A growing audience
That trend applies to the digital hubs themselves, which have moved most of their activities online. One example is the Start-Up Games sessions, in which ten start-ups nominated by various hubs pitch to an expert jury and an online audience in a live-streamed event.
“We are now meeting people for short video conferences, who might never have had time for an appointment with us in real life,” König explains. “And you usually know within ten minutes or so if it’s a good fit. If it’s not a good match, then it doesn’t matter, because neither of us wasted our time.”
“It’s now normal to meet everyone from clients and job applicants to potential investors online,” concurs Tobias Bäumler, the founder of Vitas, an artificial-intelligence-driven, voice-recognition customer service assistant, which is affiliated with the hub in Nuremberg.
Virtual help for foreign start-ups
Online formats mean a greater number of foreign entrepreneurs and young companies can now attend and benefit from the hubs’ training and networking events.
“In the three years since it was established, the Digital Hub Initiative has proven an invaluable and unique resource for fledgling companies with great ideas,” says GTAI Trend & Innovation Scouting director Stefanie Burgdorff. “They’re a fantastic tool to help start-ups from abroad find the suppliers, workforces, partners and potential customers they need in their new home. Once foreign start-ups and investors connect with a hub, they benefit from the whole network and its services and the remote programs,” she adds. “Becoming part of the Digital Hub Initiative means becoming part of the German ecosystem.”
If you’re an innovative new tech business with an interest in entering the German market, the best place to start is the Digital Hub Initiative’s website, www.de-hub.de, which lists all events and start-ups associated with the network.