FIRST NETWORK ACCELERATOR OF THE KI GARAGE
What is the AI Garage anyway?
The AI Garage is a programme of the Baden-Württemberg Foundation that is jointly implemented by partners in Heidelberg (Heidelberg Technology Park & Heidelberg University), Mannheim (Mannheim University) and Karlsruhe (KIT & KIT Innovation gGmbH). With the goal of building a sustainable AI ecosystem in Baden-Württemberg and promoting AI ideas entrepreneurially, the AI Garage aims to bridge the gap between first-class research and subsequent entrepreneurial activity in Baden-Württemberg in the long term. With AI-specific events, the team offers access to exciting future topics. Through funding programmes and coaching, teams are supported on their entrepreneurial path. The Network Accelerator is the first step!
From idea to implementation – the concept of the Accelerator Programme
When planning the Network Accelerator, the team quickly realised that early-stage start-up teams need support on different levels to be successful. Therefore, the Accelerator programme was deliberately divided into two topics: the “general” business part to develop the business model of the start-ups and the “specific” AI part to ensure the technical scalability of the ideas. Compared to many other programmes, both relevant topics for AI start-ups are thus deliberately dealt with intensively.
In addition, the aim was to ensure that the teams not only receive expert knowledge, but also individual support throughout the entire programme. The result was weekly workshops with external business and AI experts and a network of mentors and start-up coaches who support the start-up teams throughout the entire programme.
Startup Accelerator & Teams
On 15.10.2021 it finally started! 11 teams started the 3.5-month Network Accelerator. At the kick-off, experts identified the readiness levels of the startups in the areas of market, product, team and technology in order to identify the status quo of the teams and set goals for the programme. Since then, the startups have been going through workshops and are regularly supported by their personal startup coaches and mentors.
The teams come from very diverse industries, which makes it all the more exciting for the AI Garage team and everyone involved. From AI-based visual spare parts search for mechanical engineering, to intelligent water consumption measurement, to sustainable production in the textile industry, the teams once again show the diversity and wealth of ideas that Baden-Württemberg has to offer. “It is amazing to see the ideas and potential we have in Baden-Württemberg.
The Accelerator process
In the first few weeks, the main focus was on customer interviews and optimising the business model. In the coming weeks, the focus will be on optimising the technical implementation of the idea and converting the first contacts into paying customers.
The Network Accelerator will conclude with the big Demo Day on 28 January 2022, where the teams will pitch their idea to a large audience of companies, investors and institutions from Baden-Württemberg. For the best teams, the scaling phase will continue directly afterwards. The official programme will be published soon.
At this point, the whole team of the KI-Garage would like to thank all supporters once again! We are participating as a partner and are already looking forward to hearing more from the participating start-up teams.