highlight the importance of start-ups in Germany and to develop relevant agendas to represent start-ups in the political arena. 
Past events include the Startup Camp Berlin, which featured interactive workshops and presentations on a variety of topics, Pitch Marathon, which enabled start-ups to pitch their ideas within a four-minute time slot to a room of leading investors, and German Valley Week, which connected German start-up founders with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. This year, the second annual German Valley Week will take place June 7-14 and will offer an exciting tour of the Bay Area as well as meetings with the biggest names in the area's famous tech scene. 
The German Startups Association strives for a healthy and competitive ecosystem by promoting its ten-step start-up agenda. One goal, for example, in this agenda is to foster open attitudes in young people towards start-up initiatives. To achieve this, the association aims to enhance the integration of entrepreneurial learning in school and university curricula. 


Source & Image: � German Startups Association




TinkerBots is a toy building set with easy-to-add robotics that make it possible for young children and adults to create an endless number of toy robots simply by snapping together TinkerBots' patented "Power Brain," kinetic modules, passive pieces, and even LEGO bricks. No wiring or programming is required; TinkerBots is like "living LEGOs." Children can build anything they can imagine, such as a dog that walks, a snake that slithers, a bug that crawls, or a tractor that digs. 


The centerpiece of the TinkerBots building set is a square, red "Power Brain" module that contains an Arduino-compatible microcontroller, Bluetooth, USB port, lithium polymer batteries, and Gyro sensor. The "Power Brain" provides data and wireless power transmission to the kinetic modules. 


Controlling TinkerBots robots is just as easy as it is to build them. An integrated record-and-play function on the "Power Brain" module enables children to teach their robots movements to bring them to life. They can do so by taking their creation into their own hands, pressing the record button, and moving the robot the way they want it to move. When children put the robot down and push the play button, the toy will repeat exactly what it just learned and will keep moving until it is turned off. The robots can also be remote-controlled using a tablet or smart phone with the TinkerBots app. 


During its development by Kinematics GmbH, a technology and toy company based in Brandenburg, Germany, TinkerBots earned more than 20 awards from European design, education, and technology organizations. In March 2014, the world's largest computer expo CeBIT awarded TinkerBots the CeBIT Innovation Award 2014.


Source & Image: � Kinematics GmbH




Source: Anna Siegel & Hollie Haggans, NYC Geekettes' Ambassadors


The Geekettes, a global organization for aspiring and current female technology innovators, was founded by Jess Erickson, who is originally from the United States, and Denise Philipp, who is from Germany, after their experiences in the start-up scene brought them together. They were drawn by a shared concern for the underrepresentation of women in tech-related roles and were looking for a way to address this issue. Thanks to Germany's progressive culture with a commitment to gender equality and a bourgeoning tech scene, Jess and Denise achieved immediate success with the group. They were quickly inundated with requests from international journalists, sponsors, speakers, and most importantly, other women in tech, i.e. Geekettes! 

The co-founders realized early on that there was a growing desire among female thinkers, engineers, and designers for more activity and discussion. By providing a grassroots structure to share wisdom and experience, the Geekettes brought tremendous value to women in Berlin's tech scene. In addition to hosting workshops, talks, and one-of-a-kind hackathons, the Berlin Geekettes also offers a five-month-long mentorship program with Google, which pairs ambitious tech professionals and entrepreneurs with experienced role models.


The Geekettes network now spans seven cities worldwide; its New York City branch launched just last month. The NYC Geekettes aims to mirror the mission and success of the Berlin Geekettes; however, it wants to do so in a way that can impact and collaborate with pre-existing organizations in New York City's extremely involved networking and events community. The Geekettes believes that the more women get involved with tech design, development, and leadership, the more successful and diverse companies and products will be in the future. 


Image: � Berlin Geekettes UG 


The German Silicon Valley Accelerator's (GSVA's) vision is to establish a bridge between Germany and Silicon Valley that facilitates transatlantic start-ups, provides inspiration, supports R&D, and fosters innovation. 


In 2012, ParStream, Inc., now a GSVA alumnus, received support from the organization to help the company evolve from one that operated primarily out of Germany into a business that is globally competitive. By offering ParStream mentorship designed to stimulate its entrepreneurial growth and development, the GSVA helped ensure that the start-up was on a trajectory to international success, especially in Silicon Valley, a region where technology and innovation thrive. 


ParStream's real-time database for Big Data analytics enables businesses to derive actionable intelligence from massive amounts of historic and newly imported data, allowing them to run queries with sub-second response times. ParStream helps these companies leverage the most up-to-date information to evolve business processes and support real-time decision-making. Unique to ParStream is a patented High Performance Compressed Index (HPCI), a bitmapping structure that allows data to be analyzed in its compressed state. This enables users to analyze data at its source while obviating the decompression stage and maximizing cost savings. As a market-agnostic platform, ParStream features customers from all industry verticals, including CAKE in marketing, Searchmetrics in SEO, bd4travel in tourism, MPREIS in retail, and INRA in science.


In the few years that ParStream has been in operation, the company has already received numerous accolades from market and industry leaders. Recognized as a pioneering, innovative, and revolutionary  company, ParStream not only was acknowledged as a "Cool Vendor" in Gartner, Inc.'s 2012 Advancing Data Management Maturity report, but was also named "#1 Big Data Startup" by, included in the Database Trends and Applications' "Trend-setting Products in Data for 2014" list, and crowned a 2014 "Tech Trailblazer in Big Data Analytics."  


Source & Image: � ParStream, Inc. & German Silicon Valley Accelerator (GSVA)


article6Interview with Prof. Dr. Tobias Kollmann - Germany's E-Entrepreneurship Expert

Prof. Dr. Tobias Kollmann, Chair of E-Business and E-Entrepreneurship at the University of Duisburg-Essen, is a well-respected researcher and consultant in Germany on e-commerce and the Internet start-up scene.


In his interview with GCRI, Prof. Dr. Kollmann discusses the future of e-entrepreneurship, the possibilities and limitations of today's digital economy, and the most common types of mistakes that start-ups make in e-business and online marketing. He also shares his strategies for angel investing. To read the full interview, click here.


As co-founder of AutoScout24, a popular electronic marketplace for new and used cars, Prof. Dr. Kollmann was a pioneer in the European Internet start-up scene. He has contributed many articles on e-entrepreneurship, e-business, and new media marketing to national and international journals as well as to various anthologies. He is author of several books in these fields and also writes a regular column on entrepreneurship in Over the past ten years as an angel investor, Prof. Dr. Kollmann has financed numerous start-ups in the new economy. In 2012, the Business Angels Network Deutschland e.V. voted him "Business Angel of the Year." 


In 2013, Dr. Philipp R�sler appointed him as a core member and Chairman of the newly created Advisory Board of the "Young Digital Economy" for Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). In 2014, he was also appointed Commissioner of North Rhine-Westphalia's Digital Economy. Prof. Dr. Kollmann is Managing Director of netSTART Venture GmbH in Cologne, a program offering advice, support, development, programming, and research for companies and start-ups aiming to become active in today's new economy.


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