- Demo Day presentations to international investors in Berlin: Eleven start-ups of the first Techstars METRO Accelerator present their business concepts
- The development program promotes digital change in restaurant, hotel and catering businesses with innovative solutions
- Digitalization opens new opportunities of sustainable growth for METRO Cash & Carry customers in the restaurant and hotel sectors
Eleven participating start-ups present their digital business concepts at today’s Techstars METRO Accelerator Demo Day in Berlin to about 400 investors, experts, and multiplicators. The program of the first technology accelerator, with its specific focus on the hospitality industry, thereby comes to its peak: Following three intensive months with the mentors of the three partners METRO, Techstars and R/GA, a decision will be made regarding which investors the individual start-ups can additionally get on board to further their growth.
“Digital change has an impact on the business models of many independent entrepreneurs in restaurants and hotels. Digital solutions will fundamentally change the hospitality industry,” says Olaf Koch, Chairman of the Management Board of METRO AG. “Restaurants and hotels will develop innovative solutions to improve customer experience, establish new services, optimize processes and consequently boost quality and efficiency.” Although the presence on the Internet and in social networks has been established as a part of the business for some restaurants, hotels and catering companies, a crucially important customer group for METRO Cash & Carry, this is still an exception when viewed on an international scale.
The application of digital solutions to optimize business operations is currently still rare, even if the consequence of their use creates great opportunities for independent entrepreneurs to be even more successful. With the development program Techstars METRO Accelerator for start-ups, METRO has established the world’s first technology accelerator that specifically focuses on the hospitality sector. “We want to contribute intensively to this upcoming change by identifying the best ideas that create added value for our customers and by helping start-up entrepreneurs on their way to establishing a sustainable business. We envision enormous potential for this industry with the digitalization of the hospitality sector,” says Koch.
In cooperation with partners Techstars and R/GA, the first Techstars METRO Accelerator has selected eleven innovative start-ups, with the aim of supporting these hotels and restaurants to sustainably develop their businesses. From several hundred applicants, these eleven start-up teams were shortlisted for acceptance in the program in October 2015, each of them having received funding of up EUR 120,000. In the previous three months, the founders had access to market expertise and the customer and supplier networks of METRO. Around 120 mentors of the three partners provided support to the start-up teams for their next steps. And the goal was certainly ambitious: The start-ups were to develop their initial market experiences into successful business models. For example, the digital solutions from Coffee Cloud, Flowtify, Gastrozentrale, GroupRaise, Journy, Lunchio, Poshpacker, Roomatic, Rublys, Wynd and Zenchef have already been able to tap into new markets or prepare themselves for future growth. The companies come from the USA, France, Estonia, Austria and Germany.
METRO first set up the development program last year, in cooperation with the start-up investor Techstars. “We rely on partners like METRO to help increase the diversity of the Techstars community and contribute to what we can offer entrepreneurs around the globe,” said Techstars Co-Founder and Managing Partner David Brown. “The 11 companies presenting are representative of how disruption and innovation can improve untapped industries. Techstars is excited to hear how these businesses will continue to shape the way independently run hotels and restaurants do business.” “It has been an honor for R/GA to work with the start-ups in the program and to partner with a company as innovative as METRO,” says Stephen Plumlee Global Chief Operating Officer at the digital agency R/GA. “The result of the program is an extremely strong class of startups that offer the horeca sector new channels to attract, engage, and serve customers. R/GA looks forward to continuing to work with both METRO and the startups in the future.”
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Participating Start-ups in Techstars METRO Accelerator
- Founded 2015 in Tartu, Estonia
- Founders: Miroslav Kovač, Andreja Kovač
Coffee Cloud has developed an application with wireless connection for espresso machines for counting the number of cups of coffee made in real time and storing this data in the cloud. All drink orders 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 2015 in Cologne, Germany
- Founders: 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 systematic concept for food safety in compliance with public health-regulatory standards. Using paperless checklists, employees can conduct, document and archive quality assurance measures.
