BMW Group and UnternehmerTUM launch TechFounders accelerator programme

TechFounders offers start-ups access to a high-tech ecosystem, experienced mentors and industry partners and a development budget of 25,000 euros

The BMW Group and UnternehmerTUM, the Centre for Innovation and Business Creation at Technical University Munich, are launching an accelerator programme for technology start-ups.

Working with industry partners, innovative technology start-ups will receive three months of intensive coaching and mentoring in preparation for an initial venture capital round and strategic cooperation options.

“TechFounders is the next logical development in our strategy to promote collaboration between start-ups and established companies in a systematic manner,” said UnternehmerTUM Director Dr. Helmut Schönenberger.

“With our partner BMW, we aim to accelerate ten international start-ups from the automotive sector in the development of their product and business model under the motto ‘Collaborate to innovate’.”

The accelerator programme will allow the BMW Group to discover innovative technologies, products and functions at a very early stage and collaborate with the start-up teams.

Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for MINI, BMW Motorrad, Rolls-Royce, Aftersales BMW Group, explained:

“Our initiative to promote cooperation with start-ups combines the best of both worlds: the strategic and global planning capabilities of a large corporation like the BMW Group and the culture of permanent innovation, creativity and risk-taking characteristic of successful start-ups.

The combination of these different cultures is particularly fruitful for an innovation leader like the BMW Group. At the same time, we believe we have something to offer young entrepreneurs: Our cooperation will create an atmosphere of openness and exchange of ideas, which big companies need more than ever in the 21st century.”

Wanted: start-ups with innovative ideas from the automotive sector

The programme is looking for start-ups with innovative ideas from the automotive sector. In addition to intensive expert support from UnternehmerTUM coaches, BMW Group mentors and outstanding business personalities, the teams will also be provided with office rooms, access to the high-tech prototype workshop “TechShop” and a development budget of 25,000 euros.

The programme will conclude with a Demo Day, where the start-ups will present their work to more than 100 investors and industry decision-makers. Unique to this programme is that start-ups must not surrender any ownership shares in the new company in exchange for these benefits.

The first start-ups will be launched in April 2015. Start-ups may submit their applications at effective immediately.

Almut Stollberg

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