In his inspiring introduction, Prof. Dr. Helmut Schönenberger, Founder and Managing Director of UnternehmerTUM, presented the supportive ecosystem that founders can rely on in Munich.

Seeing challenges as opportunities. Helping to shape the future. What it takes to found a company, how the Munich ecosystem helps, and getting to know successful founders – all of this was experienced first-hand by around 100 participants at the first Startup Day on 17 April 2024. The successful event was organized at the Munich Urban Colab by e-conversion and TUM Venture Labs.

When entrepreneurial spirit and new technologies come together – which happens in Munich – it immensely improves the chances of success. Why? “Munich is a paradise for founders,” Prof. Dr. Helmut Schönenberger, founder and Managing Director of UnternehmerTUM, made clear in his welcoming speech. This motivating start marked the beginning of the first Startup Day, which e-conversion organized with TUM Venture Labs under the motto Powering the Future on 17 April 2024. After Schönenberger’s overview of what makes UnternehmerTUM Europe’s leading innovation and start-up center and how the Munich ecosystem supports young start-ups from the initial idea to the IPO, the approximately 100 participants immersed themselves in the world of biotech processes. In his keynote speech, Prof. Dr. Thomas Brück (Vice Dean of Research and Innovation of TUM School of Natural Science, Head of the Werner Siemens Chair of Synthetic Biotechnology at TUM) presented how examples of biotech processes can be developed.

How startups take flight: In an insightful panel discussion, experts like Christina Vogt-Sasse, VC Investor, MIG Capital (left) and Dr. Felicia Weber, Head of Global Innovation Excellence, Wacker AG, spoke about the questions startup founders have to ask themselves.

Impetus for the entrepreneurial spirit

This was followed by an insightful panel discussion on how entrepreneurship can help energy conversion research reach its full potential. The organizers of the event – Dr. Sabrina Rager (e-conversion) and Dr. Sarah Jessl (TUM Venture Labs) – had invited experts to share their expertise with the audience: Christina Vogt-Sasse (VC Investor, MIG Capital), Enrico Richter (Startup Consultant, TUM ForTe), Prof. Dr. Jennifer Rupp (Co-Founder Qkera, TUM Chair: Solid State Electrolytes), Dr. Felicia Weber (Head of Global Innovation Excellence, Wacker AG) and Dr. Fleming Bruckmaier (Co-Founder/CTO Quantum Diamonds) made it clear that while it is a great adventure to found a startup, no one has to walk this path alone. The discussion revealed how valuable a well-positioned team and the Munich ecosystem are for founders – and that “why questions”, talking to people and a positive mindset play a decisive role in many respects.

Broken glass brings good luck: After the prize broke due to a small accident, the five-person jury decided to choose not just one, but two winners for the startup pitches. The representative of Funding for Innovators and jury member Mauricio Fleischer (midth) congratulates Lisa Liu (Co-Founder and CEO, Qkera) and Amir Amin (Co-Founder, Serino) on 500 euros in prize money each – and two symbolic fragments.

Behind the scenes at a startup

Event participants could use the breaks to expand their network or take an exciting tour through the MakerSpace. The entrepreneurial spirit is visible in these workshops, especially because some successful start-ups have designed and produced prototypes here. After Dr. Thomas Hümmer (Qlibiri) and Dr. Ksenija Milicevic-Neumann (Tozero) took the audience on a vivid journey into their company foundation, the startup pitches were on the agenda: In speed presentations, the founders of spark e-fuels, Qkera, Neutron Star Systems, iNSyT and Serino presented their innovative ideas and products, which were then evaluated by a five-headed jury. In the end, two winners – Qkera and Serino – received an award and a sum of 500 euros (sponsored by Funding for Innovators – thank you very much!). After two short presentations about e-conversion and TUM Venture Labs, the successful startup event ended with dinner and drinks.

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Some impressions of this event: