BREAKTHROUGH is an accelerator program that enables early stage startups to find their product/market fit. During this six-week program, founders will validate their concepts in real market conditions to turn their vision into products customers will love!
Founders who have already put some work into finding solutions to a real business problem. Startup teams who are open to pivoting and changing their approach while learning the specifics of their customers and markets.
In just six weeks, interaction with customers, 20+ workshops in different cities and two public pitch events will help you to solidify your product/market fit. With over 30 online courses, methods, tools and other material, you will be equipped to lead your startup towards financial success.
Besides a lot of fun, networking, intense feedback and qualitative workshops, you will enjoy a steep learning curve and enjoy making your startup more relevant. Furthermore, you will take the methods and tools, business connections and true friendships to other aspiring founders with you.
The program is inspired by the “lean startup method” by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf. The startups will test their market hypotheses over and over in direct customer contact to refine their value proposition. The program is fast and requires steady work and improvement. BREAKTHROUGH is divided into two phases. Each phase lasts three weeks. Within each phase, the workshops and assignments will cover all areas of the startup’s business plan. At the end of each phase, a big competitive pitch event will decide which startup can advance to the next phase. For details see FAQ below. The program will end with a last big pitching competition (demo day), in which the best five startups will present their business to a high-profile jury and compete for prizes and media coverage.
Spend all the time possible for working on your startup. We recommend participating in all the workshops and working with the material provided. All offers are designed to accelerate your startup’s progress and are run by experienced and dedicated trainers from Germany and neighboring countries. The level of your engagement and commitment will be part of the evaluation process at the end of each phase (three weeks).
August 24th: Kick-Off (non-public)
The program kicks off at innoWerft GmbH, Walldorf. The teams will get to know each other and the people behind the program. Further detail and material is provided. BBQ in the evening and a keynote complete the event.
September 13th: Midterm presentation (public)
Up to 30 teams will be qualified to pitch in front of a high-profile jury about their business. Top keynote speakers, investors and entrepreneurs will be present. The best 15-20 teams will advance to phase 2.
October 4th: Demo Day (public)
The top 5 teams of BREAKTHROUGH will pitch in front of investors and an audience of decision makers from business, finance, corporate, politics and media. The other startups will have a chance to present themselves in another way. Networking, keynotes and the award ceremony will make this an unforgettable finish.
After admittance, you will be invited to join a slack group where all the main communication will happen. There will be an extra sign-up form for every event, workshop, seminar to help us plan. After each event you will kindly be asked to provide feedback to us to further improve our program. Every startup team will be assigned to a specific “case manager” whose job is to make sure you are feeling well and take the most out of the program.
The biggest benefit you can expect out of this program is improved clarity about your customers’ needs and how to meet them with an appropriate value proposition. You will shape your startup’s direction much clearer towards a specific customer segment. You will apply methods to derive valuable insights for your company’s future direction and will learn how to build a business around those insights. The provided methods and material you can use much after the program to constantly question and evaluate business assumptions to keep your competitive advantage. The networking opportunities to other founders, possible new co-workers and partners, investors, customers and large companies like SAP are numerous.
Intense feedback and evaluation loops by other teams, executives, customers and experts are your constant companions during the course. Whether you have questions about your market entry strategy, growth marketing, product packaging, teamwork or a legal procedure, we have the right experts at hand to answer your questions and help you reflect and grow. A pitch training during a roller coaster ride, a golf course for beginners and other fun events round up the whole program. Participating in the program will certainly help you grow the attention on your startup among the general public, investors and media.
Last, but not least, you will have the chance to win prizes, workshops and exclusive one-on-one meetings with corporate executives.
Participating is 100% for free with no strings attached! What are you waiting for?
The area in the Rhine valley between Darmstadt and Karlsruhe covers about the same distance as San Francisco to San Jose, better known as Silicon Valley in California, USA. Located just 30 kilometers south of Germany’s financial capital, Frankfurt, the region attracts new businesses with astonishing economic facts: The region hosts many of Germany’s best universities in tech and business like KIT, Uni Mannheim, Uni Heidelberg and TU Darmstadt. In total, more than 20 universities with more than 120.000 enrolled students call this region their home base. The European Space Agency (ESA) head office, five Max Planck Institutes, eight Fraunhofer Institutes and many private and corporate research labs complete the picture. The region subsequently boasts with the highest density of research professionals in the entire European Union. Also, the highest share of research per GDP is spent here. The region further headquarters more blue chip companies than any other region in Germany. This includes two of Germany’s three biggest software companies – SAP SE and Software AG. Many hidden champions – middle sized companies with world leadership in a niche market – and the high density of tech businesses make this region Germany’s best place to start up a B2B tech venture. Nice to know: The region is also known for its mild climate: Some of the sunniest and warmest cities of Germany are to be found here as well.
The application form will be open June 1st. Application deadline is July 29th.
If you have any questions regarding the program, feel free to contact the program manager Ingmar Wolff at:
+49 6227 89934 0
24th of August 2018 until 4th of October 2018
More than 20
Meet more than 60 experts, decision makers, investors and corporate managers personally
Participation is 100% free with no strings attached
Motivated early stage founders with a tech business in B2B
SaaS, Software Platforms, Hardware, loT, Big Data, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Cyberphysical Systems (Industry 4.0), Blockchain, AR/VR
Most of the events will happen in the Rhein-Neckar-Karlsruhe region including cities like Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Mannheim and Walldorf.
Win prizes, coachings and media coverage!
On June 1st – here on this site.
29th of July 2018, 23:59 UTC
At least one of the founders should be able to participate in the program. The very minimum is two hours for the weekly progress pitches and one full day for the elimination pitch rounds every three weeks. We do highly recommend to spend more time in the program then just that.
“The program is an absolute benefit for every startup. Due to the strict program and timelines, you are triggered to move your idea forward within a short time. The precise and professional feedback gives you ideas, you would have never came up with. The program is a real accelerator.”
“Breakthrough is a great experience and possibility for early stage IT-startups to prove their concept in a short time in front of experts.”
“We have been introduced into the German startup world, it took us to another level.”
“Great program for entering the startup stage. Didn´t regret a single day invested. And hell, I was busy.”
“Great program. Excellent coaches, investors, partners and other startups. It was an intense and fun time at Breakthrough.”
“Come as a rookie – work hard – leave as a founder.”