Innovation to Fight Climate Change — A talk with ClimateLaunchpad

ClimateLaunchpad helps cleantech startups develop successful business models. The project is managed in Germany by UnternehmerTUM, the entrepreneurship center of the Technical University of Munich. We had a talk with them to find out what ClimateLaunchpad is all about.

In a nutshell: What is ClimateLaunchpad?

ClimateLaunchpad is the world’s largest competition for green business ideas. We look for scalable business ideas that are technologically promising and of particular relevance to climate change. Selected projects then receive support to turn their idea into a business concept, which they then pitch to a jury. Last year, nearly 1000 ideas were submitted from 35 countries, and more than 350 teams participated in the ClimateLaunchpad competition. ClimateLaunchpad is offered by EIT Climate-KIC, Europe’s largest network for innovation to fight climate change.

“It doesn’t matter if the idea is only on the back of a napkin or if a business plan already exists”

How is UnternehmerTUM involved?

UnternehmerTUM offers founders comprehensive services from the initial idea up to becoming a listed company. A team of experienced entrepreneurs, scholars, managers and investors support startups in the development of their products and services. More than 200 employees offer active support with building the company, entering the market and financing — which also includes venture capital. The major challenges facing society today are climate change, the energy transition and the scarcity of resources. With ClimateLaunchpad, UnternehmerTUM is supporting the initiation and development of green solutions at an early stage.

What startups are explicitly addressed by the competition?

ClimateLaunchpad is open to anyone with a green business idea that they want to continue to develop. The ideas can be from areas such as renewable energy, food or mobility. The most important thing is that it fights climate change. And it doesn’t matter if the idea is only on the back of a napkin or if a business plan already exists.

Why should green startups participate?

The competition promotes green startups and innovators and helps them advance their ideas. The program starts with a two-day boot camp followed by in-depth business coaching. The goal is to turn an idea into a successful business concept. At the end, the teams pitch their ideas to a jury at the National Final in Munich. The three best teams then have the opportunity to participate in the Grand Final in Edinburgh for prize money and a ticket to the Climate-KIC Accelerator.

The 2017 ClimateLaunchpad winners.
The 2017 ClimateLaunchpad winners.

 Twaice, Invenox, Blue Inductive and Tado all participated in ClimateLaunchpad

What is the next big trend in green technology?

Trends in the cleantech field of technology are as multi-faceted as the field itself. From my own experience, successful business ideas are arising in the digitization of hardware. Take the 2017 German finalist team Twaice, which combines cloud technology with battery systems in cars to reduce costs for battery development and tests while also increasing the reliability and lifespan of batteries.

How is the Munich startup scene positioned in this area?

Munich is positioned very well and provides an ideal startup ecosystem with its combination of industry, universities and VCs. Munich has a great deal of potential in terms of green ideas, and we want to highlight that fact with ClimateLaunchpad. We have already been able to successfully support startups like Invenox, Blue Inductive and Tado with the Climate-KIC Accelerator.

How and where can you apply to participate?

Teams that are interested can apply until May 17, 2018 at

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