Frequently asked questions

Answers for startups

How can I participate?

Participants apply as an individual or as a team to work on a challenge. Simply hit the apply button on the challenge website and leave your contact details with us. We will contact you about next steps

How many people can participate in one team?

The number of team members is roughly limited to 5 per team. For the demo session we recommend only having 1-2 members present your concept to the challenge partner.

Virtual or onsite?

The sprints are hybrid events. Completely virtual participation is always possible with the kickoff usually taking place as a virtual event anyway and the option to hold demo sessions as a video conference as well. At the trade shows, however, we have our physical finals where onsite participation is recommended to be able to present your concept as one of the best ones on the big stage.

Is the registration for free?

There is no registration fee. Participation for startups, teams and founders-to-be is free and includes a ticket to the entire trade show.

Will I get a certification after my participation?

Yes, participation in the individual events can be certified.

How are the prizes paid out?

The main prize is a follow-up order. The winning team should receive a follow-up order from the challenge partner as a first step toward a lasting business relationship. If this does not happen, the winning team will receive a cash prize of €5,000 for each challenge won.

What about the teams that do not win?

Per challenge only one team can win the follow-up order by the challenge partner. We usually have about 10 participants per challenge though. But no worries, all participants benefit greatly from the challenge: The trade fair offers unique networking opportunities and the chance to present your business to a large audience. You still get in close contact with the challenge partner for potential future engagements. The external feedback and new perspectives can help improve your product and you’ll be part of the community: Know about future challenges first.

What do I have to deliver?

Once you have been selected as a participant, the work begins with the virtual kickoff. Here you will receive all the information for the next 2 weeks. Within these 14 days, you need to present a resource overview of your idea, meaning an economic analysis of the cost, opportunities, partners, etc involved in your concept. This is just a formal requirement. For the demo session, you are then invited to design your own company presentation and prototype demonstration to convince the jury in your individual exchange. In case you are among the best 3 teams per challenge, it is handy to have a two minute pitch prepared for the award ceremony.

Answers for companies

How can I participate?

Get in touch with us via the contact form and we’ll set up a meeting with you to discuss your options for posing a challenge. To prepare, maybe think about potential technological hurdles that need solving to boost productivity in your company. You can get some inspiration from our past events.

Who should be in the jury?

The juries are usually made up of around 3 people. One representative should be a technical expert from the team implementing the solution, while representatives from the innovation department are also normally part of the jury. Members do not have to speak German, English is also sufficient.

Virtual or onsite?

For the challenge partners, most of the participation happens onsite. The preparatory meetings are up to you, in person or virtual, while the kickoff and virtual demo sessions will only happen online. For the duration of the fair with onsite demo sessions, pitches and award ceremony we would require representatives of the challenge partner to be on the trade fair as well. You can look at our process to see the order and mode of all steps.

What is the fee for a challenge?

The fee for a challenge depends on several factors such as the challenge complexity and scope as well as the number of challenge partners involved. We are happy to give you an individual estimate for the trade fair that is interesting for you in a video call; simply get in touch via our contact form.

What do we get from when we pose a challenge?

Our services for challenge partners range broadly from marketing all the way to participant scouting. To give you some examples, we take over the entire communication with the trade fair regarding the event organisation and stall setup as well as stage availability. We also include a vast marketing package online on our website as well as social media channels and offline. The biggest of all is the full organisation of the participant scouting. We use our huge network, built over years, to reach thousands of startups, academics, young talents and founders-to-be on an international basis, using messaging, email campaigns, direct approaches and partners as multipliers to find the right teams for your challenge.

What's with the follow up order-prize?

The main prize is usually a follow-up order. The winning team should receive a follow-up order from the challenge partner as a first step towards a lasting business relationship. This includes a roughly three month working relationship to turn the presented idea into a real product or service and applies if there is a suitable solution presented as part of the innovation competition.

Alternatively on special occasions, scholarships for the implementation can be awarded. Of course, if there is no solution meeting all criteria, none of the teams has to become a service provider, but the intention should clearly exist.

What is the timeline for a challenge?

We usually start preparing a few months before the trade fair. Communication can take a while and we want to make sure everything is ready on time. In workshops we define the challenge to fit all requirements. About 2 months before the fair we then start publishing the details and begin scouting and prequalifying participants. We like to include challenge partners in the communication to increase the reach. About 2 weeks before the fair all the challenge details, test data, jury information, etc will be given to the teams in the virtual kickoff, with a potential Q&A session following a few days after. In the remaining time until the fair, one jury member should be available for questions on slack.

Directly before the fair, the virtual demo sessions will take place, with the onsite ones happening on a dedicated day on the trade show. The award ceremony with final pitches will usually happen in the afternoon of the same day. Afterwards, a feedback call and the scoping workshop with the winner are scheduled. Of course there will be regular updates and meetings to make sure everyone is up to date the entire time.

How flexible is the timeline?

