HHL alumnus Konrad Sell, 32, won the elevator pitch at HHL’s 2016 Accelerate@HHL Entrepreneurship Conference on April 23, 2016 with his business concept „SoNovum“, and secured the prize money of EUR 1,000 by finishing ahead of ten competitors. The audience prize went to Max Vennhofen with his business idea “Cleverciti“, a sensor technology for on-street parking spaces and open-air parking lots.
SoNovum works on the development and testing of a new technology to diagnose strokes, traumatic brain injuries and other neurological indications faster and more accurately. The technology promises quicker initiation of the relevant therapeutic measures. Konrad Sell, who works in Leipzig on his start-up, says, „I am thrilled by the SoNovum solution and happy that the jury agrees with me. Our technology can surely inspire new ideas in the health care sector in the future.“
The interactive vote during the Elevator Pitch competition was carried out by the audience and a high-caliber judging panel, consisting of investors and experts such as Fabian Westerheide (Asgard), Carl-Luis Rieger (CP Ventures) and Robin Brohl (EOG & Spacelab). The competition was generously supported by the HHL Alumni Association.
Juror Joe Wang, CEO of the Chinese entrepreneurship platform CY Zone, was excited about the applicants for the Elevator Pitch and said, „I especially noticed the focus on business ideas in the high-tech sector within this competition. This differs from China where we observe a more market-driven approach. At the Accelerate@HHL Conference I experienced a serious exploration of topics that concern all of us: industry 4.0, cloud computing, big data and intelligent cars.“
HHL student and conference head Benjamin Kühl drew a positive conclusion after the event, „The 2016 Accelerate@HHL is the hoodie conference among the suit conferences. Our concept, to discuss entrepreneurship ideas and specialized topics and to make contact with companies and potential investors in a casual setting, worked out fine.“
In addition to lively discussions by different panels and the 6th Leipzig Entrepreneurship Lecture held by Prof. Dr. Katharina Hölzle, who teaches Entrepreneurship at the University of Potsdam, the conference participants could get in contact with companies such as Bertelsmann, zeb, ProGlove, Spacelab, KPMG, Rheingau Founders and Carat during a Career Fair and a so-called speed dating session.
Speakers at the Entrepreneurship Conference included the keynote speakers Alexander Ruhland (IBM), Conrad Riedesel (Deutsche Telekom) and Thomas Eichstädt-Engelen (OpenHAB/neusta Next) as well as other renowned representatives from the economy and research such as Dr. Markus Weinberger (Director of Bosch IoT Labs of the University St. Gallen), Michael Busch (Managing Director at Carat Deutschland), Björn Peters (Head of Segment M2M/IoT of exceet Secure Solutions AG), as well as Stefan Kimmel (Venture Capital, Private Equity, M&A and Joint Ventures at KPMG Law).
The start-up scene was represented by such notables as Thomas Kirchner (CEO of Workaround GmbH, ProGlove), Steffen von Bünau (Head of Growth EMEA Kontakt.io), Klaus Mochalski (CEO of Rhebo AG) and many more.
Voices of speakers and participants of the 2016 Entrepreneurship Conference Accelerate@HHL
„We will live in a future in which everything is connected. The internet of things (IoT) has ceased to be just a hype but has become reality, and it will affect our lives as much as the introduction of the iPad once did.“ Conrad Riedesel (Deutsche Telekom)
„During the Accelerate conference I was impressed by how many people in Germany accept change to be what’s normally the case. ‚German Angst‘ has become an empty phrase for me due to this conference.“ Conference participant Eike Dreusicke (student of the University of Cologne)
„My most important advice to all entrepreneurs who I met at the Accelerate Conference: get out of the invisible cap modus, show your ideas to the world, get feedback and work on your prototype.“ Philipp Hartmann (Rheingau Founders)
„We enjoy coming back to HHL every year. We managed to recruit two interns during the Accelerate Conference and were able to support a student with his Master thesis.“ André Voutla (zeb)
Supporters of this year’s conference include gold sponsors zeb and Bertelsmann as well as silver and bronze sponsors Carat, KPMG, Spacelab, Rheingau Founders, the Association of Friends of HHL (GdF), Porsche as well as the HHL Alumni Association.
About HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management With over 165 start-ups established by HHL alumni over the past 18 years, HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management has developed into an incubator for company creation. The founders‘ entrepreneurial commitment has created more than 2,800 jobs already. In 2013 and 2014, HHL reached one of three first places for the best entrepreneurial universities in Germany in the Start-Up Radar ranking published by Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft (Founders‘ Association of German Science) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BWMi). According to the Financial Times, HHL ranks first in Germany and fifth globally for its entrepreneurship focus within the M.Sc. and EMBA programs.