AI continuing to gain ground: Awards presented to winners of the “Founder Competition – Digital Innovation” at EMO 2019 in Hanover, Germany

Improv­ing ener­gy man­age­ment through arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, using a smart­phone for vir­tu­al sewing pat­terns, or sav­ing human lives with a dig­i­talised process chain: these are just some of the unique ideas with which start-ups were able to con­vince the jury of the “Founder Com­pe­ti­tion – Dig­i­tal Inno­va­tions” organ­ised by the Fed­er­al Min­istry for Eco­nom­ic Affairs and Ener­gy (BMWi). There was a fur­ther increase in the num­ber of AI-based ideas sub­mit­ted to the com­pe­ti­tion. The BMWi in coop­er­a­tion with the VDW (Ger­man Machine Tool Builders’ Asso­ci­a­tion) and the VDI Nachricht­en mag­a­zine pre­sent­ed the awards to the win­ning teams at the EMO in Hanover on Tuesday. 

Founder competition group photo
Founder com­pe­ti­tion group photo
  • A group pho­to is attached; press pho­tos and fur­ther infor­ma­tion on the prizewin­ning teams are avail­able in the dig­i­tal press kit:

Every­one is talk­ing about arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, smart data, cloud com­put­ing and aug­ment­ed real­i­ty. The “sec­ond wave” of dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion and the wide range of start-ups are evi­dence that the spir­it of inven­tion unleashed by dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion is still very much alive. It is also demon­strat­ed by the start-ups which received awards from the BMWi on Tues­day at the EMO in Hanover. Their inno­v­a­tive ideas cov­er a whole range of areas such as cor­po­rate ener­gy man­age­ment, indus­tri­al pro­duc­tion, the man­u­fac­ture of cus­tom-made blood ves­sel pros­the­ses, the secure net­work­ing of devices in the Inter­net of Things or the fash­ion sector.

Total prize mon­ey of over 300,000 euros was award­ed to 21 new busi­ness­es from the dig­i­tal indus­try. Six teams each received a main prize of 32,000 euros, with 15 fur­ther start-up teams receiv­ing prize mon­ey of 7,000 euros each. In addi­tion, the spe­cial “Dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion in Pro­duc­tion” award was also pre­sent­ed, with prize mon­ey of 10,000 euros. In addi­tion to the prize mon­ey, the win­ners ben­e­fit from indi­vid­ual coach­ing and men­tor­ing through the “Founder Com­pe­ti­tion — Dig­i­tal Inno­va­tions” net­work of experts.

Of the six main prize-win­ning teams, the etalyt­ics start-up from Darm­stadt had two rea­sons to cel­e­brate: in addi­tion to the main prize, it also took the “Dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion in Pro­duc­tion” spe­cial prize.

  • etalyt­ics uses its AI-based cloud soft­ware to sup­port indus­tri­al com­pa­nies in mak­ing their ener­gy man­age­ment more sus­tain­able, and thus reduc­ing ener­gy costs. The etalyt­ics ser­vice plat­form con­sists of freely com­bin­able mod­ules. These pro­vide all the tools need­ed for the com­put­er-based opti­mi­sa­tion of ener­gy man­age­ment and ener­gy pro­cure­ment, includ­ing every­thing from data con­nec­tion, mod­el­ling and sim­u­la­tion through to rec­om­men­da­tions for action and optimisation.

