Hannover Messe has partnered with prototype.club to stage Hack4Industry, a contest that adds a twist to the classic pitch format. Established companies first pitch their challenges to startups; the startups then pitch their solutions back to the companies. The winner gets the order.
Hack4Industry, an event that will run at Hannover Messe, which takes place April 17-21, will pair established companies with startups and simplifies bidding practices for both. Prototype.club, a Munich-based contracting platform for small businesses, is organizing Hack4Industry in partnership with Hannover Messe.
The prototype.club process is designed to create a win-win for industrial companies and startups. Because it complies with public procurement law, it enables startups to pre-qualify as new service providers based on their performance, which means they can also secure contracts. In turn, industrial companies can access solutions that they can use right away.
For example, in 2021 grid operators Netze BW and TransnetBW issued a challenge to visualize the data-exchange/redispatch (DA/RE) grid security initiative’s complex process. Software developer CoVerified answered the call, ultimately winning the contract for implementation and presented the project at Hannover Messe 2022.
All exhibiting companies at Hannover Messe 2023 can submit challenges for Hack4Industry. For example, it is difficult for today’s robots to know where they are when off-line. Although a general software solution already exists, it still needs an off-line-tracking feature, so Siemens Energy issues a challenge for Hack4Industry: Create a prototype for a user indoor augmented-reality (AR) navigation app that runs on Android and IOS mobile phones and provides robots with reusable maps of facilities.
“The energy transition has complex challenges to solve to enable affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all,” explained Kendra Rauschenberger, general partner, Siemens Energy Ventures. “Innovative solutions are needed, but no one company has all the answers; instead, it’s about collaborative partnerships. At Siemens Energy, we’re using the power of startups to help, so the HM.prototype.club with Hack4Industry is a natural extension. It offers us access to various startups through a transparent process on an industry stage. Our challenge is based on autonomous operations to increase the availability of energy infrastructure, conserve resources and improve safety. Specifically, the goal is to improve maintenance robotics already piloted at some locations.”
Hack4Industry features six steps. First, an industry partner defines the challenge. Second, prototype.club prequalifies startups for the challenge. Third, prototype.club briefs participants on the challenge. Fourth, participants have two weeks to develop functional prototypes; this phase culminates with live coding in Hall 14 at Hannover Messe. Fifth, participants pitch their prototypes or business plans to a jury. Sixth, the jury selects the winning teams at the Hack4Industry Night in Hall 17, each of which then maps out a 100-day plan for producing a minimal viable product (MVP).
Furthermore, the Competence Center for Innovative Procurement (KOINNO), part of Germany’s Ministry of Economics, offers on-site advice and a variety of tools that help startups place bids and land contracts.