WHU
WHU’s startup network consists of alumni, students, staff, and partners who all contribute to the overall success of our ecosystem. We are convinced that our community members are WHU’s biggest assets. Our entrepreneurs, investors, student initiatives, faculties, etc. are strongly interconnected and enable each other. The WHU Entrepreneurship Center has taken on the task of building and nurturing this network.
We help WHU members navigate our community more easily and benefit from the network by monitoring the actors and activities of our community, maintaining lively relationships with all stakeholders, and facilitating the exchange of information, resources, and know-how.

About us

Our activies and offers

1. Insights into our ecosystem

An ecosystem as active as WHU’s startup community deserves an institution that maintains a clear overview. That is why the WHU Entrepreneurship Center keeps track of our founders and shares the generated insights and statistics with our community and the public.

  • Reports and Statistics: The WHU Entrepreneurship Center collects rich information on its students and alumni's founding and investment activities from different international databases. Based on the WHU founder database, we publish content like our quarterly WHU Start-ups Investment Report and dedicated statistics about WHU’s entrepreneurial footprint (e.g., Venture Capital 2022 Report) as well as the quarterly WHU Founder Report – a comprehensive and insightful report on the founding activities curated by the WHU student management consultancy confluentes.
    For more information on the WHU founder database, please contact Professor Dries Faems.
  • Public Relations: In collaboration with our Public Relations team, the WHU Entrepreneurship Center produces news posts and articles providing the latest updates from and interviews with members of our WHU startup community. Keep an eye on our news and social media sections on this website and make sure to follow Professor Dries Faems and Maximilian Eckel on Linkedin.
2. WHU founder empowerment

Getting started with one’s own venture is hard. Having access to a network of like-minded people who have gone through the process themselves or offer unique skills can be invaluable. The WHU Entrepreneurship Center helps (aspiring) WHU founders with navigating their entrepreneurial journey and their alma mater’s outstanding network of accomplished and supportive alums. At the same time, we help the pioneers and more experienced part of our community get in touch with the latest generations of founders.

Our expertise lies in product-driven ventures that could potentially be financed by venture capital. We are, unfortunately, not the right contact for consulting or agency business models.

  • Coaching: WHU founders who have already applied the skills they learned in class and have put their research, learnings, and numbers on their current venture into a shareable form (e.g., into a pitch deck) can always reach out to the WHU Entrepreneurship Center. We provide feedback and help you improve fundamentals like your storyline, pitch deck, financials, etc.
  • Introductions within the Network: We don’t know every industry and don’t have in-depth expertise in every functional area of your startup. But there is, with high certainty, an expert for what you’re looking for in our WHU community. We also don’t provide funding via the Entrepreneurship Center. But WHU has one of the most advanced alumni communities of business angels and venture capitalists in Europe. The WHU Entrepreneurship Center helps WHU founders find the right contacts and reach out to them.
  • WHU Accelerator: In our yearly WHU Accelerator, the Entrepreneurship Center combines all its founder support activities into one, intense program. Within a few weeks, eight WHU startups get the chance to talk to dozens of WHU alums to validate and challenge their core hypotheses and pitch in front of investors on the final Demo Day. The WHU Accelerator is the ultimate kickstart for diving into the WHU startup ecosystem.
3. Community building

As WHU’s startup community is at the heart of everything we do, the WHU Entrepreneurship Center wants to support the exchange between its community members and others who are interested in connecting with our ecosystem. To maximize our impact, we do not organize events by ourselves but leverage our network and expertise to help our stakeholders make the most of their events.

  • Student Clubs: WHU is home to extraordinarily ambitious students. This is why our students go beyond their regular curricula by investing tremendous time and effort into organizing a variety of events. The WHU Entrepreneurship Center aims to provide some additional stability to the yearly-changing teams, help with strategic questions, and connect the student organizers with access to speakers, sponsors, and university partners from our network.
  • Meet-ups: The WHU startup community is not limited to Vallendar and Düsseldorf. Our community members are spread around many geographies and work on ventures from different industries. The WHU Entrepreneurship Center wants to bring together the local startup-interested alums from different In Praxi Regional Chapters and Interest Groups for evenings of engaging conversations, pitches, and good times. Don’t forget to join your local chapter’s chat group to stay up to date.
  • WHU Master in Entrepreneurship: The MiE Program is at the heart of WHU’s startup education. Already during their studies, the Entrepreneurship Center does its part to integrate the students into the extended WHU startup community. Members of the Entrepreneurship Center coach aspiring (MiE) entrepreneurs inside and outside of courses, find prominent alum founders and venture capitalists as mentors and jury members, and recruit MiE students as WHU Entrepreneurship Center Associates.
4. Hands-on content

