Global Partners


Orrick is a leading global law firm with a particular focus on serving companies in the technology, energy and financial sectors. We are recognized worldwide for delivering the highest-quality, commercially-oriented legal advice and for our culture of innovation and collaboration. Founded in San Francisco a century and a half ago, Orrick today is named by Law360 as one of the “Global 20” leading firms. Our platform offers clients a distinctive combination of local insight and global reach across 25 offices. Orrick practices in five core areas: Corporate, Energy & Infrastructure, Finance, Intellectual Property and Litigation. Known for our work in the technology sector, we act for many of the world’s top public companies as well as more than 1,200 start-ups.

Host Partners


Düsseldorf is the capital of North Rhine-Westfalia, Germany's most populous federal state and lies right in the heart of the European Market. 150 Million people live within a radius of 500 kilometres, representing 35 Percent of the European Union's total population. These and about 500.000 companies, located in Düsseldorf's catchment area, represent a huge market potential for international start-ups entering the German market. There are currently over 250 start-ups located in Düsseldorf - among them leading start-ups like Trivago, Auxmoney, Springlane, Just Spices or Eurosimtech. These are an important factor for the innovative strength of the economy in and around the state capital. As part of Düsseldorf’s start-up initiative, a long-term strategy and several projects were defined by the entire start-up community, all with one definitive goal: improving the basic conditions for start-ups and scale-ups in Düsseldorf.


North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) in the heart of Europe Geographically central position in Europe – 17,5 million people – gross state product: 582,1 billion euros (22 % of German GDP) – economic hub of Europe – region with the largest concentration of universities and research facilities in Europe: 71 universities, more than 50 research centres – among them 12 Max Planck institutes, 13 insti¬tutes of the Fraunhofer Society and 11 Leibniz institutes, 3 Helmholtz centres and 13 Johannes Rau research institutes all jointly funded by federal and state governments - and some 100 research facilities attached to universities.


The aim of the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MWEIMH) is to create optimal general conditions for business in the state and strengthen North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) as an innovative, forward-looking and attractive industrial location. The ministry aims to strike an open-minded balance between global orientation and regional identity.

Gold Partner 
          NRW.BANK is the development bank for North Rhine-Westphalia. It essentially orients its equity products on the life cycle of the firms. Thus, the regional NRW.BANK.Seed Fund invigorates the early-phase funding in North Rhine Westphalia. Young high-tech firms are supported by funding of up to € 8 million via the NRW.BANK.Venture Fund and digital companies via the NRW.BANK.Kreativwirtschaftsfonds. For businesses with above-average growth prospects and a convincing management team NRW.BANK provides contacts to potential private investors within the win NRW.BANK Business Angels Initiative. In addition, the NRW.BANK.Mittelstandsfonds and the NRW.BANK.Spezialfonds provide equity in the amount of € 1 to 7 million to growth intensive mid-cap companies in special funding and restructuring situations.
Bronze Partners

Focused on innovation and quality, Logitech designs personal peripherals to help people enjoy a better experience with the digital world. We started in 1981 with mice, which (new at the time) provided a more intuitive way of interacting with a personal computer. We became the worldwide leader in computer mice, and have reinvented the mouse in dozens of ways to match the evolving needs of PC and laptop users. With products sold in almost every country in the world, Logitech’s leadership in innovation now encompasses a wide variety of personal peripherals (both cordless and corded), with special emphasis on products for PC navigation, gaming, Internet communications, digital music and home-entertainment control.

