Berlin, 17 August 2016 - The METRO Accelerator powered by Techstars is entering its second round. This time, more than 600 start-up teams from 65 countries have submitted an application for one of the ten coveted spots at the METRO Accelerator in Berlin, a roughly 20 per cent increase on last year's submissions. On 12 September, the top ten start-ups will commence their work in Berlin and further develop their digital solutions for 'Hospitality 2.0' in a three-month programme. In December, they will present their solutions to potential investors. Throughout this period, the start-ups will be supported by mentors from the industry and by METRO, who will contribute its infrastructure, network and know-how.
"Following a highly successful start of the accelerator last year, we are now looking forward to new, fresh ideas. The innovations developed by the start-ups support our customers and the entire hospitality sector in their efforts to become more digital and to grow further," said Olaf Koch, Chairman of the Management Board of METRO AG. "As a global retailing company, we are closely following the trends surrounding Hospitality 2.0 and speeding up the digitalisation process with our accelerator program. At the same time, we are promoting networking and making new services and solutions accessible to our customers."
METRO Accelerator in demand around the world
Over a period of three months, founder teams from all over the world who develop digital solutions for the hotel, restaurant and catering (Horeca) sector had the opportunity to apply for the METRO Accelerator. The number of applications received rose again in 2016. More than 600 start-ups from 65 countries supplied an application - among others, from international start-up hotspots such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel and France. "The quality of the applications was high. Many companies already have established products in the marketplace and generate sales, and some of these companies are already profitable. This shows that the METRO Accelerator has established itself as an attractive platform and driver for Hospitality 2.0," said Jens Lapinski, Managing Director of Techstars and responsible for the METRO Accelerator. "This year, the top ten start-ups exclusively include companies that have already successfully launched their product on the market and that METRO and Techstars can assist in effectively scaling up their business."
Looking for an idea & execution
Not only is the business idea important in the selection of the ten participants who will be assisted in Berlin over a period of three months in Berlin by an industry mentor and will benefit from the infrastructure, network, access and know-how provided by METRO. The applicants must also be able to work as a team and as entrepreneurs to establish their ideas in the marketplace. "We are looking for innovative ideas with a strong entrepreneurial basis. The determining factor is the combination of an idea, a founder team, a network and the ability to market the product," stressed Alexander Zumdieck, Managing Director of METRO and responsible for the METRO Accelerator.
For the choice of the best start-ups, around a dozen experts from a variety of functions at METRO formed a roughly 20-member committee together with top-level mentors and experts from the American partner company Techstars. Each expert provides a personal appraisal of the people and the business idea of the start-ups. After several selection rounds, the ten participants were selected from the final 20 applicants after a series of personal interviews.
Further information on the process and details of the programme can be found at www.metroaccelerator.com, blog.metroaccelerator.com and on Twitter at @MetroAccel.