WHU offers a diverse portfolio of entrepreneurship lectures taught by world-class professors and other researchers. The WHU Entrepreneurship Center augments the provided teaching content by getting our alums and partners involved in praxis-oriented guest lectures and workshops:

  • WHU Startup School: In collaboration with In Praxi, WHU’s alumni association, we regularly host workshops on topics that are hard to integrate in the regular curriculum but are likely to be of relevance for startup entrepreneurs. Our alums have already held expert workshops on topics like “Financial Modelling for Startups,” “Top 10 Legal Screw-ups,” “How to Scale TikTok Marketing Spend from 0€ to 750k€,” and many others. Check out the In Praxi event page to find out more about the next event.
  • Guest Lectures: Our academic co-directors, Professor Dries Faems and Professor Christoph Hienerth, and their colleagues teach multiple courses exploring different aspects of entrepreneurship – in particular in our Master in Entrepreneurship Program. We as WHU Entrepreneurship Center support the teaching of faculty by facilitating practice-oriented guest lectures which are either held by us or one of our many founder and investors alums.
5. Connecting WHU’s startup community to the world

WHU is proud of its entrepreneurial community. But WHU founders do not operate in a vacuum. Many WHU ventures have co-founders from multiple different universities and investors from all around the world. The WHU Entrepreneurship Center sees it as its mission to create ties between our own community and other ecosystems, hoping to enrich the overall startup world.

  • Co-founding with WHU members: Multiple researchers from leading technical universities have decided to join forces with WHU alums to turn their technologies into high-growth ventures. The WHU Entrepreneurship Center helps technical institutions find their ideal business co-founders from the large pool of WHU talents. If you are looking for a co-founder within our WHU community, you will find more detailed information here.
  • Contributing to the Global Startup Ecosystem: WHU has had the privilege to be at the forefront of the German startup boom in the past years. We are happy to share our learnings and perspectives with other universities, political institutions, and at conferences around the world.

WHU Accelerator

WHU Accelerator is an equity-free, 8-week, intensive program for WHU students, alumni, and staff designed to provide rocket fuel for their new ventures. The program will kick off in May and culminate with a Demo Day to investors and mentors at the beginning of July.

In addition to the Demo Day, the core of the WHU Accelerator is the two intensive Mentor Mayhem weeks, during which the founders present their business models and receive feedback from renowned entrepreneurs, investors, and technology experts from the WHU ecosystem.

News and insights

Start-ups Investment Report

Start-ups Investment Report

The funding rounds, exits, takeovers, and IPOs of WHU start-ups in Q4 2023

 
US$583M in Venture Capital Secured by WHU’s Start-Ups in Germany

US$583M in Venture Capital Secured by WHU’s Start-Ups in Germany

Next generation of founders receive eager support from alumni

 
WHU’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Secures over US$2B in Investments

WHU’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Secures over US$2B in Investments

Start-ups founded by WHU alumni find success this year despite difficult economic landscape in Germany

 

Our team

Maximilian Eckel
Maximilian Eckel
Managing Director
Professor Dries Faems
Professor Dries Faems
Academic Co-Director
Professor Christoph Hienerth
Professor Christoph Hienerth
Academic Co-Director
Sigrid Dethloff
Sigrid Dethloff
Operations Manager
Niklas Geiss
Niklas Geiss
Head of Startup Coaching

Our partners

Stay up to date
and follow us on LinkedIn

So-called “deep-tech" start-ups that rely on profound technological understanding are at the core of the next wave of European innovation. However, many scientists decide against building ventures based on their intellectual property because of them having little experience with developing business models, raising venture funding, and building and running a business.

This is where the WHU Entrepreneurship Center steps in: We collaborate with technical universities to help match highly qualified scientists with WHU business talent to create the next generation of deep-tech start-ups. 

The WHU Startup School is a series of workshops designed to provide students and alumni with specific entrepreneurship knowledge about topics that are not covered in-depth in the classroom. These evening events bring experts to WHU to share their experiences, resources, tools and tips for building sustainable ventures in the 21st century.

It is not a secret that the entrepreneurship scene in general and in Germany, more particularly, lacks female founders. Promoting and supporting Female Entrepreneurship is thus a key goal of the WHU Entrepreneurship Center. Within this objective, the Center has called to life three Female Founders Scholarships at WHU Master in Entrepreneurship program.

The scholarship covers 25% of the tuition fees at WHU. With these scholarships, we not only want to encourage women to use their entrepreneurial potential, but also to equip them with the necessary know-how and useful networks and support to succeed after graduation.

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Contact

Maximilian Eckel
Maximilian Eckel
Managing Director

Our location

WHU Entrepreneurship Center
WHU Campus Vallendar
WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management
Burgplatz 2
56179 Vallendar
WHU Campus Vallendar