Excellence Start-up Center Launch

Student Legaltec Start-up wins first ideas competition for start-ups

The start-up future is digital, as the official kick-off of the Excellence Start-up Center (ESC) in the GATEWAY start-up service of the University of Cologne (UzK) yesterday (20 January) in the RheinEnergieSTADION showed. With the first student start-up idea competition “Start-up your Idea” of the UzK, the ESC celebrated the start of its five-year funding phase. First place with prize money of 2,500 euros went to the Raketenstart team with its online platform based on artificial intelligence, which offers a digital legal department for founders and self-employed people. Second and third place out of a total of five finalists were taken by the Peaunique and Perception teams. They each received €1,500 and €1,000 prize money for the invention of a smart skin cream mixing system in a jar and a business model for training visually impaired people to become masseurs.

The jury of experts chose the three winning teams: Raketenstart (1st place), Peaunique (2nd place) and Perception (3rd place). Photo: Simon Hecht

However, founder Madeleine Heuts from the start-up Raketenstart particularly convinced the expert jury during the pitch round, in which the teams presented their business idea in just a few minutes. “Raketenstart put down a real pitch firework and competently answered every question from the jury, no matter how difficult,” praised jury member and ESC board member Prof. Dr. Christian Schwens the team. “The evening confirms that there is enormous creative potential and enthusiasm for start-ups and start-up culture at the University of Cologne,” said Marc Kley, Managing Director of the ESC in GATEWAY. “This is exactly what we want to promote with the Excellence Start-up Center and encourage students as well as scientists to use entrepreneurial thinking for their own career paths and to invest in their ideas and research”.

Kick-off Exzellenz Start-up Center GATEWAY x Gründungsideenwettbewerb "Start up your Idea"

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Overall, business ideas using AI technologies and digital methods predominated among the five finalist teams. The teams from Ψµ AI – Influencer Matching (pronounced psi mü AI) and Vinum Divitiae each presented influencer matching using artificial intelligence and an online wine brokerage service.  

With the start-up idea competition “Start up your Idea” of the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the UzK, the GATEWAY Excellence Start-up Center is taking the first step in its broad-based support program to increase the number of knowledge and technology-based start-ups at the university and to increase the professional diversity of the start-up projects. To this end, students and scientists are sensitised to entrepreneurial thinking at an early stage within a broad qualification programme in so-called eight work packages and, depending on their level of knowledge or plans, are advised and supported up to the point of founding a company. A

About the winning teams:
1st place with 2.500 Euro
Raketenstart: Madeleine Heuts, Saskia Neuner, Laura Madeleine Brommer, Tobias Tenbrake, Kira Kossi, Nieki Hashemi, Ramin Karbalaie, Philipp Reinking
2nd place with 1.500 Euro
Peaunique: Victoria Faber, Thomas Hodits & Stefan Bassler
3rd place with 1.000 Euro
Perception: Catharina Brühl