Startup Safary Leipzig – A journey through Leipzig’s Startup Scene
It’s definitely no longer a secret that within the past years Leipzig developed from the underdog to one of the most exciting cities in Eastern Germany. A major role played André Nikolski and Marco Weicholdt from the Basislager Coworking Space. They regularly organize events connecting the scene and awaking attention beyond the borders of the city. On the 11th and 12th of May, the Startup Safary took place already for the third time. It’s a two-day rallye for interested founders and investors with different locations in the entire city.
The one who is going on a safari is generally looking for the most impressive animals of the African savanna, the so called “Big Five”. However, instead of detecting elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard in the Kruger National Park, we rather explore the urban jungle during the two days of the Startup Safary and discover the thrilling scene of Leipzig’s young entrepreneurs.
Thursday, 11th of May 2017, 10 am – LVZ-Dome
The timetable is on and on Thursday morning we are beginning with the Kick-off at the glass dome of the Leipziger Volkszeitung. After a short welcome of Leipzig’s mayor Burkhart Jung the first ten pitches are introduced. Next to the local Startup’s, five international teams present themselves in five minute slots. Afterwards the audience decides for the winner presenting the best pitch. While Jens and Lucas from Fluxbag are celebrating their victory, we take a deeper look on their invention. One breath of air is enough to fill Fluxbag an innovative air pump with air. After this first step you can easily inflate whatever you want. Quite handy! But why decided Jens and Lucas to come to Leipzig? “Leipzig is for us the best city of Germany at the moment and we just ask ourselves why we didn’t come earlier!”
Thursday, 11th of May 2017, 1 pm – Spreadshirt
We hop on our bikes and cycle from Leipzig’s Südvorstadt to Plagwitz to reach Spreadshirt. After a quick guided tour through the colourful and loft-like headquarter of one of the most famous startups of Leipzig – in the meantime one of the most successful – we are listening to Elmar Kühn’s presentation. The leader of the subcontractor TeamShirts is talking about how decisions are made by inexperienced founders. “The Startup Safary is a great opportunity to show interested attendees processes behind the scenes and also to talk about personal problems and steps as a young founder.” “There are a lot of clever and young people in Leipzig with all the qualities to realize themselves in a Startup“, argues Elmar.
Thursday, 11th of May 2017, 2 pm – Spin Lab
Quite close on the grounds of the old cotton factory, we are visiting the Spin Lab. Where once a hundred of spin wheels produced cotton, there is now only a huge hall but with at least the same importance. A substantial mixture of consultation, networks, infrastructure and Vitamin B is provided for the Startups. Among all others we get to know Christiane Seitz and Tiffany La from the Start-up Wundercurves, a search engine for Oversize-Fashion. “We consciously decided to found our company in Leipzig. The network is closely linked and just great. As there often arise similar problems we always have a counterpart, somebody who can give us a good advice”, explain the women about their work at the Spin Lab.
Thursday, 11th of May 2017, 6 pm – Social Impact Lab
Next location: Social Impact Lab. Quite idyllic directly next to the Karl-Heine-Channel we do also get a guided tour through the Co-Working-Space. Five so called Social Start-ups explain how they want to improve our world. It’s a quite creative pitch concept: They have to present their ideas in ten images, each in ten seconds. Some are more some are less striking. Nevertheless while having a beer or lemonade not only questions but business cards are exchanged.
Thursday, 11th of May 2017, 7 pm – Basislager
A short glimpse on our watches reminds us that our plans might have been a bit too ambitious. The Business Speed Date will start in five minutes. But whatever, we are not on wellness vacations we are on a safari. Not as quick as in the morning we are cycling back from the West to the South where the Speed Dating of the Digital Media Women already started. The room is quite crowed so that some more tables and chairs have to be organized to get space for everyone. Instead of two flirty singles, two interested founders are sitting in front of each other and get two minutes of time to get to know the counterpart. Next to interesting and inspiring talks, the Digital Media Women explain that they organize this kind of events quite frequently to connect women of that scene. But what about the men? Of course, they are also totally welcome.
Friday, 12th of May 2017, 10 am – BIO CITY
The second day takes place in the South-East of Leipzig at BIO CITY LEIPZIG. It’s a location where companies and Start-ups, offices and labs as well as science and economics come together. We are guided through the architecturally impressive area of the bio-technological center where one can find more than 43 companies as well as the bio-technological and bio-medical center of the University of Leipzig. Subsequently Kathrin Franke Co-Founder of the Data Information Intelligence GmbH and Dr. Marc Struhalla Founder and Manager of c-LEcta GmbH provide an insight into the beginnings of their companies. Their advices for Start-ups: Looking for a good mentor, relying on networks and once in a while taking the unconventional paths. Dr. Marc Struhalla knows what he is talking about. He found his business-angel in a newspaper advertising.
Friday, 12th of May 2017, 3 pm – MEDIA CITY
After a short stopover at the base camp where young entrepreneurs learn how to negotiate with potential investors, we are on our way to the MEDIA CITY. Here we get to know the Networking Projekt LEAVR a kind of a showroom of the newest Virtual Reality Technique which is developed and tested at that place. Equipped with VR-glasses we are on a tour through the MEDIA CITY without moving our feet at all. It’s an unfamiliar but at the same time impressing feeling especially if you think about its development and usage in future. Afterwards we are checking out several VR-Applications and experience virtual and deceptively real dives, car races and even an excursion to the Elbe sandstone highlands, sun and wind on our skin inclusive. For most of the attendees of the Startup Safary this location counts as a highlight and even we barely want to go further.
Friday, 12th of May 2017, 9 pm – Elsterartig
To conclude the evening a lot of attendees of the Startup Safary meet up again at the bar Elsterartig and summarize their feedback together. Leipzig’s young entrepreneurs had fun even without camouflage and binoculars by exchanging experiences and during networking within the urban jungle. Everyone gained exciting impressions and with a little luck one or the other might detected a potential investor in the thicket.
A couple of Startups answered our questions. Why has Leipzig been the perfect city to found their company? Read here!