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People

Judges

Nikolaus D. Bayer

Angel Investor, Managing Partner at BeAI

Nikolaus D. Bayer holds a diploma in Computer Science from RWTH Aachen. In 2007, he co-founded IRIS Analytics, a company that specialized in real-time payment fraud prevention and risk management. The company grew rapidly and was sold to IBM in 2015. Since then, he supports early stage ventures as angel investor, focusing on software, artificial intelligence, digitization and sustainability. Appreciating his work and track record, Nikolaus was chosen as Germany's "Business Angel of the Year" in 2020.

Michael Becker

Director at Versicherungsbüro BRW

Michael Becker holds a diploma in BWL from Uni Mannheim. In 1997, he came to Allianz, the largest European insurance company, where he went along several steps up to the director management position. In 2008 he started his own insurance agency accompanied by a consulting company advising even several larger employers of this region. Since 2017 he is a respected mentor at cyberforum and he also supports early stage ventures as angel investor. It is his third year of being a part of the jury team.

Heiko Binder

Head of Agency Business at IONOS

Heiko Binder is Head of Agency Business at IONOS. In this position, he is in charge of the IONOS Agency Partner Program. Its goal is to help make web professionals, developers, freelancers and agencies successful as partner companies with IONOS hosting solutions. Since 2012, Heiko Binder has been leading departments at IONOS in the areas of Product Integration, eCommerce Products and eBusiness Applications. He has more than 20 years of experience in the tech industry and has worked in various global tech companies in Germany, Switzerland and the USA as a consultant, project manager, strategist, product manager and development manager. In addition, Heiko Binder successfully founded a start-up company and led it to the break-even point.

Markus Lau

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Markus Lau ist Doktorand und wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Institut für Entrepreneurship, Technologiemanagement und Innovation (EnTechnon) am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT). Seine Forschung befasst sich mit Herausforderungen und Möglichkeiten für die Gestaltung von Geschäftsmodellen und Innovationen in Wertschöpfungsnetzwerken. Er konzentriert sich auf die Entwicklung von unterstützenden Werkzeugen für erfolgreiches Geschäftsmodelldesign in sich wandelnden Märkten. Ein besonderer Branchenfokus liegt dabei auf dem Energiesektor in Deutschland.

Katharina Schmidt

CEO of apic.ai & Academic researcher at xLab

Katharina Schmidt is a co-founder and CEO of [apic.ai](http://apic.ai/). Founded in 2018, the Karlsruhe-based start-up has become a leading specialist in the field of automated pollinator monitoring. By means of the camera-based monitoring of beehives, the company turns honey bees and bumblebees into biosensors and identifies factors which could harm them. The technology is used for the risk assessment of plant protection products and for the development of pollinator-friendly agricultural practices. Additionally, Katharina spends four hours a week working at the founder’s lab “xLab” at Hochschule Karlsruhe, promoting the founder’s community of Karlsruhe and serving as a sparring-partner for future founders. She is also active in the public advisory board of Cyber Valley, an initiative to promote awareness and knowledge of ethical and social issues in artificial intelligence. Recently she has written an article in the book “Zukunfts-Navigator Deutschland”, which revolves about the necessary changes in our understanding of growth and prosperity in the pursuit of becoming a sustainable society.

Fabian Schubert

First Momentum Ventures

Fabian combines his background in bioinformatics and medical technology with experience in finance to help founders during their first round of funding. He likes to look at solutions that develop the infrastructure to build new applications for healthcare - be it for digital health or to generate insights from existing health data.

Albert Schuster

Founder & CEO of MOJA Design

Albert Schuster is the founder and CEO of MOJA Design, an architect, designer and mechanical engineer. His extensive professional experience ranges from the creation of innovative mobility concepts to the product development of industrially manufactured goods, all the way to the architecture of different types of buildings and structures.

Orga

Jannis Böning

Mechanical Engineering @ KIT

As the head of GROW I'm looking forward to 11 weeks with a lot of passion and fun!

Het Dave

Mechatronics and Robotics @ KIT

Hi, I'm Het and I'll be your first-hand partner for anything you need during the competition :D

Maral Merve Emir

Chemical & Process Engineering @ KIT

Hey there, I'm Merve and I'm responsible from Workshops and Mentor/Buddy Program at GROW since April '21 and happy to help you as a Mentor/Buddy too! :) I worked in different corporate R&D teams for years till I found my passion for tech entrepreneurship. After that, I got my Startup Coach title from Uni Stuttgart & TUM and lectured students. I'm currently at 3rd semester of my master and working additionally at Kärcher New Venture. Can't wait to GROW together! :)

Elisa Goebel

KIT, PionierGarage

Hey, I'm Elisa and I've already experienced GROW from different perspectives. In 2018 I participated in Grow and won the competition with my team and the idea "TortenGlück". Since then I have been a member of the PioneerGarage and the board. Meanwhile, I don't play an active role anymore, as I'm abroad, but I always support the team with words and deeds and the experience of the last GROWs. Otherwise, I'm studying industrial engineering in my 7th bachelor's semester at KIT and I'm looking forward to getting to know all of you :).