          BioCampus Cologne with its property area of 254.000 square meters will be one of the largest biotechnology parks in Germany. BioCampus Cologne offers Life-Science companies a pre-financed infrastructure, S1 and S2 laboratory facilities ready for occupancy with associated office space and sufficient expansion possibilities. Utilization of the shared facilities, such as the representative conference center on the eleventh floor in one of the buildings on campus, the campus restaurant with catering services and the 24/7 security service, relieve the organizational and financial burden on the companies. Until now, successful companies from the life science sector like Axiogenesis AG, AyoxxA Biosystems GmbH, Bayer HealthCare, DIREVO Industrial Biotechnology GmbH, Lonza Cologne AG, Metabolix GmbH, Nexigen GmbH, Sividon Diagnostic GmbH or A. Nattermann & Cie. GmbH / sanofi aventis profit from BioCampus Cologne’s advantages.
          Euronext is the primary exchange in the Euro zone with over 1 300 issuers worth €2.6 trillion in market capitalisation, an unmatched blue-chip franchise consisting of 20+ issuers in the EURO STOXX 50® benchmark and a strong, diverse domestic and international client base. Euronext operates regulated and transparent equity and derivatives markets. Its total product offering includes Equities, Exchange Traded Funds, Warrants & Certificates, Bonds, Derivatives, Commodities and Indices. Euronext also leverages its expertise in running markets by providing technology and managed services to third parties. Euronext operates regulated markets, Alternext and the Free Market; in addition it offers EnterNext, which facilitates SMEs’ access to capital markets.

The EIC SME Instrument boosts fast company growth and market-creating innovation thanks to staged funding and ramped up business acceleration services. It targets small companies with breakthrough ideas and the potential to create entirely new markets or revolutionise existing one. Companies receive € 50,000 for a feasibility study under Phase 1 and between € 0.5 and € 2.5 million to bring their innovation to market under Phase 2. SMEs also receive free coaching and business acceleration services like support for further developing investment readiness, linking with private investors and customers and learning opportunities. Since its opening for business in 2014, the SME instrument has imposed itself among the key acceleration programmes in Europe. To date the SME Instrument has invested nearly € 1.2 billion in almost 3000 small businesses.

          The Cologne Chamber of Commerce and Industry is an institution financed by traders, merchants and private companies; statutory membership and fees enable it to represent the general interests of industry, trade and the service sectors. The CCI contacts government and public authorities, parliaments and courts. A dialogue that is beneficial for both sides. For Startups the CCI offers a huge range of services: support in creating your business model or business plan, advice on how to cope with loan and other support programs, information on alternative ways like venture capital and crowdfunding to finance your business, consulting you in questions of growth. Your startup matters are our business!

Antwerp stands out internationally through the presence of a world port, a distinguished logistics, maritime and chemical cluster and a developing healthcare cluster. The city is also known for its first position in the world’s diamond industry and its innovative digital and circular economy. Antwerp is definitely your prime business destination for Europe and open for business. An important growth cluster for Antwerp is eHealth. That’s why the city brought together several partners from the hospital sector, research community and corporate businesses to promote innovation within the health sector. Together, they founded the incubator BlueHealth Innovaction Center. BlueHealth Innovaction Center encourages innovative entrepreneurship and provides more quality and reduced healthcare costs.


Statkraft is a leading company in hydropower internationally and Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy. The Group produces hydropower, wind power, solar power, gas-fired power and supplies district heating. Statkraft is a global company in energy market operations. Statkraft has 3800 employees in 16 countries.


SonaeIM is an IT corporate venturing-company, aiming to manage and build a portfolio of world class tech-based companies linked to retail and telecommunications. Investment unit is focused on technology businesses around the Retail and Telecommunications Innovative tech solutions and International focus. The core areas of interest are Business Analytics Solutions, Mobility solutions for retail, In-store technologies, RA and Fraud Assurance Solutions, E-Commerce B2B, Cyber Security Solutions & Services. Typical Investment Phase: Growth stage companies, typically series-A and above, Established companies.

