Promoting start-ups

We encourage talented students and innovative business ideas both within the Group and in society at large. The purpose of Deutsche Telekom's hub:raum start-up incubator, for example, is to help people who are starting a business get their innovative ideas off the ground. We are convinced that helping these start-ups get up and running will ultimately benefit our company, since we will be able to work together with them to bring new or improved products to market. That is why a number of our international subsidiaries have also launched start-up initiatives and offer grant programs that give financial support to talented students.

We have been running our own start-up incubator in Berlin since 2012 under the name hub:raum. At hub:raum, start-up teams can develop their ideas in an "incubator" environment and then introduce them to the market. Experienced start-up entrepreneurs work with the teams as mentors. We also provide teams with a maximum of EUR 300,000 in seed funding.

Interested start-ups can go to the hub:raum website and apply for acceptance to the program. The following start-ups were among those admitted to the program in 2013 and 2014:

  • qLearning, a learning assistance start-up from Munich
  • Contiamo, a business intelligence company from Berlin
  • Vigour.io from Berlin and Amsterdam, which has developed a platform for operating device-independent applications
  • Frestyl from Berlin, whose event app provides recommendations for music events, concerts, and parties with the help of expert tips

Together with the existing start-ups Stylemarks, Salonmeister, Reputami and Blinkist, we now have eight start-ups participating in hub:raum. hub:raum also offers an ongoing accelerator program. Start-up teams whose ideas complement Deutsche Telekom's portfolio can join the program to turn these ideas into business models that qualify for financing. We provide them with the hub:raum campus infrastructure at no charge as well as hub:raum program offers, which vary from week to week (e.g., mentor and expert consultations, workshops, and events). More than 60 start-up teams have already taken advantage of this offer in Berlin and Cracow.

In 2014, hub:raum also introduced a new, topic-based event format referred to as boot camps. At these events, start-ups are given the chance to "boot" themselves (like booting an operating system), i.e., get noticed. We also use these events to present the start-ups as Deutsche Telekom partners and put them in touch with investors. Teams from all over the world are invited to present their solutions to us in Berlin and/or Bonn. Boot camps were held in 2014 on the following topics that are relevant to us: Internet of Things, cyber security and wearables (computer systems you can wear). More than 30 start-ups participated.

We held the first Telekom Innovation Contest in 2013 to bring young innovators in contact with our company and tap the advantages of this relationship for everyone involved. Following the successful launch of the international ideas competition, we once again asked creative teams to submit their ideas in 2014. Students, entrepreneurs with start-up ideas, young IT start-ups and employee teams from the Group were all invited to participate. More partners than ever before supported the 2014 competition, which was initiated by Telekom Innovation Laboratories in Berlin, T-Mobile Poland, and Magyar Telekom in Hungary. All of Deutsche Telekom's incubators – hub:raum in Berlin, Cracow and Tel Aviv, along with Kitchen Budapest and UQBATE, a program for employees, participated in the competition.

The Italian start-up Atooma got potential investors interested in investing up to EUR 150,000 at the competition held in Cracow on June 27. Atooma is a platform that connects end devices, apps and sensors, and helps users automate their processes. As soon as someone using the app approaches their home, Atooma can automatically turn on the Wi-Fi function and reduce the ring volume. Other finalists in addition to Atooma won a four-day training program at hub:raum in Cracow as well as hardware and software for their start-ups.

A total of 326 teams from 39 countries participated in the competition. Participants could make submissions in six categories including smart energy, cyber security, data management, and the Internet of Things. The majority of participants (60 percent), however, decided to submit concepts for the hot topics of cloud computing (“cloud-based productivity”) and the future of media and communication.