Annalena Hees

Materials Science & Engineering @ KIT

For access to Zeiss Makerspace, please contact me.

Jonas Iser

Industrial Engineering and Management @ KIT

Hello World

Chris Kaufmann

Economics @ KIT

Hey folks, I am here to get the techstuff concerning the streams, zoom and workshops right. Former Chairman of PionierGarage, the largest student run entrepreneurship asscociation in Germany. Work experience at Pockethost, an early stage start-up, providing game servers for minecraft. Experience in filming, editing videos with Premiere Pro and creating animations with Adobe AfterEffects.

Anna Klesen

Industrial Engineering @ KIT

Hey there! I am responsible for the organisation of the GROW in Action-Days. If you have any question regarding this event or anything else, do not hesitate to ask. I'm looking forward to an exciting competition with you!

Nicklas Rondot

Industrial Engineering & Management @ KIT

Hey there, I'm responsible for this website. If any problems occure, please let me know :)

Tamsin Strößenreuther

B.Sc. Business Engineering @KIT

Hey there! As part of the GROW team this year, I am looking forward to meeting you and creating a community of future entrepreneurs :)

Mentors

Carolin Baltzer

None

Studying economical mathematics @ KIT, long-term member of the PionierGarage, co-founder of Waya Collective, where we decentralize fashion production; experience in the fields of (public) funding, developing countries, fashion production, Cardano

Dominik Doerner

Co-Founder at Constreo

I am a previous student founder, long-time member at PionierGarage and a previous GROW organizer and currently lead Constreo, a SaaS-company for the construction sector. My greatest strengths are market validation, cloud applications and brand building.

Minkus Dr. Fischer

PwC Legal – Venture Advisor

I am excited to join the program as a legal mentor and to meet new people with great ventures! I am working as a lawyer at PwC Legal in Stuttgart. I am specialized in the legal areas of mergers & acquisitions, private equity and venture capital investments in which I have years of experience.

Marian Finkbeiner

PwC – Venture Advisor

Very excited to work with you, so please feel encouraged to get in touch! I am experienced in Equity and Financing, Business Modelling, Business Development and Pitch Deck / Equity Story creation .

Armin Harbrecht

Founder & MD aramido GmbH - Information Security Consulting

Founder of gloveler (private accommodation platform) and HOLZundEISEN (original crossgolf equipment). Graduated from KIT as Dipl.-Wi.-Ing. and Union University, Schenectady, NY/USA as MBA. Author of the book Social Entrepreneurship - Gewinn ist Mittel nicht Zweck.

Jan Hecker

Co-Founder & CEO of SipTogether

I am Co-Founder & CEO of SipTogether – an app for spontaneous and friendly activities. I am also studying Business Informatics at the University of Mannheim, but currently doing an holiday semester. Feel free to contact me.

Maik Hummel

Hi, I'm Maik. I love building software products with a deep technological foundation. Before becoming the CTO of Kauz and building the next level of Conversational AI, I founded several startups in the last few years. I wanna share my experience with future founders and give back some of mentoring I received throughout the years.

Christos Klamouris

AXEL - The Energy Accelerator

Startup manager, engineer and former energy startup founder :-) Join www.axel.energy to learn more about how we support energy and sustainability startups!

Lorenz Kopp

KIT

Marius Krämer

CEO & Founder @ heyvie

Building companies and digital products for over 5 years. Currently CEO of heyvie, a company I founded beginning of 2021 with which I am lucky to work with more than 10 people now. I have a lot of very deep knowledge on product design, building quick prototypes with lowcode and everything that goes into early funding, planning and building an organisation.

Leo Lerach

Investment Manager (DACH) at Project A

Leo is working at Project A Ventures as Investment Manager, where he is partnering with innovative startups in the area of Enterprise Software, with a particular focus on Developer Tools, Cloud and Data Infrastructure. Previously, Leo dove into the world of DeFi and cryptography at Upvest and helped establishing a quantitative Global Macro Hedge Fund. He holds a Master's in Banking and Finance and a Bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of St. Gallen.