Industry Support Partners            

High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is Germany’s most active seed stage investor. With about EUR 825 million under management (EUR 272 million HTGF I, EUR 304 million HTGF II, EUR 249 million HTGFIII), HTGF provide financing for technology-driven companies active in a wide range of fields, including robotics, IoT and energy, Medtech and Biotech, chemicals and software. The seed financing provided is designed to enable start-ups to take their ideas through prototyping and to market launch. HTGF can provide up to EUR 3 million in total financing per company in follow-on financing rounds. Furthermore, start-ups benefit from HTGF’s team experience and expertise as well as the extensive network of investors, experts, managers and scouts. Investors in this public-private partnership include the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, the KfW, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft e.V. and numerous strategic corporate investors, including ALTANA, BASF, B.Braun, Robert Bosch, BUFA, CEWE, Deutsche Post DHL, Drillisch AG, EVONIK, Haniel, Hettich, Knauf, Korber, LANXESS, media + more venture Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG, PHOENIX CONTACT, Postbank, QIAGEN, RWE Generation SE, SAP, Schufa, Schwarz Gruppe, STIHL, Thuga, Vector Informatik and WACKER.


EYIF is the leading foundation for youth innovation in Europe, an independent, non-profit association reaching over 500,000 people from across the continent. EYIF supports young innovators, entrepreneurs and innovation Hubs in Europe by building a connected ecosystem from which they can benefit.


The International Cleantech Network (ICN) is an exclusive network of 12 clusters from the world’s leading cleantech regions: Europe, North America and South Africa. ICN is based on a triple helix approach i.e. cooperation between companies, universities and research institutions and public authorities. The objective of ICN is three-fold. The first one is to facilitate project development of cluster members and their SMES by providing them with a strategic platform for finding relevant partners for cleantech projects. Then ICN aims to enhance its members’ internationalisation by facilitating the access for SMES wanting to investigate foreign market opportunities through the ICN Passport services. Finally, the network facilitates knowledge sharing amongst its members through the organisation of networking events, C2C speed-dating events and best practices exchange.


The Private Equity Forum NRW e.V. is a competence centre for private equity. The combination of selected competencies from the various fields of private equity is the guarantee for the provision of high-quality information on an increasingly important investment class in the future. By pooling the competences of the members of the Association, the Private Equity Forum NRW e.V. appears as an opinion-forming agent on the market. In this way, it complements the work of the national association, the Federal Association of German Capital Participation Companies (BVK) and the international association EVCA. With its work, the Private Equity Forum NRW e.V. aims to bring more transparency into the venture capital and private equity environment. As an opinion-maker, its goal is to keep the market participants optimally up-to-date by selecting current topics.


Upnetix is one of the leading custom software development providers in Southeast Europe. The team of over 100 experienced software engineers covers all major technology stacks, we are also proud to have the biggest native mobile (iOS and Android) development team in the region. Founded in 2015, the company and core competences rapidly expanded and delivered over 50 successful projects in more than 25 countries, covering the whole lifecycle of software development: from business analysis, design and prototyping to development, quality assurance, deployment and post-project maintenance and support. Upnetix won multiple recognitions as the prestigious award from the UK’s Global Sourcing Association for “Best Outsourcing Company in Bulgaria for 2016”, and was named “The fastest growing IT company for 2016” by the Bulgarian ICT Awards.


ACTPHAST is a unique one-stop-shop solution for supporting photonics innovation in European companies. With almost €4M in innovation project funding already allocated to supporting over 70 companies all across Europe, 90% of whom are SMEs and nearly 50% of whom are non-photonics companies, ACTPHAST is already making substantial progress in growing the pool of photonics innovation and is continuing to process more project requests every month. 

Media Partners            

Health 2.0 is the leading showcase of cutting edge innovation that's transforming health and health care, bringing a fresh approach to the space. It brings together the best minds, resources and technology for compelling panels, discussions and product demonstrations.


The StartupCon is Germany’s largest start-up conference. A highly concentrated mecca for start-ups and innovators. Ultimate hotspot for the contact and dialogue with investors, decision-makers from the industry and opinion-makers from the press and media.