Photo: Andreas Gebert

Making Friends or Networking? The Second Day at Bits & Pretzels

A world champion, a Game of Thrones star, two accomplished businesswomen and the winner of the pitch competition: Bits & Pretzels kept up the impressive tempo even after such a sensational start on Sunday.

What has happened so far: on the opening day on Sunday, Stefan Raab celebrated his comeback at Bits & Pretzels. The comedian made his first public appearance after nearly two years in Munich.

The dust had settled somewhat by Monday, but the program continued to impress with high-ranking guests: Philipp Lahm took the lead. Together with the company’s founders, the World Cup captain reported about the business model of his investment project Fanmiles and how they found common ground.

DLD founder Stephanie Czerny  met someone whom she considers one of her role models: entrepreneur and Professor  Ann-Kristin Achleitner. The two successful women talked about core topics in the startup scene: Czerny asked Achleitner how the practical skills needed for entrepreneurship could be taught theoretically at University. What a university can do, answered the professor of entrepreneurship, is help students discover their own potential.

Achleitner added that it is invaluable to have confidantes who you can discuss and work with on your path to becoming a successful entrepreneur. She herself is never really looking to make network contacts, but is instead interested in making real friends:

“I don’t like networking so much, but friendship is important.”

Both Czerny and Achleitner were united by their enthusiasm for the Munich startup scene with its top-notch education, strong economy and excellent networking. One major difference compared to the world’s other major ecosystems is that Munich is not forced on people as much by the media.

A virtual tour through the Holodeck

In the meantime, the program continued on other stages: visitors to the Academy Stage received practical assistance on how to deal with classic startup questions. Corporates presented themselves and their work to the audience; startups pitched to investors. In contrast to the world’s largest startup festivals like SXSW or Web Summit, visitors at Bits & Pretzels can take part in the majority of what is offered on the schedule since the Munich startup festival has less overlap than the other large events.

Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted
Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted, photo: Dan Taylor,

During the breaks between sessions, taking a look at the exhibits presented by startups, organizations and corporates was worthwhile. Holodeck VR set up their virtual world in their very own room: Visitors were able to physically walk through four different worlds and also experience product visualization from the Munich-based clothing manufacturer Bogner.


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And the winner is…

Throughout both days of the conference, a pitch competition took place on a separate stage. With much better acoustics compared to last year, one hundred pre-selected startups competed with one another in six thematic clusters. In the final round, the winners from each of the six clusters competed against one another. The winner CATCHYS now gets to participate in the Extreme Tech Challenge on Richard Branson’s dream destination, Necker Island.

The winner of the Munich Startup Award was also determined — but has yet to be announced. The best Munich startup from the pitch competition will receive its award and prize money amounting to 5,000 from Deputy Mayor Josef Schmid tomorrow at the Bits & Pretzels Octoberfest event in the Schottenhamel Tent. The Munich Startup Award was given to Cleverciti last year.

Read our account of the opening day of Bits & Pretzels.