Jonas Menesklou

CEO and Co-Founder at askui

Studied Industrial Engineering and Management at the KIT. Founder of the VC-backed startup askui, which humanizes test automation. Experienced in Marketing Automation and B2B Sales.

Felix Müller-Stieß

Lawyer

Rebecca Rutschmann

Co-Founder & CPO

I am the co-founder of the coachingTECH Startup evoach and am a user experience and communications pro with strong skills in protoyping, branding and a faible for everything sustainable and educational that helps people to grow. I am also a certified Business-Coach and work as an Agile Coach. I love to inspire and help other to evolve and grow.

Benjamin Somschor

PwC – Venture Advisor

Experienced in Equity Valuation and Financing, Business Modelling and Pitch Deck Creation

Heiko Stapf

None

Trainer Product Management - Product Discovery, Design Thinking, Agile, Scrum, User Experience and some Marketing

Simon Zeidler

Workwise (former Campusjäger), Studidruck & Karlsruhe Copyshop, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie

Als einer der ersten Mitarbeiter von Campusjäger (jetzt Workwise) und ehemaliger Pioniergarage sowie Gründermagnet Vorstand konnte ich einige Erfahrungen insbesondere im Startup Umfeld in den letzten 6,5 Jahren sammeln. Ich helfe gerne in den Bereichen Leadership, Team-Kultur, Business Development Sales & Customer Account Management weiter. Auch zum Thema Persönlichkeitsentwicklung & Coaching helfe ich gerne weiter. Neben meiner Tätigkeit als Head of Account Management bei Workwise kann ich mit euch meine Erfahrungen aus der Gründung der Online Copyshops Studidruck (www.studidruck-copyshop.de) und Karlsruhe Copyshop mit euch teilen.

& more mentors

Buddies

Pratham Gupta

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Hi Hi! I, as a part of Incubation Team, help the start-ups in our launchpad with everything they need. As a Buddy, I can help you in connecting with several successful startups. Feel free to ping me. Let's GROW together!

Paul Müller

Business Informatics @ KIT

Hi, my name is Paul and I'm a student of Business Informatics at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. I also happen to be the chairman of the PionierGarage. If you have any questions - especially concercing the PionierGarage - feel free to text me :)

Vinusha Navakumaran

Digital Transformation @ EnBW | Mechanical Engineering @ KIT

Hi, I'm a inhouse consultant in digital transformation at EnBW, former product manager of a Startup and member of Pioniergarage. I'm looking forward to getting to know all of you and share my experience :)

Rudraksh Samdhani

Karlsruher Institut für Technologie

Hey I’m Rudraksh (you can call me Richie) and I will help you throughout your GROW journey :))

Brandon Schuehlein

Computer Science @ KIT

Hey I'm Brandon. As a member, and now head of PionierGarage Academy, I have some experience in teaching basic concepts and frameworks of entrepreneurship. For more information about the Academy and access to our knowledge database, go to: https://bit.ly/PionierGarageAcademy As a Computer Science student I might also be able to assist with Software questions.

Finn Seltmann

Industrial Engineering @KIT

Hi I'm Finn and I'm studying industrial engineering in my 5th semester at KIT, currently doing an internship in Audit. I joined Pioniergarage to find like minded people and as a member of Inspiration & Education, I help organising events like Foundersnight and Demoday. Feel free to contact me anytime during this event, Let's GROW together....

Leoluca Tinzmann

KIT - Studying Computer Science Bachelor

Hi, I am Leoluca. I am a member of the Pioniergarage Academy, a group dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of start-ups in a weekend workshop each semester. As a buddy, I can help you muddle through whatever organizational or motivational troubles you have.

Linus Wetzig

computer science @KIT

Christian Wiegand

Karlsruhe Institut of Technology

Student of industrial engineering with focus on behavioral sciences and innovation at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Former chairman of PionierGarage e.V., Germany's largest student association for entrepreneurship and innovation, and board member of Gründermagnet (German Startups Association), umbrella organization of student entrepreneurship initiatives. Work experience in an early-stage startup.

Denislav Zdravkov

Chemical&Process Engineering Master Student@KIT

As a member of the Pioniergarage, I have already gained the first experience in different areas of Startup basics like Customer discovery or Ideation. I am also a member of KIT Team for Trophelia Competition for 2022 ( Further Information https://www.fei-bonn.de/foerderung/nachwuchsfoerderung/trophelia ), so I have gained product development experience in the food technology sector also. In my different part-time jobs, I develop competence in computer-aided engineering and metal fabrication too and could be useful in all these areas.