- Founded 2014 in Munich, Germany
- Founder: Moritz Grumbach (CEO)
Gastrozentrale.de is a B2B online shop for kitchen technology and restaurant/catering equipment. Customers with businesses that range from small snack bars to canteen kitchens can easily order napkins, industrial refrigerators or patio heaters online.
- Founded 2011 in Houston, Texas USA
- Founders: 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 percentage of the bill will be donated to a charitable project of their choice. The service also helps restaurants to increase their patronage during slower times.
- Founded 2014 in New York City, USA
- 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 a customized travel package that includes recommended restaurants, landmarks, and attractions. Reservations and bookings can also be made using Journy. The package costs 50 dollars per city.
- Founded 2015 in Witten, Germany
- Founders: Deniz Caglayan (Head of Marketing), Dennis Ortmann (Managing Partner), Jan Christian Saupe (CFO), Sebastian Blautzik (CTO)
Lunchio is an online waiter and restaurant guide specifically made for the time-limited lunch break. Users select a restaurant in their city, pre-order their favorite meal and pay. When they arrive at the restaurant, they don’t have to wait and can enjoy their lunch right away.
- Founded 2013 in Washington DC, USA
- Founders: Anna Kojzar (CEO), Tania Cruz (Co-Founder)
Thanks to 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 2014 in Tallinn, Estonia
- Founders: Andreas van de Castel (CEO), Arnis Vuškāns (CTO)
Roomatic allows guests at participating hotels to communicate their needs via app on their smartphones. The user can order a taxi or easily register a problem using the app. It also serves as a direct connection to room service.
- Founded 2013 in Vienna, Austria
- Founder: Manuel Zwittag (CEO)
rublys is a mobile marketing instrument that uses games of chance to help companies win new customers. With the app, users are able to select free scratch cards from companies of their choice to scratch and win prizes.
- Founded 2013 in Paris, France
- 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 2010 in Paris, France
- Founders: Xavier Zeitoun (CEO), Thomas Zeitoun (Key Account Director), Julien Balmont (CTO)
Zenchef has developed software solution for restaurants to enable them to easily create their own websites and manage incoming reservations. It additionally allows restaurants to conveniently inform their customers about what’s new, like changes to the menu, via newsletter and a social media tool.
METRO GROUP is one of the most important international retailing companies. It generated sales of some €59 billion in financial year 2014/15. The company operates at more than 2,000 locations in 30 countries and employs some 230,000 people. The performance of METRO GROUP is based on the strength of its sales brands, which act independently on the market: METRO/MAKRO Cash & Carry, the international leader in the self-service wholesale trade; Media Markt and Saturn, the European market leader in consumer electronics retailing; and Real hypermarkets.
Techstars is a global ecosystem that empowers entrepreneurs to bring new technologies to market wherever they choose to live. With dozens of mentorship-driven accelerator programs and thousands of start-up programs worldwide, Techstars exists to support the world’s most promising entrepreneurs throughout their lifelong journey, from inspiration to IPO. Techstars provides access to tens of thousands of community leaders, founders, mentors, investors, and corporate partners, allowing entrepreneurs to accelerate the pace of innovation and Do More Faster™. Techstars supports every stage of the entrepreneurial journey – from early stage grassroots community development to more formal opportunities that provide education, experience, acceleration, funding, and beyond.
R/GA, the company for the Connected Age, develops products, services and communications to develop our clients’ brands and businesses. Founded in 1977, the agency has been a pioneer at the intersection of technology, design and marketing with work spanning web, mobile, and social communications, retail and e-commerce, product innovation, brand development and business consulting. R/GA has more than 1,500 employees globally with offices across the United States, Europe, South America, and Asia-Pacific and is part of The Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE:IPG), one of the world’s largest advertising and marketing services organizations. R/GA is a member of the GAN (gan.co), a network of the world’s most respected accelerators and organizations in support of the startup ecosystem. For more information on R/GA, please visit www.rga.com, www.rgaaccelerator.com, @rgaventures and @rgaaccelerator.