Driving innovation

The finalist teams
of the Techstars METRO Accelerator

Alexander Zumdieck
Managing Director, Techstars METRO Accelerator

The eleven finalist-teams of Techstars Metro Accelerator (photo) Alexander Zumdieck Managing Director Techstars Metro Accelerator (photo)

Accelerated development

“The Accelerator has helped us to find eleven brilliant concepts, which we now want to intensively support on their way to greater productive capacity and success.”

Software solutions, apps and mobile marketing instruments: in many countries, only a modest range of digital solutions are currently available to hotel, food service and catering businesses. This assessment by METRO led to its decision to advance digitalisation in this sector by launching the Techstars METRO Accelerator in April 2015. Developed in cooperation with the American company Techstars and the digital advertising agency R/GA, the promotional programme aims to find and provide support to the best and most creative technology start-ups that bring added value to the hospitality industry.

View on a smartphone where you see a picture of a group of people working together in a team (photo) Olaf Koch welcomes the finalists of the Techstars Matro Accelerator in Berlin (photo)

Start-ups – a matter for the boss: Olaf Koch, Chairman of the Management Board of METRO AG, welcomes the finalists of the Techstars METRO Accelerator in Berlin.

“METRO is a strong brand in the international retail and whole-sale sector – that attracted the attention of a lot of exciting start-ups to the programme.”

Several hundred teams of business founders submitted their concepts during the three-month application period. Eleven of these made the leap into the concluding round. The finalists now have until the end of January 2016 to further develop their concepts in collaboration with the mentors in the Techstars METRO Accelerator – and convince the jury of their ideas on the so-called Demo Day. Not only the participants themselves are excited about the finals!

Countdown to the demo-day (photo) Finalists work at their computers (photo)

In the former East German state council building, the start-ups work on new ideas for the food service, hotel and catering industries.

Alexander Zumdieck listens to a speech (photo)

“It’s the complete package that counts.” Alexander Zumdieck, Managing Director, Techstars METRO Accelerator

Berlin’s Mitte district, former DDR state council building, fourth floor: where creative minds are working on the business ideas of the future, Alexander Zumdieck can’t be far away. The Managing Director of Techstars METRO Accelerator is the interface between the programme participants and METRO. A conversation about new opportunities, teams that have what it takes, and the freedom to simply and quickly put things in action.

Mr Zumdieck, several hundred start-up companies from 20 countries applied to take part in the Techstars METRO Accelerator. What were the criteria for selecting the eleven finalists?

We didn’t have one decisive criterion that everything depended on. What was important to us was much more the overall package: a good idea, a concept that complements our METRO philosophy, the scalability of the business model and, above all, a convincing team.

In what concrete ways can METRO Cash & Carry customers profit from the ideas and concepts of the start-up founders?

One good example is Zenchef, a provider of software for the hospitality sector. METRO Cash & Carry is already cooperating with this start-up in France. In the framework of the Techstars METRO Accelerator, we’re now supporting the further development of the product and the internationalisation of the company. It’s similar with the other start-ups. For example, a number of pilot customers of METRO Cash & Carry are testing the products and services of our programme participants. It’s this combination of innovation and practice that creates the great opportunity for everyone involved in the Accelerator.

And what might a future cooperation between METRO and the start-up companies look like?

I think we’re going to see a broad spectrum in this regard: from close cooperation in certain markets to even more investment, all the way to open partnerships. We can’t wait to see what emerges!

Alexander Zumdieck

Alexander Zumdieck is a consultant, founder and entrepreneur rolled into one. He has been sharing his expertise with start-ups since the beginning of 2015. The Managing Director of Techstars METRO Accelerator helps the programme participants to further develop their digital solutions and concepts for the food service and hotel industries and to prepare for their final presentations. From his own experience, he knows that the most important thing is the team you have!

Find out more about the topic of innovation at METRO GROUP in the interview with Gabriele Riedmann de Trinidad, Group Director Business Innovation.

