On 7 September 2018, the Startupnight took place for the sixth time at the Hauptstadtrepräsentanz Berlin, the capital's representative office. As one of the largest startup events in Europe, more than 250 international startups presented their ideas and products to 5,000 visitors.
This year's program was again varied: in addition to the stage program, workshops for founders and panel discussions, the start-ups were able to exhibit their products, innovations and business ideas at four different locations and make valuable contacts in this context. In addition to the premises of Telekom, Microsoft and Volkswagen, Commerzbank at the Brandenburg Gate was the fourth location to be part of the Startupnight for the first time this year.
At the opening of the evening, managing director of Telekom Deutschland Dirk Wössner explained what companies can learn from the start-ups. Above all, they need support programs for start-ups so that their ideas can be successfully integrated. Telekom relies on the creativity and commitment of the founders to find joint solutions for future challenges on the market. He also sees another advantage in working with start-ups: "Employees, but also managers, can learn from the young companies to be open to new ideas and innovation.” He finds the capital's representative office to be the right place for a start-up trade fair: "The first telegraph office was in this historic building. It was here that innovation began, and now we bring it back."
Dorothee Bär, Minister of State for Digitization, also pointed out that the technologies and start-ups bring added value to society. In cooperation, large corporations, German SMEs and start-ups can contribute to Germany becoming a world champion in start-up culture. She wants the audience to know one more thing: "We want politics to be the partners of the start-ups. We are your friends and want you to be successful!
Takeshi Yagi, Japan's ambassador to Germany, also explained that Japan wants to create society 5.0 by collaborating with startups. New models of life and work that support social transformation and demographic and economic change are of particular interest here. To this end, Japan is primarily promoting start-ups in the areas of deep tech, platform economics as well as start-ups that offer solutions for sustainable ecological developments. The partnership with Japan was organized by Jetro, a non-profit organization of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, to support companies expanding into Japan.
Other Startupnight partners included Berlin Partner, Volkswagen, E.ON, Investitionsbank Berlin, Commerzbank, Alibaba Cloud, Technology Review. In addition, there were various pitch sessions on the main stage in Telekom's representative office in the capital, during which the young founders had to convince the audience of their business idea within a short time. In order not to lose the overview, guided tours on topics such as mobility or energy were offered to the visitors. Startups from the areas of artificial intelligence, blockchain, Internet of Things, virtual reality and Fintech also presented themselves to the audience and venture capitalists.
The Startupnight is an initiative of Deutsche Telekom's Telekom Open Space as a place for co-innovation, co-creation and intrapreneurship. Founder Cem Ergün-Müller sees the established startup fair in a state of flux. "The Startupnight is increasingly becoming a development platform for start-ups. We bring them together with the corporations and VCs, so that the next Unicorns say 'we met at the Startupnight'".