The five oth­er award-win­ning teams in the main category:

  • qbound offers an inno­v­a­tive access man­age­ment solu­tion for access­ing appli­ca­tions, cloud ser­vices and devices on the Inter­net of Things (IoT). This solu­tion is more secure and user-friend­ly than con­ven­tion­al VPN and fire­wall sys­tems. In addi­tion to blockchain, qbound also uses a con­cept called Soft­ware Defined Perime­ter. This gives bet­ter pro­tec­tion to devices and appli­ca­tions con­nect­ed to the Inter­net, but also ren­ders them invis­i­ble unless or until they have been suc­cess­ful­ly authen­ti­cat­ed. For IT sys­tem admin­is­tra­tors, qbound enables straight­for­ward mon­i­tor­ing, eval­u­a­tion and adjust­ment of access autho­ri­sa­tions in net­works. The IT secu­ri­ty soft­ware can be used across all indus­tries and is offered for SMEs and large companies.
  • The Pat­ta­ri­na aug­ment­ed real­i­ty app from the Cot­tbus-based start-up of the same name allows hob­by clothes-mak­ers to trans­fer pat­terns direct­ly from their smart­phone to the fab­ric. The con­tours and mark­ings of the pat­terns are super­im­posed on the live image of the fab­ric in the dis­play. Users can then trans­fer the pat­tern onto the fab­ric using a mark­er. This elim­i­nates the fid­dly process­es of cut­ting out, lay­ing out and fas­ten­ing paper patterns.
  • The pur­pose of the self-learn­ing assis­tance sys­tem of the Dres­den start-up Peerox is to improve the pool­ing of knowl­edge among machine oper­a­tors. The soft­ware com­bines data-based machine learn­ing with the accu­mu­lat­ed knowl­edge of expe­ri­enced users and experts in the com­pa­ny. Based on learn­ing-by-doing, the sys­tem sup­ports the oper­a­tors by act­ing as a vir­tu­al co-learn­ing col­league who can offer advice in day-to-day production.
  • The Per­A­Graft start-up from Aachen reduces the wait­ing time for cus­tom-made blood ves­sel pros­the­ses from up to eight weeks down to only five days. These pros­the­ses are life-savers for aneurysm patients. This is made pos­si­ble using a ful­ly dig­i­tal process chain based on com­put­er tomog­ra­phy images of the patients. This per­mits exten­sive automa­tion and con­sid­er­able accel­er­a­tion of order pro­cess­ing – from data input, design and sim­u­la­tion through to com­put­er-con­trolled pro­duc­tion of the indi­vid­ual implants. The Per­A­Graft tech­nol­o­gy can also be applied to oth­er implant types.
  • The vision assis­tance sys­tem devel­oped by the Bochum start-up sentin per­mits image-based mon­i­tor­ing of safe­ty-crit­i­cal com­po­nents or prod­ucts for defects using arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence. The sys­tem learns whether a devi­a­tion from the stan­dard is tol­er­a­ble or should be rat­ed as an error on the basis of pre­vi­ous images. The sys­tem can thus auto­mate and accel­er­ate the inspec­tion process or give human inspec­tors more time for crit­i­cal images by pre-sort­ing them.

The “Founder Com­pe­ti­tion – Dig­i­tal Inno­va­tions” is an ideas com­pe­ti­tion organ­ised by the Fed­er­al Min­istry for Eco­nom­ic Affairs and Ener­gy (BMWi). Two rounds of the com­pe­ti­tion are held each year. In each of these, a jury made up of sci­en­tif­ic and busi­ness experts awards prizes to up to six start-up ideas, with main prizes of 32,000 euros each. A fur­ther fif­teen start-up ideas also receive 7,000 euros each. The spe­cial prize is endowed with prize mon­ey of 10,000 euros and the top­ic changes each time. All par­tic­i­pants receive a writ­ten assess­ment of their start-up idea as well as coach­ing and advice. The cur­rent round of the com­pe­ti­tion runs until 30 Sep­tem­ber 2019. Inter­est­ed par­ties can sub­mit an out­line of their idea online. The start-up com­pe­ti­tion team can be con­tact­ed regard­ing ques­tions about the com­pe­ti­tion: mail them at or call them on 030 310078–123.  

Press con­tact person

Nadia Hage­mann
LoeschHundLiepold Kom­mu­nika­tion GmbH
Haupt­straße 28, 10827 Berlin
Tel: 030 — 40 00 652 – 19, Fax: +49 (0)30 — 40 00 652 – 20,

Categories: 2019, September