We are happy to introduce the most international group of startups in the history of the Accelerator! Ten startups are partnering up with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in 2019 to work on innovations in healthcare, life science, performance materials and other exciting areas such as bio-sensing and interfaces or liquid biopsy. Selected from 565 applications based in 68 countries around the world, the lucky ten have just moved into the company’s Innovation Center kicking off the seventh intake of the Accelerator program. Over the next three months, each startup will receive individual support and coaching from experts within the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, network as well as up to €50,000 in funding and the opportunity to join the China Innovation Hub in Shanghai for an extension of the program.
Settling into the Innovation Center, the ten startups are getting ready to partner up with us to disrupt the industry and create solutions aimed at having a positive impact on people’s lives. Building sustainable partnerships and shaping the future together is one of the main goals of the Accelerator program in 2019. Michael Gamber, Head of the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Innovation Center, has expressed the potential he sees in focusing on collaborating so closely with the startups this year: "We connect with external ideas while helping startups to take off. Bringing curious and expert minds together is a tremendous opportunity to create innovations that go beyond our current scope.”
From 22 shortlisted startups attending the Selection Days in November 2018 this year, our existing diverse group of ten won us over with their visionary ideas and collaboration potential. During the Selection Days, the teams were able to exchange ideas with over 50 experts from all over the world to find the perfect solution for a future collaboration at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. This two-day Boot Camp event gave all shortlisted startups the opportunity to work together with experts from Pioneers Discover and make a three-minute pitch of their ideas to gather feedback from the jury. Next, to working hard, all teams took part in fun team-building activities. Thanks to their great innovative ideas, startups like Nextbiotics, specializing in antibiotic-resistant bacteria or Ourotech - whose team is working on proprietary hydrogel for cancer treatments - were able to stand out.
The high application rate for the Accelerator Program 2019 is particularly pleasing this year. With 565 applications, the last application period exceeded all previous intakes of the program. We are delighted to see the extent to which this format is being recognized among industry experts around the world. This high level of acknowledgement is undoubtedly related to the high quality of the startups that have applied to and excelled in the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Accelerator so far. Continue reading to meet the teams and learn more about them in detail!