After a successful first act last year, Stage Two, the largest competition for both prominent and up-and-coming start-ups across Europe, will take place again in 2022. From all over the continent, universities—and their entrepreneurship centers—had a chance to select which of the start-ups founded by their student body were the most promising for a preliminary competition. The winners will duke it out in Berlin from October 20 – 21, pitching their business models to a top-notch panel of experts.
This year, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management is sending start-up ProteinDistillery to the capital. It’s not just about potentially winning the attractive prizes enticing the participants. Maximilian Eckel, Managing Director of the WHU Entrepreneurship Center, said, “The start-ups partaking in Europe’s largest venture capital competition have a chance at winning hundreds of thousands of euros in prize money or investment funds. But Stage Two also gives these ecosystem founders and innovators an environment in which they can exchange ideas. It is always important that WHU have a chance to showcase its incredible community on the international stage. And we’re thrilled that ProteinDistillery will fly WHU’s flag this year.”
ProteinDistillery was founded toward the end of 2021 by Marco Ries (BSc, 2019; MSc, 2022), Christoph Pitter, Dr. Tomas Kurz, and Michael Baunach. The start-up first competed against four other qualifying candidates during the preliminary pitch battle. “We’re excited to be representing such a top-rate institution as WHU with a sustainable food-tech concept,” said Ries. By replacing animal proteins with the protein it sources, the start-up has created the first true competitors to animal-sourced foods—competitors that do not compromise on texture and taste. Additionally, manufacturing ProteinDistillery’s products is friendlier to the environment: Use of their protein would help drastically reduce worldwide water and land consumption and CO2 emissions. The final product that will land on the market—whether in the form of burger patties or egg and dairy alternatives—is currently in development for larger food manufacturers and is scheduled for release in Norway next year.
The top universities in Europe for entrepreneurship are allowed to send one company each to Stage Two, where its representatives will pitch their business idea to an expert panel and to potential investors. The winners can expect support in various forms for their company—and recognition in Europe. Stage Two is an association of the leading entrepreneurship centers established by European universities. By networking across borders and providing access to international markets, it aims to promote the next generation of successful European start-ups.
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