Third Berlin Visit

Warm-up

The third Berlin Visit started with a casual get-together at the popular Monkey Bar @ Bikini Berlin, a rooftop bar with a beautiful view over the city and the Berlin Zoo. Enjoying some delicious drinks our finalist teams who had already arrived from Israel could get a first impression of the city’s nightlife.

Welcome Day

The Third Berlin Visit was hosted by Mindspace, a great new co-working space in the heart of Berlin. The first day started with a short tour: Anton, Community Manager at Mindspace, and his colleague showed us around in the stylish co-working environment explaining the Mindspace concept and the elaborate interior design of the location. After having some snacks and coffee we started our agenda with a warm welcome by Lisa followed by an introduction to the EXIST Program by Maiia Deutschmann, the representative of the PtJ (Projektträger Jülich). In this context, several questions regarding the milestones of the application process for EXIST Business Start-up Grant were discussed in detail.

Moreover, our participants obtained first-hand information about Berlin and the application process by two of our teams from the past rounds, Pin-2Pin and ONWRKS, who had already applied successfully for the EXIST Business Start-up Grant. Also the teams got to know the representatives of the partner universities as well as their key focus areas which formed the foundation for lively discussions during lunch.

Right after lunch, we started our tour of the Berlin Start-up Ecosystem visiting the innovation hubs DB Mindbox, G-Tec and HU Gründerhaus.

At DB Mindbox we were told about the role of the DB (Deutsche Bahn), the German railway system, and how the Mindbox incubator serves as an attempt of integrating up-to-date technologies of various fields in the DB system. DB Mindbox provides co-working spaces for start-ups, such as the former EXIST start-up Siuts, whose business idea turned out to be a very good fit for the DB concept.

Arriving at our 2nd stop, G-Tec, we were warmly welcomed by the G-Tec Director Darius in the magnificent State Council Building. After giving us a short impression of the building´s history, that used to serve as the official residence of the GDR State Council, he took us to the cozy co-working spaces on the back side of the building, showed us around and gave us an impression of the G-Tec concept. The following discussion was really fun and interesting, since we learned a lot about the differences between the German, US-American and Israeli investment culture.

The last incubator on our tour was the HU Gründerhaus where we had the chance to attend the “Berliner Gründl” event. While having drinks and snacks, the teams gained further insights into the Berlin investment culture and had the opportunity to meet local start-ups.

Our brains buzzing with new impressions we ended this exciting first day in the relaxing atmosphere of the Jolesch restaurant in Berlin Kreuzberg with a delicious Schnitzel and some lovely cakes for dessert.

Photography by Philipp Arnoldt Photography © CfE TU Berlin

Coaching Day

For our Coaching Day we invited three pitch coaches, Andre, Brittany and Konstanze who were looking forward to preparing the participants for their final pitch the next day. The individual coaching took place in separate working spaces; each team had two coaching slots of 1h each, one in the morning, and the other in the afternoon. During coaching sessions, the teams received valuable feedback on their presentation, content and business idea and could clarify last pending questions for their final pitch.

It was great to see that all participants were incredibly motivated and enthusiastic about the coaching. In the relaxed and focused atmosphere, also in between the coaching slots, our teams were very passionate about improving their pitches.

We rounded off this fruitful coaching day with some delicious pizza and beer in the evening. In this open coaching phase our coaches were still available for questions and further coaching requests.

At this point we would like to thank our fantastic coaches Andre, Brittany and Konstanze for their enthusiasm and support throughout the day and also Mindspace for providing us with this great location!

Photography by Philipp Arnoldt Photography © CfE TU Berlin

Decision Day

The live pitch competition took place at the research center of the PtJ (Projektträger Jülich) with representatives of the partner universities, of the PtJ and the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy. It was great to see how the teams had optimized their pitching skills during the previous coaching day, so that each team presented a powerful final pitch.

To conclude the three days of pitching, coaching and getting to know each other, we all met up for our closing party at the beautiful location of Schneeweiß restaurant in Berlin Friedrichshain. Since everybody was super excited about the decision of the jury, we started the evening with our award ceremony (including a special chocolate bear for each chosen team J). Altogether 6 teams were selected: Mobile X-ray, FUNSTER, Reach More, Sluggi, Paid it and WASER! Even though the non-selected team were also highly qualified, according to the jury’s evaluation they were either too advanced for the EXIST program or not yet at the right stage to get the most out of the EXIST grant.

After all, we enjoyed a delicious 3-course-meal in a pleasant atmosphere while reviewing the last days, networking, chatting and discussing plans for moving to Berlin. We would like to thank you all for those enjoyable days.

Photography by Philipp Arnoldt Photography © CfE TU Berlin

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