A rocket for a new generation of satellites, remote-controlled trucks and software to calculate CO2 emissions: these are successful products created by the start-ups Isar Aerospace, Fernride and Tanso Technologies. At the TUM Entrepreneurship Day, all three were nominated for the Presidential Entrepreneurship Award. The winner was the aerospace start-up.
The 10th Entrepreneurship Day at the Technical University of Munich again brought together entrepreneurs, students, researchers, investors and many other guests from the worlds of private enterprise and science. The rapid growth of the TUM and UnternehmerTUM ecosystem is also reflected in the size of this networking event. The full-day program included presentations by start-ups, workshops for prospective entrepreneurs and expert discussions on innovation.
The Presidential Entrepreneurship Award was also presented for the tenth time. Key criteria for the jury were business ideas driven by the results of research, strong growth potential and initial success in obtaining financing. The award comes with a 10,000 Euros cash prize donated by the Association of Alumni and Friends "Freunde der TUM".
Winners: Isar Aerospace
From communication networks to autonomous driving or digital agriculture: for dozens of new technologies, satellites are needed for data communications. To make this possible, providers want to fire entire swarms of satellites into space. They will be relatively small and will move in low orbits. But existing rockets used for satellite launches are designed for much larger payloads. Especially in Europe, the launch resources for the new generation are scarce and expensive.
Isar Aerospace has developed a launch vehicle tailored to small and midsized satellites that will facilitate efficient transport. The start-up not only produces the technology. It will also organize the launches for customers.
The founders Daniel Metzler, Josef Fleischmann and Markus Brandl studied aerospace at TUM and worked on rocket engines in the student research group WARR. After starting their company in 2018, they built their first prototypes in the MakerSpace high-tech workshop. At UnternehmerTUM they also received support in the XPRENEURS incubator. Unternehmertum Venture Capital Partners invested in the start-up along with various other investors in several funding rounds. Isar Aerospace now has around 350 employees in Ottobrunn near the TUM Department of Aerospace and Geodesy. The start-up is planning to launch its first rocket before the end of this year.
In the logistics industry in Europe, thousands of positions as truck drivers are unfilled. Fernride aims to solve this problem with tele-operated vehicles. Trucks equipped with the company's technology can be operated from a central office. One person is able to control several semi-autonomous vehicles. Customers use the trucks on plant sites, at transshipment centers and in ports. The company plans to increase the autonomy of the electric trucks so that larger numbers of vehicles can be controlled by a single human operator - also on public roads.
The founders, Dr. Maximilian Fisser, Jean-Michael Georg and Hendrik Kramer, studied at the TUM School of Engineering and Design and the TUM School of Management. Their technology is based on research at the Chair of Automotive Technology. The team received support under various UnternehmerTUM programs. The start-up was formed in 2019 and has successfully completed several funding rounds.
Finalist: Tanso Technologies
Large companies in the EU will have to calculate and disclose their CO2 emissions in the near future. This is challenging for many businesses, especially those that produce diverse products and have complex structures. It will take considerable effort to collect data and generate comparable performance indicators. Tanso Technologies has developed software that calculates CO2 emissions for the entire company and on a product-by-product basis. This will not only save working time, but will also enable companies to analyze individual production stages for potential improvements.
The technology is based on the thesis submitted by TUM student Gyri Reiersen for her master's degree in robotics, cognition, intelligence. After completing his studies in management, co-founder Till Wiechmann attended the Entrepreneurial Masterclass, where students combine the research topic of their master's thesis with their own start-up project. The two founders completed the add-on degree program at the Center for Digital Technology and Management (CDTM), where students form interdisciplinary teams can design new technologies, develop concrete products and prepare to launch a company. The team, which also includes co-founder Lorenz Hetzel, received support from UnternehmerTUM's XPRENEURS incubator and venture capital fund.
Mentor of Excellence Award
An award was also presented to Isabell M. Welpe. The professor of strategy and organization received the TUM Start-up Mentor of Excellence Award. It honors professors in recognition of outstanding and successful support of start-up teams. Many scientists support teams in applying for the EXIST start-up scholarship and during the one-year term of the funding. For the coveted federal scholarships for university start-ups, mentoring through researchers is a prerequisite. The TUM Start-up Mentor of Excellence Award comes with a 5000 Euros cash prize for the professor's chair.
Photo copyright Andreas Heddergott / TUM