Munich Startup: What does impact mean to you?
Andy Goldstein: To us, impact means holistic added value. It’s not just about economic aspects, but also about social and ecological value and a matter of critically considering the positive and negative effects of every business model. At the end of last year, we learned we had been accepted to receive the funding initiative EXIST-Potentials from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). Here at the LMU EC, the funding is being invested in ‘Impact Thinking’ in particular.
Munich Startup: How would you describe your new impact strategy for the LMU EC?
Andy Goldstein: All of us here at the LMU EC would like to give startups, with or without an impact background, the opportunity to define and implement their own impact strategy. That can involve existing or future products and services. We’re working in close collaboration with the Institute for Innovation Management (IIM) at the LMU to develop an impact approach based on programs and research. We’re also working together with our colleagues at the Social Entrepreneurship Academy (SEA).
The concept of impact should be integrated into every development stage of a startup
Munich Startup: What does the strategy mean in detail for the startups you support?
Andy Goldstein: Every startup receives ‘Impact Coaching.’ The topic of ‘Holistic Impact’ is also thoroughly examined during our monthly ‘Insight Days.’ These events are specifically about getting the startup teams ready for investors, developing their business models further and focusing on the topic of impact. Of course we also continue to explore economic topics in great depth. What’s important to us is for impact not to be reduced to a numerical evaluation, but rather for the concept of impact to be integrated as a fundamental part of every stage of development of a startup. Thanks to our collaboration with IIM, global insight about impact based on research and practical experience is available, which allows us to give our startups important and practical information.
Munich Startup: The Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship (SCE) has also focused on impact for quite some time. To what extent do you work with the SCE?
Andy Goldstein: We work together quite closely. The SCE and the LMU EC have made it our common goal to promote startup impact. The SCE focuses more on the social aspect of impact. We work in close cooperation and are excited about moving the ecosystem in this direction together. Together with the Technical University of (TU) Munich, a third large university in the region, we plan to create theMunich B2B Co-Creation Hub (MCCH) within the framework of the funding initiative ‘EXIST-Potentials’ to strengthen and internationalize Munich as a place of innovation.
“The economy needs to think very hard about what the world actually needs”
Munich Startup: Can startups apply to your program even if they don’t have an impact focus?
Andy Goldstein: Of course! The LMU EC Accelerator is still open to all teams, with or without an impact focus, and we’re happy to work with teams from all fields and sectors in addressing impact as well.
Munich Startup: What is the aim of your strategy?
Andy Goldstein: There needs to be a fundamental change in thinking. The economy needs to think very hard about what the world actually needs. Addressing and implementing these topics works best in a startup. That is exactly where we come in at the LMU EC, because we can now support startups even more intensely to generate sustainable and social added value. And that is why we collaborated with our partners to create the project “Startup Impact Readiness: Enabling Entrepreneurs to be an International Transformational Force,” which we were able to secure with the funds from the EXIST-Potentials funding initiative.
Munich Startup: What are your most recent success stories in terms of impact?
Andy Goldstein: There are several teams in our current batch of 18 startups that have holistically integrated impact into their business models. One example is Munevo. Munevo has developed proportional head control for electric wheelchairs. It works with smartglasses and provides more independent mobility and autonomy for disabled people. Environmental responsibility is also just as important at the LMU EC Accelerator: The startup VK Energie puts the focus on the efficiency of power stations for heating with its patented process for ‘active thermal storage management’ and the use of artificial intelligence, which is helping to advance the energy transition in Germany.
Pitches, Pizza & Praktika
Munich Startup: Apart from the new impact strategy, what else is new at the LMU EC?
Andy Goldstein: We are constantly creating new initiatives that contribute to our mission of ‘empowering entrepreneurs.’ The feedback from our community also plays an important role and is one of the factors that create our different series of events. Our latest event, ‘It’s a Co-Founder Match,’ connects founding teams and is now held on a regular basis. ‘The Legal Event’, which we organize with our long-standing partner Baker Tilly to share tips and tricks about founding, financing and internationalization, was held for the first time and was a great success. Since December, we’ve also been offering students the monthly opportunity to get up close and personal with our startups and ask questions during our ‘Pitches, Pizza & Praktika’ (Pitches, Pizza & Internships) event. Further ideas and initiatives are in the pipeline and we’re looking forward to an exciting year!