At TechFounders we are very passionate about technology startups and thus our high-tech accelerator was born! We believe that technology startups are different and require their own unique program for proper development and success.
Our accelerator focuses on startups in the automotive field, robotics, automation, financial services, clean-tech, software, telecommunications, electronics, big data, insurance, industry 4.0, mobility, wind power and related industries. TechFounders has a strong network and resources at the disposal of your team. This includes mentors, faculty advisors, industry partners, and venture capitalists. We are extremely proud of our fellowship of founders and associates focused on developing great technology.
The definition of a Tech Startup is determined by the service or product offered. We welcome all business models (e.g. Freemium, SaaS, License, etc.) if they are operating in the fields we search for (see above, “What is the TechFounders Accelerator”).
Our Spring batch commences on the 16th of January, 2017 in our lovely workspace in Garching (by Munich). Every startup has unlimited access to the high-tech prototyping center MakerSpace, which houses 3D printers, laser cutters, water jet machines, wood cutting and much more. Throughout the program there will be many workshop sessions, networking events, intensive customer and industry partner meetings determined by your own interests.
The application deadline for our Summer batch is the 1st of May. Keep in mind, the earlier you apply the greater chance you will be accepted.
Early stage and seed companies who have yet to perform an initial round of investment funding may apply. As a guide, if you have yet to raise € 2M you may qualify. Generally, we are looking for “late” early stage companies that are looking to do a pilot of PoC with one of our Industry Partners.
Your team is the most important element. We look at the founders to see if they exhibit traits that we believe are vital for startup success; such as tenacity, strong technical know-how, good judgment, the ability to clearly explain complicated matters, great product sense and a clear passion for their business.
We prefer teams of two to three people as well as a harmonized group representing both the business and technical aspects of the company – although these are not strict rules in any way. We have found that the most effective founders are able to truly sell their vision and possess adequate foresight for future steps.
If the company is involved in direct sales, we look for vital, strong sales-centric business leaders. Alternatively, if the company is involved in online sales, we look for business founders with a natural ability in acquiring customers, conversion, retention and design. In essence, we look for businesses that talented people would be excited to join.
Previous enterprise experience is certainly not necessary although always a plus. Aside from your team we also consider market significance. We focus on markets that are large enough to catch the eye of top venture funds. Stellar teams without a clear market focus still have the possibility to be admitted.
If your application is advanced to the next round you will receive notice shortly before the next interview date. All promising applications will be invited to speak with our venture development team. After this meeting you will be notified if you are being offered a place in the accelerator along with the terms of acceptance. You will be asked to respond very quickly (24 hours) if you accept the position, as others will also be waiting for placement. Please understand that we receive many applications and wish to evaluate each properly, so we ask for your patience during the application period (Hint: please resist the urge to email us about your application status, we will contact you).
The BMW Group, Bosch, Festo, HypoVereinsbank, Munich Re and Siemens are our Industry Partners that back the accelerator. These partners were specifically chosen because of their strong belief in the vision of our program. TechFounders values their feedback and their guidance. It is because of our partnership that we do not take equity. Although you will be sharing the project with an industry partner, they have no specific rights to your business, meaning that you are not obligated to them in any way. That being said, they are extremely interested in your business and products and will likely become your very first customer.
TechFounders was founded in November, 2014. We have a very strong track record of startups that have participated in our other formats offered by UnternehmerTUM, the center for innovation and business creation at Technische Universität München. In total, we support more than 40 startups each and every year. You can learn more about our alumni as well as well as their accomplishments to get a better idea of our history.
Yes, and preferably already in execution. You must be prepared to work on a project together with one of the Industry Partners. If you are a younger stage company, we suggest looking into programs with UnternehmerTUM and related programs close by.
Yes, but frankly finding a team is half the battle. Find yourself a strong team and execute!
The following are some of the key points of the accelerator:
- Each team receives an initial investment of €25K (net).
- You will be provided with office space at UnternehmerTUM in Munich, Garching. You will have 24/7 access to your own personal office area
- Most elements of the program are mandatory. Your business will benefit the most by full-time commitment.
- Meetings with several entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and other experts are arranged. This includes people who are interested in helping you build your business and core focus on customers acquisition as well as venture capitalists who will provide business/product advice.
- There will be pitch training and practice rounds throughout the program.
- There is a Demo Day (and fantastic after party) at the end of the program where you will have the opportunity to pitch to the top funding sources. There will also be guest lectures, mentor meetings and other networking opportunities during the program.
Our industry partners are always on the lookout for new and innovative concepts and startups. Startups are often more agile than established companies. Through TechFounders, partner companies have the opportunity to get to know your startup in an early phase.
Nothing! Pretty cool, right? TechFounders takes no fees and zero equity. Our Industry Partners finance the program.
Absolutely! We are very keen on accepting founders from all over the globe and many of our alumni are from elsewhere. We do however require members (but not all of them) of the team to be physically present at TechFounders during the program. As an international founder you are a part of Germany’s rich history of foreign-born entrepreneurs, a trend we wish to continue. We encourage you to apply!
You will be provided with a letter of endorsement from TechFounders which can be used as part of your visa application process. Of course your own specific visa situation will be determined by your own country and personal information. We will do everything we can to assist you with this process.