Digital Hub Bonn Summer Slam 2018: Start-ups compete in the "Pitch"

Bonn · Cleaning sportswear and sports shoes with UV light instead of soap and water? This idea won special prize at the second year of the Digitial Hub Bonn Summer Slam. More than 1,000 guests attended to see what new start-up ideas were on offer and receive sage advice from seasoned company founders.

Crisis. Company founders should always be prepared for crisis. On Tuesday, this was the advice Alexander von Frankenberg gave to more than 1,000 guests at the Summer Slam, organized by the Digital Hub Bonn for the second time. Von Frankenberg is the head of the Hightech startup fund, and for 13 years he has been advising start-ups on building up their businesses, finding investors and the "exit", as the sale is called. "We have already successfully sold nearly 100 companies; we have made nearly 100 company founders millionaires," said von Frankenberg. The rule is: "Failure is part of it, and it comes quicker than the big successes."

There were 1,900 registrations for the Summer Slam 2018, which was twice as many as last year. The Digital Hub hosted a casual meeting last year for company founders, investors and residents of Bonn. Mayor Ashok Sridharan was "completely overwhelmed" by the huge crowd of attendees. Between food trucks, stages and beverage stalls, 55 start-ups presented themselves to the visitors under gloriously sunny skies. Half of the start-ups were from Bonn, and the rest from NRW, other parts of Germany and some even from the USA.

Christian Herrmann was at the last Summer Slam as a mere visitor. But this year, he qualified for the "Pitch" with his start-up Spotilike. The “Pitch” is a competition in which six young companies present themselves to the public, and the prize for the winner is 5,000 euros donated by online insurer Nexible. Spotilike offers its customers, retail and hospitality industries, a digital platform for their advertising, which is then played on Facebook and Instagram. "It can be done in a few clicks and is much easier than having to take care of it yourself," said Herrmann.

Nicolai Kranz mocked that with his gray hair he was visibly the oldest of the company founders supported by the Digital Hub: Kranz is 53, the youngest is 17, he said. Kranz's start-up is called Gigwork. Jobseekers can apply for a job on the platform; it is already a huge market in the United Kingdom and the United States. "It's not about dubious employment, not even temporary work," said Kranz, who participated in the 2017 “Pitch” but didn’t win.

Realnote was the winner on Tuesday, receiving a 5,000-euro prize. Realnote technology is an Augmented Reality App which allows the user to post messages, graphics and selfies on their smartphones from cool locations. Other users can then see your notes and comment on them. A special prize went to Refresherboxx by Hygenator, which rids sportswear and shoes of bacteria and fungus using UV light instead of soap and water.

All new company founders are hoping for success, but apart from ideas and money, they need role models. One example is Bonn investor Frank Thielen, who founded several companies but described how he initially failed very badly. He confessed to the spellbound audience that he was once a million euros in the red and it took years to dig himself out but he did it. The advice of the multi-millionair: “Never go below zero.”

Orig. text: Ulla Theide
Translation: ck

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