Our process is very optimised and we can work very efficiently. Still we like to take the time to do things properly. Around two months before a fair we can still accept new challenge partners. All in all, the dates given are usually orientation from our side and we have certain flexibility when it comes to the days of kickoff, demo session and award ceremony. We will of course work with you and see how we can find a suitable solution for all parties involved.

Does a challenge always happen with a trade fair?

Certainly not! We can also organise a challenge for your company specific event or industry organisation. In the past, we have implemented speed hackathons, own company innovation competitions and many more: Our process is highly adaptable. Simply contact us with your idea and our experts will discuss options with you.

I'd like to work with startups, but have no time and no resources.

That’s exactly where comes into play: We cover all the nasty organisation part and accompany you all the way. We set up the process, we find all the contacts, we take all the time-intensive work from you and show you a clear strategy to successfully gain from the expertise of talented startups.

Is your process procurement-compliant?

Yes, our process is. We always speak to the procurement department as one of our first steps in a collaboration to ensure we even meet all of the company-specific criteria. From experience, we always got positive feedback about the steps of our process and would be happy to explain it to your company experts as well. Simply get in touch.

Antworten für öffentliche Organisationen

Wie kann ich teilnehmen?

Kontaktieren Sie uns über unser Kontaktformular, damit wir in einem Videocall Ihre Optionen zum Stellen einer Challenge besprechen können. Wir bieten viele verschiedene Umsetzungen, Zeitverläufe und Themengebiete an und informieren transparent über Ihre Möglichkeiten.

Zur Vorbereitung können Sie intern bereits überlegen welche technologischen Hürden oder Innovationsinitativen es bei Ihnen geben könnte. Einblicke in vergangene Initiativen, auch mit Repräsentanten öffentlicher Seite, gibt es bei unseren vergangenen Veranstaltungen.

Inwiefern seid ihr eine Venture Clienting Unit (VCU)? funktioniert wie eine Venture Clienting Unit (VCU) nach Bedarf. Dabei können Sie, je nach aktuellen Anforderungen, via uns passende Startups finden und engagieren, die Ihre Herausforderungen individuell lösen. Dabei nutzen wir unseren erprobten Prozess und bestehendes Netzwerk, um effizient die passenden Lösungen für Sie zu finden, als ob die VCU Ihrem Unternehmen direkt angehörig wäre. Sie können dann das aus dem Wettbewerb passendste Startup auswählen und temporär beauftragen, anstatt die Expertise intern haben zu müssen.

Welche Leistungen bietet, wenn wir eine Challenge stellen?

Unser Service für Challengepartner ist breit gefächert, vom Marketing bis hin zum Teilnehmer Scouting. So übernehmen wir beispielsweise diee gesamte Kommunikation mit der Messe bezügloich Eventorganisation und Standbau ebenso wie Bühnenverfügbarkeit. Zudem ist ein umfangreiches Marketingpaket, sowohl online im Voraus und nach einer Messe, sowie offline während des Events für unsere Challengepartner dabei, um nur ein paar Beispiele zu nennen.

Der größte Punkt ist allerdings die Prozessorganisation hinsichtlich der teilnehmenden Teams und Startups. Wir nutzen unser enormes Netzwerk um Tausende Startups, Studenten, Talende und Beinahe-Gründer auf internationaler Basis zu erreichen. Wir nutzen direkte Ansprache, Emailkampagnen und Partner wie Gründungszentren oder Inkubatoren als Multiplikatoren, um die richtigen Teilnehmer für Ihre Challenge zu finden.

Wie flexibel ist der zeitliche Ablauf?

Wir haben unseren Prozess im Laufe der bisherigen Challenges optimiert und können die einzelnen Schritte sehr effizient bearbeiten. Totzdem nehmen wir uns gerne die Zeit den Ablauf ordentlich und mit hoher Qualität des Service abzuwickeln. Daher können wir bis etwa zwei Monate vor einer Messe noch neue Challenges annehmen, wenn die Rahmenbedingungen geklärt sind. Zudem können wir unseren Prozess natürlich auch außerhalb einer Messe mit gleichem Erfolg durchführen.

Die Daten, die wir angeben, dienen fast immer der Orientierung und wir passen gerhe, wo möglich, den zeitlichen Ablauf an Ihr Unternehmen an.

Ist der Prozess vergaberechtskonform?

Wenn wir mit öffentlichen Organisationen zusammenarbeiten, holen wir immer unseren Partner KOINNO, das Kompetenzzentrum für innovative Beschaffung des Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz, mit dazu. Für öffentliche Institutionen kostenlos begleiten die Experten von KOINNO den Prozess und beraten wie innovative Beschaffung dennoch vergaberechtskonform funktionieren kann.

So haben wir bereits mit öffentlichen Organisationen zusammengearbeitet. Sicherlich bedarf es in jedem Einzelfall einer erneuten Überpüfung der Kriterien, aber insgesamt lässt sich die Frage sicherlich positiv beantworten.