Video interview with Gabriele Riedmann de Trinidad

Creative minds – innovative ideas The eleven finalist teams of the techstars metro accelerator and their concepts

Coffee Cloud Founder Miroslav Kovac & Adreja Kovac (photo)
Coffee Cloud

Founders: Miroslav Kovač, Andreja Kovač
Founded: 2015 in Tartu, Estonia

Espresso machines with a wireless connection – this application by the entrepreneurial pair from Estonia ensures reliable accounting by saving the data on the cups of coffee it prepares in real time. It additionally notifies you when cleaning or repairs are necessary. www.coffeecloud.co

Gastrozentrale Founder Moritz Grumbach (photo)

Founders: Moritz Grumbach
Founded: 2014 in Munich, Germany

Interested in ordering refrigerators, radiant heaters or serviettes online? This Munich online B2B shop for catering supplies and kitchen technology makes it possible – for big commercial kitchens and small takeaways alike. www.gastrozentrale.de

Wynd Founder Ismeal Ould & Arthur Perticoz (photo)

Founders: Ismaél Ould, Arthur Perticoz
Founded: 2013 in Paris, France

Tailor-made IT solutions: to support the digitalisation of restaurants and cafés, these Paris entrepreneurs offer a software package that can be put together to meet the client’s specific needs. www.wynd.eu

GroupRaise Founder Devin Baptiste & Kevin Valdez & Paul Kwiatkowski & Sean Park (photo)

Founders: Devin Baptiste, Kevin Valdez, Paul Kwiatkowski, Sean Park
Founded: 2011 in Houston, USA

Dining to donate – that’s the idea behind this website from the USA. Groups make restaurant reservations online, and part of the profits are donated to an aid project of the diners’ choice. www.groupraise.com

Poshpacker Founder Anna Kojzar und Tania Cruz (photo)

Founders: Anna Kojzar, Tania Cruz
Founded: 2013 in Washington DC, USA

Want to spend a night in an igloo or cave? Along with hotels, hostels and apartments, this American reservation site offers lots of extraordinary places to bed down. www.poshpacker.co

Lunchio Founder Deniz Caglayan & Dennis Ortmann & Jan Christian Saupe & Sebastian Blautzik (photo)

Founders: Deniz Caglayan, Dennis Ortmann, Jan Christian Saupe, Sebastian Blautzik
Founded: 2015 in Witten, Germany

Lunchio promises a midday break without a wait. The app allows the user to order and pay for their desired meal in advance – and enjoy a stress-free lunch break in the restaurant. www.lunchio.de

Journy Founder Susan Ho & Amy Guo & Leiti Hsu (photo)

Founders: Susan Ho, Amy Guo, Leiti Hsu
Founded: 2014 in New York City, USA

From New York, a concept for individualised city trips: visitors to the website indicate what they want to see and do. The service contacts local experts and creates the itinerary. www.gojourny.com

Zenchef Founder Xavier Zeitoun & Thomas Zeitoun & Julien Balmont (photo)

Founders: Xavier Zeitoun, Thomas Zeitoun, Julien Balmont
Founded: 2010 in Paris, France

Busy restaurant managers can now build their website, manage their bookings, check their reviews and engage directly with their customers via e-mail. All with no effort. www.zenchef.com

Rublys Founder Manuel Zwittag (photo)

Founders: Manuel Zwittag
Founded: 2013 in Vienna, Austria

Mobile marketing from Vienna. Users of the app can choose from scratch-and-win chances offered by companies for free – a playful way to acquire new customers. www.rublys.com

Roomatic Founder Andreas van de Castel & Arnis Vuskans (photo)

Founders: Andreas van de Castel, Arnis Vuškāns
Founded: 2015 in Tallinn, Estonia

Mobile concierge and guest satisfaction platform: this app is useful to both guests and hoteliers alike. Get service without making a phone call and provide feedback to the hotel – on your smartphone, wherever you go. www.roomatic.net

Flowtify Founder Daniel Vollmer & Gabriel Schlatter & Parchin Mortazi (photo)

Founders: Daniel Vollmer, Gabriel Schlatter, Parshin Mortazi
Founded: 2015 in Cologne, Germany

This team from Cologne introduces an app for better consumer protection. Flowtify enables the paperless execution, documentation and archiving of quality and hygienic measures in accordance with HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points). www.flowtify.de