The first pilot phase of the digital campus incube8, in which startups are brought together with companies from the furniture industry, starts in September. A hackathon for Digital Interior Day provides the starting point for the new Koelnmesse project.
Following the innovation conference of the home & living industry, the founders work together with the established companies on their concepts, which they can then present and test at imm cologne 2019.
"In the pilot phase we want to gather experiences and find out for ourselves what works and what might not", says David Oldfield, Project Manager Digital Development in the Corporate Development department.
The first official project phase should then start at the beginning of next year. Up to five project pairs of startups and renowned companies can work together on a concrete business idea or innovation in a defined period of time.
They are supported by internal and external mentors in the process. In addition to the segment of interior design, the focus is also on digital startups from the fields of nutrition, digital media and entertainment – the areas of competence of Koelnmesse.
Each project cycle flows into a trade fair suited to the respective industry, at which the startups can present their business idea and find out the opinion of the industry. "This direct access to the market makes the programme unique and distinguishes incube8 from classic incubators", David Oldfield explains further.
In order to bring the established companies together with the startups to one table for joint projects, extra space has been created on the 8th storey of trade fair highrise 2 in the Deutz-Mülheimer-Straße in Köln-Deutz. An event and co-working area, as well as meeting rooms and offices are available in an area of 549 square metres.
The offering is oriented to exhibitors and to young startups, primarily with digital business ideas that have not yet overcome the hurdle of initial financing discussions. In future the founders should be able to apply with incube8 with their ideas and business models. The companies can also bring their problems to Koelnmesse.
"We select suitable startups and match them with the appropriate companies", David Oldfield continues. This means considerable added value for the participating companies, because they don't need to search through a great quantity of startups and evaluate whether they address the questions of the company. "We take care of that."