CITEC Doctoral Researchers Win Technology Prize for Business Idea

Robotics, the Internet of Things, and intelligent systems: some 50 participants to the first “Start-Up Hackdays Weekend” delved into these high-tech topics at the Cluster of Excellence CITEC from 3–4 February 2017. Joint organizer for this event was the non-profit Founders Foundation, which is funded by the Bertelsmann Foundation. CITEC researchers received the technology prize at Hackdays for their start-up concept.

During Hackdays, CITEC doctoral researchers Florian Lier and Dr. Christian Leichsenring worked together with economist Kai Jurgis on the concept for “Cloud” This new system is designed to enable users in the future to operate robots using the smart home speaker “Amazon Echo.” As winner of the technology prize, the team received work spaces in a co-working office, guidance from mentors, and support in online marketing.

The “Best Business Idea” prize went to the “ImmoRadar” project. CITEC alumnus Dr. Jonathan Maycock is a member of the developer team. Additional members of the ImmoRadar team include Fin Schönefeldt, Sergio Martin Pereira, Sayander Paul, Florian Paneff and Tobias Pfaff.

Caption: 50 participants attended the first „Start-up Hackdays Weekend“ at CITEC. Photo: Founders FoundationVotes were cast for the People’s Choice award during the second evening of Hackdays. The prize was awarded to the start-up concept “LaserCat,” which was conceptualized by  Wilhelm Klat, Orhan Ölmez, Dennis Witte, Sebastian Hammerl and Johannes Frey.

The winners for the “Best Business Idea” and “People’s Choice” prizes can also use the Founder’s Foundation coworking spaces, obtain guidance from mentors, and have their innovations marketed online.

The goal of Hackdays was to introduce promising ideas for a high-tech start-up company, further develop these ideas as needed, taking into consideration the interest of potential customers, and come up with a draft of a prototype or presentation within 24 hours. Before getting down to work, participants were taken on a tour of CITEC, where they met robots and viewed applications in artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

Invitees to the “Start-up Hackdays Weekend” included computer programmers, hardware inventors, businesspeople, start-up fans, marketing experts, and designers. Away from the demands of the day-to-day, this workshop was meant to bring participants a few steps closer to founding a company, and provide an opportunity to network with one another. Experienced mentors in the start-up world accompanied and advised the teams.

On the second evening, participants pitched the drafts of their start-up concepts to an interested audience, who voted on the best ideas. Prizes included work spaces in a co-working office, mentor guidance, and support in online marketing.

Further Information:
Workshop prompts founding of technology companies (in German):

Founders Foundation:

Video on Startup Hackdays: