Review - Start.up! Germany Tour Munich 2019


Moustafa Moussa (Tour Participant, Startup, Saudi Arabia):
'Honestly Chris, Gaby and Lucas showed us exactly why Germany is the country of quality and efficiency. I was part of the Startup Germany tour and every effort they made was to make our experience a top notch.'

Participation Review

Jörg Uehlin (Tour Participant, GIZ):
'IHK Munich organised a tremendous Start.up! Germany Tour for an international start-up delegation to Munich and the Bits& Pretzels. The success of this start-up mission was thanks to the IHK Munich's start-up unit dedication and networks.'

Amal Almohanna, Zahra Almohanna (Tour Participants, Startup, Saudi Arabia):
'I was part of the Startup Germany Tour MUC. It was definitely an excellent experience. (...) We were able to make connections and find opportunities. All in all an amazing experience, much appreciated and grateful to everyone who made it possible. Thank you IHK team.'

Samuel Opoku (Tour Participant, AHK Ghana):
'Christian, Gaby and Lucas did an amazing job in putting together a wonderful experience for me and my team from Ghana in Munich. They are the best!'

"It's great here"

The IHK for Munich and Upper Bavaria invites 20 start-ups from 11 countries to Munich and "Bits & Pretzels".

He's only got three minutes. Adebowale Odulana, doctor and business founder from Nigeria, stands on "Stage 2" of the start-up festival "Bits & Pretzels". He's got three minutes to introduce his start-up, Doctoora. 180 seconds in which every sentence and every explanation must count. Three jury members and about 50 audience members are waiting. The digital clock is set to 3:00.

Start signal. The clock begins its countdown. Physician Odulana mutates on stage to become what musicians half mockingly, half enviously call a "Rampensau" - someone who loves performing. The man from Nigeria does everything right. He seeks eye contact, speaks passionately, fills the stage with his presence. His presentation is more than a business model, it's a promise.

Doctoora seeks to improve medical care in Africa. The problem: in Nigeria and other African countries there are only a few large clinics - and they are in the cities. Out in the countryside, sick people are not treated or they die because the nearest doctor is too far away to reach.

Odulana's online platform is intended to change that. Doctors, patients and clinics will use it for networking. The idea: if people can't make it to the doctor, medical care must come to the people. One example of how digitisation is changing the world for the better.

While Adebowale Odulana tries to win over his audience, he clicks over onto a screen full of illegible symbols. The worst case scenario, but the man stays cool. "You see: an error. We have that in Africa all the time." Laughter, even the jury grins. Odulana creates a great atmosphere. He gets a big hand.

© IHK für München und Oberbayern

Gabriele Vetter is one of his fans. "A fantastic entertainer", raves Vetter. At the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria, Vetter is usually a specialist in foreign trade for markets outside the EU. Late this summer she was also part of an exciting start-up project: together with Christian Neugebauer, a member of her foreign trade team, she organised the one-week Start.up! Germany Tour to Munich. They were supported by interns Lucas Wiegand and Jacline Henkel.

The DIHK, the AHKs and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) as part of their digital initiative "Make-IT in Africa", were partners in the week-long Start.up! Germany Tour.

The tour included 20 start-ups from 11 countries and 12 start-up specialists from the AHKs. The tour visited Munich from 25 September to 2 October. The 20 start-ups came from two sectors that are of particular interest for Bavaria's economy. The business models represented on the tour revolved around the Internet of Things (loT) and the health economy.

"The aim of our tour is clear: to make these start-ups visible, create contacts, arouse the interest of medium-sized companies and investors", explains IHK specialist Vetter. "These business ideas are at the forefront of development. Anyone choosing to work with our tour members also gets the chance to gain a foothold in their home countries," emphasises Vetter.

The business founders from countries such as Nigeria, Finland, China and Saudi Arabia received in-depth insight into the "Bavarian ecosystem" - with visits to the Gate Garching and Werk 1.

The IoT start-ups attended the networking event "Start-ups meet Corporates (loT)" at Munich's IHK Academy. The second group, from the healthcare sector, took part in the 18th European Health Congress at the Hilton Hotel in Munich.

Christian Neugebauer, co-organiser of the Start.up! Germany Tour and member of the IHK Start-up Unit also sees added value for the IHK member companies. "Many medium-sized companies have to digitise their business in order to maintain their leading position on the world market. They are therefore looking for cooperations with start-ups that are at the cutting edge of technology. The Start.up! Germany Tour events in Munich were a good opportunity to get in touch with IoT and Healthcare start-ups from all over the world in a relaxed atmosphere."

© IHK für München und Oberbayern

The highlight was the participation in the StartUp - Festival Bits & Pretzels. The jury had selected 4 start-ups from the tour for the business founder pitch event.

Just the opening ceremony at the Munich Trade Fair Centre was worth the flight to Munich. Standing ovations for former US President Barack Obama. Obama and the other speakers on stage set out the leitmotif of the festival: Impact. We can change the world.

Even before his pitch, Adebowale Odulana was in euphoric mood: "It's great here." It's remarkable how well the three other selected start-ups fit in with the leitmotif of sustainability.

  • Matti Viita, Finnish founder of Viimatech Digital, explained how his sensor-based loT application helps improve pump maintenance. According to him, it's a way to drastically reduce wear and tear and costs.
  • Business founder Seppo Salorinne, who also comes from Finland, has developed a solution that enables asthmatics to assess very precisely for themselves whether pharmaceutical help is sufficient - or whether an asthma attack is imminent.
  • Pritesh Hiralal, founder of Zinergy Shenzen, amazed the audience and jury with an ultra-thin and completely flexible battery that resembled a strip of fabric. The battery was still able to power an alarm clock even after Hiralal had cut off a piece of it with scissors. Possible areas of application: transportation of perishable foodstuffs. You can see at a glance whether packaged turkey schnitzel or fish fillets are sufficiently chilled. Zinergy batteries could make GPS tracking for valuable deliveries possible.

© IHK für München und Oberbayern

The jury was stunned. Pritesh Hiralal won the pitch event and made it to the next round.

For IHK expert Vetter, this was proof that the tour concept was a success. "The effort paid off. The tour has given our start-ups some important contacts. I am sure that international networking will also lead to business success," emphasises Vetter.


Author: Martin Armbruster, IHK für München und Oberbayern

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