Fraunhofer launches new company builder for high-tech start-ups

Fraunhofer launches new company builder for high-tech start-ups


AHEAD bundles Fraunhofer Venture’s incubator activities for high-tech ventures into a single streamlined program. For the first time, this program will also make it possible for entrepreneurs and experts from outside the Fraunhofer R&D network to get involved. Fraunhofer Venture’s AHEAD program provides founders and researchers with a new approach to a one-stop solution for technology, business model and team development. As part of the AHEAD company-building process, which is designed to meet the needs of high-tech start-ups, founding teams and new ventures will have access to the latest technology as well as to Fraunhofer’s research network.

Program launches with 30 high-tech teams

As part of the first AHEAD boot camp starting on 25 February 2019, 30 start-up teams will develop new business concepts in fields like artificial intelligence, Industry 4.0, digital medicine, energy storage systems and new materials. Following a jury decision, successful participants of the four-day boot camp will be invited to join the AHEAD program. “The AHEAD program was developed to support the founding of new, agile and efficient high-tech companies in the technology fields of the future. AHEAD pools Fraunhofer Gesellschaft’s spin-off support activities into one efficient process, from the initial concept phase to market entry. We are convinced that AHEAD has the potential to take the process of transferring technology from Fraunhofer research into business practice to the next level,” says Thomas Doppelberger, Director of Fraunhofer Venture. Thorsten Lambertus, Chief Acceleration Officer for AHEAD, comments, “Our AHEAD program is based on a concept that is ideally suited to the individual challenges of each founding team, combining high-tech with genuine entrepreneurial spirit. Going forward we aim to become one of the leading company-programs in the world.

New concept for high-tech start-ups in Germany

The AHEAD program was developed to significantly increase the number of high-techstart-ups in Germany and to accelerate the start-up process. To achieve this goal, entrepreneurs, scientists and experts will be working together in dedicated high impact teams for up to 24 months with professional coaches providing support from the initial stage of an idea to market maturity by applying different perspectives and professional approaches. The Fraunhofer Technology-Transfer Fund is sponsoring this tailored start-up program. In addition, more than 150 external venture capital companies and co-investors are involved in the program as potential investors. To date, Fraunhofer Venture has supported the successful start-up of more than 500 high-tech companies from the Fraunhofer network. Around 97% of these spin-offs are still in business three years following market launch. The plan going forward is to position AHEAD as the organizational interface between Fraunhofer research activities, businesses and Germany’s high-tech start-up ecosystem.