“The Accelerator is not the End, it’s the Beginning” - Spring 2017 Demo Day in Darmstadt and Nairobi
14 JUN 2017
“The Accelerator is not the end, it is the beginning”, remarked Pierre Munzel, Co-Founder of PEAT and Accelerator alumnus, in his keynote speech at the Demo Day of the Spring 2017 Accelerator by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in Darmstadt.
“The Accelerator is not the end, it is the beginning”, remarked Pierre Munzel, Co-Founder of PEAT and Accelerator alumnus, in his keynote speech at the Demo Day of the Spring 2017 Accelerator by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in Darmstadt. PEAT joined the Accelerator in Fall 2016 after winning the first Pitch Day by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. They now have more than 350.000 sessions per month, work with highly influential partners like BASF, and have recently expanded internationally to work in Brazil, Iran, India and Ghana, among others. Earlier this year, they won the CeBIT Innovation Award and closed a seven-figure funding round – their first round, incidentally.
Another Demo day was held by the Accelerator in Kenya: the third of its kind in Nairobi. The event brought together investors, entrepreneurs and stakeholders from Kenya’s healthcare sector as well as members of the public. Dr. Cathy Mwangi of M-health Kenya delivered a keynote speech centered on the ability of technology to play an integral role in solving healthcare problems. She encouraged the four startups – Connect Health, Peach Health Technologies, RxAll and Secure Data Kit – not to waiver from their goals and emphasized that the journey would not be easy but it was worth undertaking. The startups then did a public pitch and received valuable feedback from the audience. When asked about the Accelerator program, all startups – both in Germany and Kenya – praised the number and quality of the connections they had made. Ectica Technologies commented, “the program helped us to create a remarkable number of contacts both within Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and outside. We entered a vast network that helped us to rapidly interact with potential customers, potential commercialization and R&D partners, but also with entrepreneurs sharing our challenges.” The startup received interest from units within Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany early on and worked with the company to identify pilot projects where their hydrogel-based lab products could be used. From trade fairs to meetings with hospital consultants, the startups identified the many opportunities for external pitching and networking as a key benefit of the Accelerator for their business. Inuru, for example, got the chance to exhibit their printed OLED products at Display Week in Los Angeles with the Performance Materials department in May, giving them crucial external networking opportunities, as well as a chance to test market validity in real-time. All startups also had the opportunity to attend an external pitching and networking event co-organized by the Accelerator, the Joint Investors Day, where they gained valuable pitching experience and insights from fellow founders, investors and innovators. In Kenya, RxAll used their time to develop crucial connections to help them launch their digital drug procurement platform in the Kenyan market.
Less than 9 months after coming together at the Hackathon by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in Rome, the team at TOMMI are planning to found the company and seek financing to develop their game further. They are also planning to gain more insights from hospitals to help them improve the game. After their year-long pilot program comes to an end, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany Health Hack Accra 2016 alumni Peach Health Technologies plans to start charging for their software, and are currently looking to bring other hospitals in Ghana on board. Ectica Technologies are working on a pilot project with scientists in immuno-oncology at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and continuing to develop their business. Secure Data Kit will aso continue their work with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, alongside exploring other opportunities identified during the program. Inuru is looking to secure a second investment round, as well as planning to scale up production and expand to 2.000 customers. In the coming weeks and months, ATR Elements are focusing on founding the company and launching the basic version of the ATR crystal onto the market for existing applications. They also want to develop a prototype for the high-throughput device and the development of the enhanced version up to marketability. As well as continuing their operations in Nigeria, RxAll is planning to launch in Kenya by the end of the year, and they are looking into expansion into Ghana. After enthusiastic feedback from their pilot project, the team at Connect Health plan to recruit and scale in Kenya, as well as consider opportunities for expansion into other countries in Africa. In his advice to the founder teams as they leave the Accelerator, Pierre Munzel of PEAT told them to stay focused and always keep pushing the business forward. But one thing was clear: for these startups, the Accelerator by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is not the end; it’s just the beginning. And do not forget, if you are a startup in healthcare, life sciences or performance materials, there is still time to apply for the next intake of the program.