© UnternehmerTUM / Bert Willer

A talk with… MakerSpace

Since 2015, a high-tech workshop has been located in Munich-Garching that has turned out to be a true talent factory. Renowned names from the Munich startup scene such as ProGlove, ParkHere and Glasschair have used the exceptionally equipped MakerSpace for their prototyping. As members, they have access to expensive machinery that cannot be found in just any maker lab — thanks to partners like BMW, SAP and Würth.

Please briefly introduce yourselves and MakerSpace.

MakerSpace, a service offered by UnternehmerTUM, is a public high-tech workshop covering more than 16,000 ft² that gives its members access to machinery, tools and software and also to a creative community.

With the workshop, we are reaching out to ambitious startups, DIYers and company partners. At MakerSpace, ideas and innovations are turned into reality in the form of prototypes and small series. Different work areas are available, including a machine shop, metal and wood shop, as well as areas for textile and electronic processing. 3D printers, laser cutters and a water jet cutter make it possible to create new designs and work with all kinds of materials. For support and networking, we offer training and consultation services along with events for members at all levels of proficiency. We also organize creative events and company continued education in the startup realm.

47 employees and coaches support our members with their projects.

Kunststoff-Laser-Sinter-System im Makerspace.
MakerSpace makes it possible to work with a plastic laser sintering system. © UnternehmerTUM MakerSpace /Patrick Ranz

Why does the high-tech workshop fill a major gap in the Munich startup scene?

Our open workshop complements the existing workshops offered in Munich by offering tools and machines from the high-tech industry. One example would be the CNC machines such as our water jet cutting system, a vertical CNC machining center, a CNC lathe in the metal shop and a CNC mill in the wood shop. We also offer an electronics workshop that includes a PCB milling machine and a mounting machine. That makes it possible for startups to use machines here that they would not otherwise have access to. New possibilities are offered, especially for building prototypes.

CNC Fräse im Einsatz
The CNC mill at work. © UnternehmerTUM MakerSpace /Patrick Ranz

Which startups have been in the workshop? Tell us your success stories.

A fantastic example is WARR Hyperloop. Two WARR Hyperloop teams from the TUM have already built their high-speed pods at MakerSpace and both won in the speed category of the SpaceX Hyperloop Competition hosted by Elon Musk in California. A new team is currently working on the third WARR Hyperloop pod in the high-tech workshop. They will be taking part in the next competition in summer 2018 — we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed!

Other extremely successful startups that have used the high-tech workshop include ProGlove, ParkHere, Glasschair, KEWAZO, Acrai and Roboy.

Do you offer special services for startups?

We offer startups special scholarships — they help teams at MakerSpace build their prototypes and develop their ideas at a more rapid pace. The teams also benefit from the unparalleled UnternehmerTUM network made up of startups, creatives, companies and experts.

Regardless of whether you are a student, founder or do-it-yourselfer: Everyone is welcome to become a MakerSpace member. Various membership and scholarship offers are available.

Teams arbeiten im Makerspace
Lots to do © UnternehmerTUM / Bert Willer

 “To be successful, a startup needs to…”

…build prototypes in order to detect sources of error and to quickly and optimally continue developing their product or idea.

What is the biggest mistake a startup can make?

Getting started without strong and experienced partners.

The trend of the year is…!

…hackathons and makeathons.

Which characteristics make the Munich startup scene so special?

For tech startups in particular, Munich offers an exceptional environment: Seven DAX corporations and thousands of SMEs in the high-tech industry are located here. Collaboration between established companies and startups works particularly well in Munich.

CNC Holzfräse im MakerSpace der UnternehmerTUM
Wood CNC mills are also available at the high-tech workshop. © UnternehmerTUM MakerSpace /Patrick Ranz

Last but not least: Whom should startups contact if they would like to contact you?

First, we would like to invite everyone to come experience MakerSpace first-hand! You can come by every day without registration to one of our free public tours, which we offer at 9 am, 12 noon, 3 pm and 6 pm. The crew will show you the machinery available at MakerSpace and also share some initial advice for your projects at MakerSpace. Our front desk team will then help you select the best membership offer.

More information about MakerSpace