Access to Decision-Makers in the Tech Industry – A talk with… Munich Network

‘Munich Network e.V.’ originated in 1984 as an initiative by Munich companies to introduce the necessary knowledge and new technologies to the industrial world in the information age. Since then, the association has particularly made a name for itself as a matchmaker for SMEs and innovation, or in other words, startups. For example, Munich Network connected Migros with the Munich startup Emmasbox. Its members include large enterprises such as Airbus, Bosch, Infineon, MAN and Siemens in addition to numerous SMEs and research institutions including Fraunhofer and the Max Planck Society. Our questions were answered by Katharina Hickel, Director of Innovation Scouting & Sourcing at Munich Network.

Please introduce yourself!

Munich Network is the innovation matchmaker. On our platform, we connect relevant players who would otherwise not find each other. What’s special is that as a non-profit organization, we’re neutral and independent.

Katharina Hickel, Director of Innovation Scouting & Sourcing at Munich Network

In concrete terms, we have more than 35,500 global contacts, more than 2,300 tech industry member contacts and are personally connected with more than 400 of the most relevant startup centers in more than 40 countries on six continents. Our strongest group of members is made up of technology companies, which includes large and globally active companies, established mid-sized companies and ambitious young companies. We also have research institutions, investors, consulting firms and exceptional entrepreneurs as members. All of them taken together make up a large portion of Germany’s innovation and technology landscape.

Scouting, sourcing and matchmaking

What do you offer startups?

We directly and immediately connect the world’s best startups with the decision makers in the established technology companies in our network. We have two offers for startups: In the field of “Innovation Scouting & Sourcing,” we actively look for the most innovative startups that are a match for the fields of innovation sought out by one or more technology companies. On our “Innovation Platform,” startups can register with us if they are looking for collaboration partners or would like to be noticed by our members. We also offer startups the opportunity to pitch at all of our networking events to become more visible.

What do you focus on when collaborating with startups?

In principle, a personal and direct exchange of ideas with founders as well as transparent communication are of top priority. That’s why startups that are interested in our matchmaking offers are explicitly invited to get involved and can count on us listening when needed.

In terms of content, we focus on working with startups with technology-driven B2B or B2B2C innovations. An important aspect of our services is thoroughly preparing startups before they personally meet innovation leaders.

Groundbreaking innovation and a powerful founding team

To be successful, a startup needs to…

… have a groundbreaking innovation, a smart and powerful founding team and, for a direct line to the technology industry — which includes potential partners, customers and investors, — they need to collaborate with Munich Network.

Why would a startup need Munich Network?

We provide direct access to the decision makers in the German technology industry.

“Ambitious tech founders can do no wrong”

What’s the biggest mistake a startup can make?

Ambitious tech founders can do no wrong. At worst, they gather valuable experience. At best, they become a major success. That being said, a clear vision is essential when it comes to working with a large enterprise.

The trend of the year is…

… in the field of technology, it’s artificial intelligence and its applications across all industries. It’s a trend of the future whose use will fundamentally change our economy and society over the long term.

Which conditions make the Munich startup scene so special?

There are top-class technology startups in Munich. With more than 130,000 students, Munich universities in particular are veritable talent factories. Moreover, no other German city is home to more DAX-listed companies.

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

There are no obstacles. We’re a small, capable team, and every one of us can be contacted at events, by phone or by email. For all matters relating to matchmaking with our industrial members, Franziska Huber, Rosanna Günzel and I would be happy to hear from you.