Adrenaline in the Audimax
At first glance, the atmosphere resembles a school theater performance. Shortly before the start of the play, long lines form outside the event venue. Inside the hall, the actors, most of whom are well-known to the audience, mix their stage fright with the audience's benevolent curiosity. From the beginning, you can feel the enthusiasm and passion of the participants, both on and in front of the stage. Some openly admit to being nervously excited: "I am stoked." This also applies to Ram Shoham, the Director of Entrepreneurship, who further fuels the atmosphere by inviting everyone who has developed an appetite for startups during the Demo Day to join the next Accelerator program, which is set to start in a few months. Therefore, it's not an exaggeration when Nils Stieglitz, the President of the University, declares the evening to be a big party: a "celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship."
However, even though there is as much adrenaline in the Audimax as in a high school auditorium, the Demo Day at the Entrepreneurship Centre at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management has little in common with school theater. Because, especially during the presentation of the six business models competing in the pitch, it becomes clear that young founders are here who are professionally engaged in entrepreneurship. No one gets lost in rhapsodies about their business idea. Instead, there are very concise descriptions of what it's all about, combined with a package of arguments about why each business model can succeed in the market: How is the market divided, what can we do better than others, how much money do we need to scale up, what is the realistic revenue potential? This is not "youth research"; this is "Demo Day."
From fashion via automotive to medicine
Jonas presents a fashion app that allows users to dress a personal avatar while shopping online. Diego offers a Connectors-as-a-Service solution to help automotive suppliers create digital twins in their supply chain. Ula presents a platform that enables creatives to invest in film productions or book projects. Alex promotes an Edtech application that teaches French not through boring trips to Paris with the help of the in Germany legendary school book family Leroc but through topics that personally interest foreign language learners. Felix presents his plant-based solution for cell culture systems, which helps reduce the carbon footprint in medical laboratories.
In the end, Mediceo wins – an app that facilitates rapid access to critical information for medical doctors. This is certainly also because the two founders and CEOs, Tom and Matthias, have enough marketing talent to sell a double bed to the Pope himself. The prize money of 30,000 Euros that Tom and Matthias take home is only a small part of the sum the startup needs to move forward. However, the emotional return of the Demo Day, the return on happiness that the duo, like their competitors, reaps on this evening as they are celebrated by a packed hall of fellow students, is likely to be quite high.