The digital delegation trip from 26th Oct – 30th Oct 2020 organized by GINSEP for Indian startups and investors to Germany concluded with an expo where all startups presented their products and services once more to partners and stakeholders. 19 pre-selected Indian startups from the digital healthcare and industrial digitization sector and 20 investors including angel investors, VCs and early stage funds with an investment range of USD 10,000 to USD 5 million participated in the tour. Locations covered included Berlin, Munich Karlsruhe and Düsseldorf / Cologne. It was an intensive and engaging program with knowledge sessions, pitch events, exchange/networking formats, an online expo and a digital city tour.

The tour offered an excellent opportunity for start-ups to exchange ideas, validate business plans, develop products or services further, meet potential business partners, clients and stakeholders from the German start-up ecosystem as well as present their business model to investors and corporates.

Simultaneously, investors had the unique opportunity to connect with Indian and German startups from different regions of Germany, explore potential partnerships with local VC funds, learn about the German startup ecosystem as well as understand investment regulations.

The digital journey began on 26th Oct 2020 in Berlin which is Germany’s primary hub for startups. The participants were welcomed by Mrs. Caroline Silva-Garbade from the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy. Thereafter, Mr. Julian Zix from GINSEP gave a short introduction and outlined the program. This was followed by a detailed presentation by the German Startup Association on the startup landscape and its potential for investments and Berlin as a startup & investor destination by Berlin Partner for Business and Technology. The next session for startups was on the topic of fundraising and pitch training. The day ended with a pitch session for the 9 startups from the industrial digitization vertical. The start-ups pitched their business models to Indian and German investors.

During the second day of the tour, the start-ups and investors visited Munich virtually, Germany’s second largest startup city. The day started with a workshop on design thinking for the selected startups conducted by d-Van. It offered the startups an overview about the steps in the design thinking process that can be applied to their businesses. In parallel, investors participated in a session on the topic of Investing Abroad – Outgoing Channels, Regulations & Taxes conducted by Unicorn Ventures and Khaitan Legal. This was followed by a presentation on Bavaria as a startup and investor destination by Invest in Bavaria. Further to this, there was an insightful session on the topic of ‘Digitization in Industry and Healthcare: Patents and Data Protection – Think Ahead for the European Market’, conducted by the reputed law firm BOEHMERT & BOEHMERT. Participants could gain valuable insights on what can be protected by patents in Europe as well as protection requirements to be taken into account when harnessing data within the EU.

Two Indian Entrepreneurs Santhosh Jayaprakash from Ankercloud and Ayan from Kruzr narrated their experiences about establishing and successfully scaling up their business in Germany in an engaging session. After this, the startups had the chance to interact with two of Germany’s major corporates Bosch Haushaltsgeräte and EP Ehrler Prüftechnik GmbH to learn about how to work with corporates and the German “Mittelstand”. The action-packed day ended with a pitch session for 10 Indian startups from the Digital Health Sector.

The third stop of the trip was in Karlsruhe which is an emerging startup hub. The city of Karlsruhe together with the Economic Development authority Baden Baden as well as CyberLab presented opportunities in the region of Karlsruhe and Baden Baden for startups and investors. It was followed by a market information session on Digital Health sector by Medical Valley EMN e.V.  The highlight of the day was a virtual excursion to FZI House of Living Labs. It was very exciting for start-ups to virtually visit the facilities and understand more about the offerings of the FZI House of Living Labs. In parallel, three startups from Karlsruhe pitched their business ideas to investors. There was a fund pitch as well by leading German startup funds namely Project A, Atlantic Labs & Redstone who are interested in reaching out to foreign investors and attracting investments for their funds. This was followed by a networking for all participants with GINSEP Ambassadors comprising of incubators, investors, startups, investment agencies and industry experts among others.

On day 4, the State of North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW) which has a dynamic startup scene warmly welcomed the participants. It was yet another power packed day with an elaborate program. City of

Düsseldorf – Office of Economic Development authority and Köln.Business made a presentation about the vibrant start-up scene in the state. There were parallel sessions on setting up a business and investing in Germany conducted by well-known legal firms for start-ups and investors respectively. This was immensely beneficial to understand the rules, regulations, procedures and taxes while starting up or investing in Germany. Furthermore, one of the most enthralling and memorable experiences was a digital city tour through Düsseldorf and Köln which explained the history and the sights of both cities in more detail.

On the last day, there was an online Expo where startups could showcase their products to all stakeholders as well as meet up with partners and ambassadors of the program. The journey concluded with a debriefing on how GINSEP can support Indian startups and investors with their business activities in Germany. Overall, the tour was a great success and positively received by the participants. This exchange will further strengthen cross border collaborations and partnerships between the Indian and German startup ecosystems.