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Prizes for the best business models

The Startinsland Business Plan Competition has awarded a total of 22,000 euros to nine start-up projects

Freiburg, Dec 06, 2017

Prizes for the best business models

Photo: Sandra Meyndt

Avoiding injections as a means of administering medications, recognizing people and objects in videos: these concepts won the HEIDELTEC and DeepVA start-up projects first place in each of the two main categories in the Startinsland Business Plan Competition 2017. A jury of representatives from research, industry and the financial sector awarded prizes in two categories: innovations from science and universities as well as from business and wider society all won awards. There were also two special prizes – “Green Economy” for sustainable business concepts with ecological or social value creation, and “Digital Future” for trends in the fields of digital networking, the Internet/media and automation. The first prizes in the main categories are each endowed with 5,000 euros, while the second prizes bring 2,500 euros with them. The special prizes are each endowed with 2,000 euros for the first prize and 1,000 euros for the second. There was also a prize for the best pitch at the “Startinsland Elevator Pitch” event, voted for by the public. This comes with a cash prize of 1,000 euros.

HEIDELTEC won the first main prize in the category “Innovations from science and universities” for its technology which enables the oral administration of peptide or protein-based medications, instead of as previously by injection. These substances are needed for the treatment of diabetes, cancer and various autoimmune diseases. However they either degrade rapidly in the stomach or cannot be absorbed in the intestine. HEIDELTEC has developed a technology that securely encases the active substance, transports it through the stomach and guarantees absorption into the blood in the intestine. Second prize in this category goes to AUCTEQ, whose bioreactor to cultivate cell cultures can expand with the growth of the cells. This simplifies cultivation and reduces the risk of contamination.

DeepVA won the first main prize in the category “Innovations from business and wider society”. Its intelligent software system draws on Deep Learning principles to automatically recognize people, trademarks, texts, colors and many other objects in videos. This enables video archives to be categorized by several criteria and then systematically searched. Its target group is the media industry, but potential users include everyone who has a video and picture archive. NatureTex was awarded the second prize in this category: Developed from observations of nature, its cleaning cloth makes it possible to use the natural self-cleaning ability of plants in daily life. The material consists of natural wood cellulose and is capable of reducing the surface tension of water by up to 40 per cent, which enables cleaning using nothing but tap water.

Thriving Green took first place in the “Green Economy” special prize with the project of sustainably producing the micro-algae spirulina for use as a healthy foodstuff in regions where people suffer from hunger. A pilot system has been in operation in Kenya since April 2017. Second place was taken by MyHeartBeat with an app that supports patients with heart disease: it records parameters such as blood pressure and heart rate, interprets them and warns if there are critical changes. It can also give reminders for a variety of things including administering medications, renewing prescriptions and maintaining a healthy way of life.

In the “Digital Future” special prize DeepVA once again took first place. Immergency followed in second place with its approach to developing virtual reality for training in emergency management. The aim is to give training in a simulated environment in how to triage patients with different degrees of injuries from large-scale emergencies, such as natural catastrophes or terror attacks.

The prize voted for by the public at the “Startinsland Elevator Pitch” went to Smart Faraday for an intelligent, energy self-sufficient bicycle pedal that records data such as pedaling force, speed, cumulative elevation gain and position, and automatically uploads the data to the Internet so that users can access it in real time via a website or smartphone.

This was the third time that the Startinsland Business Plan Competition has taken place. The University of Freiburg, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE), the Offenburg University of Applied Sciences and the Südlicher Oberrhein Chamber of Commerce (IHK) cooperated on its organization. There are two stages to the competition, beginning in spring with a concept phase and culminating in the awards for the best business plans. The Founders’ Office of the University of Freiburg provided support for the competition with events and training programs. The competition will next take place in 2019.

Website for the Business Plan Competition

Niko Bausch
Founders’ Office
University of Freiburg
Tel.: +49 761 203-67792