- Techstars METRO Accelerator supports Digital Transformation in restaurants, hotels and catering companies
- Eleven international startup teams are moving to Berlin for three months
- New technologies help independent entrepreneurs from the hospitality industry develop their business
Techstars METRO Accelerator opens its doors today and announces the start-ups taking part in its programme. International teams from five countries are moving into the offices of German Tech Entrepreneurship Center in Berlin. For three months, they will benefit from the focused support of mentors as well as financial support to expand their business model internationally. The Accelerator is organised by METRO along with US partners Techstars and the advertising agency R/GA. It will foster the development of innovative solutions for the hospitality industry.
Eleven start-ups made it into the programme. Among them are companies that produce software solutions and apps for restaurant owners, caterers and hoteliers, such as www.1001menus.com, Flowtify or Wynd, travel and restaurant services such as Lunchio or Journy, and webshops such as Gastrozentrale.de. The companies are based in the United States, France, Estonia, Austria and Germany.
"The quality of the start-ups is impressive," said Olaf Koch, CEO of METRO AG. "The teams have access to mentorship, technical support, help in company planning, sector expertise as well as financial support." For Koch digitalisation is of great importance: "The Accelerator is a catalyst for value creation. Our customers in the hospitality sector can benefit a lot from new digital solutions. The Accelerator helped us to identify great business concepts. Now our focus will be on supporting them on their way to even more success. In a certain way this is the logical next step on our mission to be "champion for independent business", both for our core customers and as well for start-up entrepreneurs. We see huge potential for digital solutions in the hospitality industry in Europe. That's why we've developed this programme along with Techstars and R/GA."
Several hundred start-ups from 20 countries applied for Techstars METRO Accelerator. Jury members who include industry experts selected the companies based on common criteria as well as their experience and knowledge. Starting today, the best start-ups will develop their digital solutions for restaurateurs and hoteliers in a three-month programme, ending with a "Demo Day" at the end of January 2016 when they will present themselves to potential investors.
"METRO is such a great brand in the industry, it has really helped attract great start-ups. The way METRO has contributed to this programme and offered access to the corporation shows real thought leadership," summarised Managing Partner and Techstars co-founder David Brown.
Alexander Zumdieck, METRO Managing Director of Techstars METRO Accelerator, provided a glimpse into the selection process: "We filtered out the best start-ups from of hundreds of applications. It was not easy, since the quality of applications was very high. We looked at them from many different angles to choose the best teams and the most promising business models that will provide our core customers - independent business owners - with new products and services and make them more competitive."
Rob Johnson, who runs Techstars METRO Accelerator along with Alexander Zumdieck, appreciates this great potential for development: "Our programme is the first accelerator in the world to be focused on the digital revolution in hotels and restaurants. We look forward to three intense months with these young technology companies. We'll do our best to support the teams in their work on digital solutions in the food and hotel sector, and to open up any opportunities that we can for them."
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The following companies impressed our expert jury:
- Founded: in Tartu, Estonia in 2015
- Founder: Miroslav Kovač, Andreja Kovač
- Coffee Cloud has developed an application with wireless connection for espresso machines that counts how many cups of coffee are made in real time and saves the data in Cloud. All drinks are reliably billed. At the same time, the device monitors the machines and informs the user when an appliance has to be repaired or cleaned.
- Founded: in Cologne, Germany in 2015
- Founder: Daniel Vollmer (CEO), Gabriel Schlatter (CTO), Parshin Mortazi (co-founder)
- Flowtify develops a tablet-app for quality and HACCP-management for restaurateurs and restaurants. HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) is a concept for risk assessment of critical control points and serves as a preventative system for consumer protection by hygiene regulations. Using paperless checklists, employees can exercise, document and archive quality measure.
- Founded in Munich, Germany in 2014
- Founder: Moritz Grumbach (CEO)
- Gastrozentrale.de is a B2B online shop for kitchen technology and restaurant/catering equipment. From small food stands to canteen kitchens, customers can easily order napkins, industrial refrigerators or patio heaters online.
- Founded in Houston, USA in 2011
- Founder: Devin Baptiste (CEO), Kevin Valdez (COO), Paul Kwiatkowski (Chief Tenacity Officer), Sean Park (CMO)
- GroupRaise.com helps to raise donations for aid projects. When a group books a table at a participating restaurant, a percent of the bill will be donated to a help project of their choosing. Restaurants can this way increase their capacity in difficult times.
- Founded in New York City, USA in 2014
- Founders: Susan Ho (CEO), Amy Guo (CTO), Leiti Hsu (Chief Journyist)
- Users tell Journy what they want to see and do in any particular city. The service then consults local experts and puts together an individual tailor-made travel plan. The package costs 50 dollars per city.
- Founded in Witten, Germany in 2015
- Founder: Deniz Caglayan (Head of Marketing), Dennis Ortmann (Managing Partner), Jan Christian Saupe (CFO), Sebastian Blautzik (CTO)
- Lunchio is an online waiter and restaurant guide for lunch. Users select a restaurant in their city, pre-order their favourite meal and pay. When they arrive at the restaurant, they don't have to wait and can eat their lunch right away.
- Founded in Washington DC, USA in 2013
- Founders: Anna Kojzar (CEO), Tania Cruz (Co-Founder)
- Thanks for Poshpacker, travelers can easily and affordably book creative hotels, hostels or apartments around the world. The hotel booking site distinguishes itself from the competition by offering extraordinary places to sleep like igloos and caves.
- Founded in Tallinn, Estonia in 2014
- Founders: Andreas van de Castel (CEO), Arnis Vuškāns (CTO)
- Roomatic allows hotel guests to communicate their needs with their smartphone. The user orders a taxi by app or registers a problem easily with the application, or get in touch directly with room service.
- Found in Vienna, Austria in 2013
- Founder: Manuel Zwittag (CEO)
- rublys is a gambling mobile-marketing-instrument with which companies can win new customers. With the app and free of cost, users can choose scratch cards from companies, scratch and win prizes.
- Founded in Paris, France in 2013
- Founders: Ismaél Ould (CEO), Arthur Perticoz (CMO)
- Wynd offers a software package with various modules for restaurateurs to help them digitalize their restaurants or cafés.
- Founded in Paris, France in 2010
- Founders: Xavier Zeitoun (CEO), Thomas Zeitoun (Key Account Director), Julien Balmont (CTO)
- 1001menus has developed a restaurant software that helps restaurants to create their own websites in a quick and simple way, as well as to manage their reservations. Furthermore, restaurants can easily let their customers know what's new, like changes to the menu, with their newsletter and social media tool.