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Successful completion of the first round of Booster - the new funding program for cybersecurity founders

02/07/2021

The winning teams of the first round of the booster have been determined. Applications for another round are now possible at sus-beratung@athene-center.de.

A few months ago, StartupSecure called | ATHENE launched the Booster accelerator program. Its aim is to support research-related start-up projects in the field of cybersecurity at an early stage and to accelerate the development of startups through targeted training and exchanges with experts. Six teams qualified for the first round of the accelerator program. From the beginning of May to the end of June, they went through a targeted training program with workshops and coaching and were intensively supervised and accompanied by mentors from business. At the final event, the teams pitched in front of a top-class jury with representatives from the Technical University of Darmstadt, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, GEA Group AG and Xariva Ventures.

The three best pitches were chosen:

1st prize: Sanctuary - Technical University of Darmstadt

2nd prize: Bitahoy - Helmholtz Center for Information Security (CISPA) in Saarbrücken

3rd Prize: Aimino - Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

Start with a successful cybersecurity founder as a keynote speaker

To kick off the accelerator, Dror Liwer from Israel, successful founder of the cybersecurity startup Coronet, gave a keynote. He knows from his own experience that research startups often focus on technology. But it is just as important to win the trust of customers. Prospective founders achieved this trust through communication with the customer. "Talk to the market and speak the market’s language," said Dror Liwer.

Diverse and intensive program for setting up a company

In the subsequent training units, the teams were able to deepen their knowledge and further develop their skills in order to tackle the diverse tasks of their company: team building, business model development, marketing, financial planning, sales, inter­nationalization, law and pitch training. The teams were supported by mentors from business who advised them and gave them access to their networks. The program was supported by experts from the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT, the Technical University of Darmstadt, the Digital Hub Cybersecurity, Utimaco GmbH, NeXenio GmbH, Deutor Cyber Security Solutions GmbH, Attemptum AG, the law firm MTJZ and of inlyse GmbH. The founders conclusion was "That was exactly the right input at the right time," .

Start-up projects from research

The participating teams came from different universities and research institutions:

  • APPassay – Technical University of Darmstadt
  • Aimino – Karlsruher Institute of Technology (KIT)
  • Bitahoy – Helmholtz Center for Information Security in Saarbrücken
  • Sanctuary – Technical University of Darmstadt
  • SEIN – Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences
  • TrustDBle – Technical University of Darmstadt 

They are all characterized by highly innovative solutions from research in the field of cybersecurity and receive StartUpSecure funding from the BMBF. With the financial support from the funding and the intensive accelerator program, the start-up projects have the best conditions for a successful spin-off from research.

Accelerator program Booster should establish itself

After the accelerator has been successfully carried out for the first time, the program is now set to further establish itself. For the next round, founders in the field of cybersecurity can apply now at sus-beratung@athene-center.de.
The program relies on practical solutions. The Accelerator Booster team is therefore looking forward to contacting interested experts, companies and sponsors at sus-beratung@athene-center.de. In the coming rounds, the accelerator is also intended to support teams in the cybersecurity sector shortly before or after they are founded in introducing their innovative research solutions quickly and successfully onto the market.

Four cybersecurity incubators

The accelerator program is organized by the start-up incubator StartUpSecure I ATHENE and supported by the partner incubators CISPA in Saarbrücken, Cube5 in Bochum and StartUpSecure KASTEL in Karlsruhe. All incubators have in common that they support research-related start-up projects in the field of cybersecurity and are funded by the BMBF.

About StartUpSecure | ATHENE

The start-up incubator StartUpSecure | ATHENE at the National Research Center for Applied Cybersecurity ATHENE promotes the development of innovations in the field of cybersecurity. The StartUpSecure team, based at the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT and in the business informatics department at the Technical University of Darmstadt, supports (potential) founders who, for example, develop innovative IT security solutions from their studies or science and turn them into marketable products want to develop further.

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