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WHU Accelerator 2023 Concludes with Demo Day

Eight up-and-coming start-ups present their business models to potential investors

This year’s annual WHU Accelerator, organized by the Entrepreneurship Center at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, recently came to a close at its planned Demo Day. With a full crowd of 100 registered attendees in the audience, the event took place this time at the Zalando building in Berlin, a location that acted as both incentive and a source of inspiration for participants. Eight teams behind eight start-ups partook in this year’s WHU Accelerator, a nine-week intensive program during which they receive advice from professionals on the scene and refine their business models. At Demo Day, the program’s finale, they fielded questions from special guests and pitched their business ideas to angel investors, venture capitalists, and mentors. The event is primarily designed to connect these start-ups with early investors, thereby helping them swiftly find financing. Founders and investors also had a chance to become better acquainted with one other at a relaxed post-event gathering. 

In the run up to the Demo Day, the start-up teams collided with a total of 80 top-tier mentors during “Mentor Mayhem,” where they received feedback on their business models. Participants even had a chance to pull angel investors (and others) from this ring of mentors into their corner. The WHU Accelerator also offered them an opportunity to participate in workshops on topics relevant for start-ups and to receive coaching directly from the WHU Entrepreneurship Center.

Next year’s WHU Accelerator, scheduled for May 2024, is ready to welcome another crop of start-up teams. Participation is open to any start-up co-founded by at least one enrollee at or alumni from WHU. The program is designed to give these founders the push their business models need—and to provide access to a rich entrepreneurial community. 


Participants in the 2023 WHU Accelerator


Founder(s): Janick Tacke (BSc, 2019), Arif Gebhardt

20° makes overhauling residential energy systems easy. This start-up is developing a one-stop shop for craftspeople that allows them to integrate subsidies and financing options directly into their offers. This happens through software that workshops already use today. This helps craftspeople earn extra money and focus more on the core of their business.



Founder(s): Özgür Güzel (BSc, 2017), Max Heisterkamp


Climio has the goal of revolutionizing the DIY crafters market. Many people are apprehensive about tackling home improvement projects. Others feel overwhelmed in hardware stores or when cutting through the sheer amount of information out there. Climio aims to offer a solution to this problem with its new all-in-one platform that makes these projects less scary. It offers a large marketplace, AI-supported tools for simplified product selection, and access to a supportive user community where crafters can inspire and help one another.



Founder(s): Kiran Banakar, Jonas Ehrenstein

compelling provides the world’s first platform for customer relationship building (CRB). The company helps B2B SaaS firms take their first steps toward making their sales process more efficient. It automates certain time-consuming tasks, e.g., account research, profit forecasts, or cold calling, thereby reducing the amount of resources sales teams need to expend and allowing them to generate more sales.



Founder(s): Dana Menzel (PT-MBA, 2022)

Sayhitofinance is a platform that wants to urge women to take greater control of their finances. The company’s newly developed community has the primary goal of gathering in different cities for in-person events, where all in attendance can benefit from the feeling of momentum and motivation that comes along with personal interaction.



Founder(s): Jan Bodenbach (BSc, 2019), Andreas Hartung, Simon Starfinger

HospiChef, developed with the help of a prominent network of hospitals, is modernizing the patient catering process. The platform allows patients to make orders with their smartphone, simplifies the workflow in the kitchen, and provides management with a real-time look at their current food supply. An early analysis of the platform has yielded positive results: Less food went to waste, the employees enjoyed noticeably lighter workloads, and patient satisfaction increased. 



Founder(s): Christian Aulbach (MSc, 2019), Neil Schmodde (MSc, 2019) 


LILLY.HR helps German SMEs simplify their onboarding process for international hires. Given the prevailing lack of skilled workers in Germany today, it has become increasingly more common for companies to seek new talent abroad. LILLY.HR is there to help every step of the way. Its digital platform provides tools for an easy, transparent, and automated onboarding experience.



Founder(s): Marcel Michalik (MSc, 2023), Antonio Panta (MSc, 2023), Nicolas Tozzoli (MSc, 2023) 

The Berlin-based start-up Selectic wants to revolutionize the hiring process with its innovative assessment software. This tool allows companies to put the hard skills of their applicants to the test through a simulation based on the open position in question. This is designed to make recruitment easy, as well as to improve the efficiency and quality of the selection process. The platform will also consider fairness, diversity, and objectivity as it vets applicants.


Smace Technologies GmbH

Founder(s): Henrik Lippke, Björn Maronde (EMBA, 2012)

Smace has the goal of optimizing and automating B2B onboarding processes. The platform offers a collaborative workspace shared between providers and customers that minimizes errors and saves on time. This leads to an overall increase in efficiency and customer satisfaction.

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