For a select group of start-up founders, the following seven weeks are going to be grueling—yet also highly educational and productive. Last weekend, the kick-off session for this year’s WHU Accelerator took place, and eight start-ups, all of which co-founded by at least one student or alumnus of WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, were chosen to take part. At this initial session, they received valuable tips and heard reports from the participants of last year’s program, including founding members of Specter Automation, LIDROTEC, Prematch, and others.
All of those start-ups got an enormous boost from the WHU Accelerator and have now completed their first successful rounds of financing. KitchX co-founder Marco Dassisti, who participated in the program in 2021, gave the following word of advice to this year’s crop of hopeful founders: “Don't let yourself get demotivated! Even if, at first, other people don't like your idea, keep going. Think about the problem your start-up intends to solve.”
At the kick-off for the WHU Accelerator 2022, the start-ups were first able to get better acquainted with the program, the process, and the WHU Entrepreneurship Center team. In the afternoon, they had the opportunity to present their business ideas to the other teams in a four-minute pitch and receive feedback.
Notably, this is only the beginning. The real work will come over the next two weeks, during which the teams will meet with eighty top-tier mentors in twenty-minute rounds in what the program calls “Mentor Mayhem.” This group of mentors, who are all successful entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors, will ideally establish contact with other potential supporters, including business angels and venture capitalists. Speaking of the program, Maximilian Eckel, Managing Director at the WHU Entrepreneurship Center explained, “Through the WHU Accelerator and its ‘Mentor Mayhem,’ we want to give participants the fastest possible access to WHU’s unique entrepreneurship network.”
This year’s group of start-ups participating in the WHU Accelerator include
-10lift: The company is building future work solutions to help make work more engaging and connected.
- Power Mind Club: A platform that helps individuals and couples build and maintain a long-lasting, healthy relationship.
- invest wise GmbH: A collective that offers advice to younger target groups on how to invest wisely and over a longer term.
- Joyon: An online platform that offers tutors and companies active in the field of adult education an integrated end-to-end solution for creating interactive, live courses.
- Kursinsel: A company that allows children to explore their interests and indulge in relevant content through interactive online courses that can be accessed from home.
- Kaiako: A platform seeking to create the best possible educational experience of the 21st century by incentivizing content creators to make curriculum-compliant content.
- [Name withheld for confidentiality]: A start-up designing new, respectable ways to sell and buy animals online.
- [Name withheld for confidentiality]: A centralized platform for small businesses seeking to connect, control, and automatize their multichannel and dropshipping activities.
With the help of experienced start-up founders and mentors, and by tackling further challenges, these teams will work on their business model and clarify any as of yet unanswered questions they may have. The refined iteration of their plans will then be presented to invited guests and investors at the Demo Day in Berlin, held on June 25.