top of page

 Workshop The old guy & the new guys 

Young companies and start-ups are indispensable for the German economy. Relevant innovations are increasingly being driven by start-ups, especially in the future fields of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0.


In the USA, the symbiosis between companies and founders has been practiced successfully for many years. Start-ups receive capital from corporate VCs, among others, and are thus tied to the company. If the product is relevant for the company, the start-up is often bought and the founders who developed the technology are taken over. In addition, it is much easier to gain access to companies in the USA, for example to carry out initial pilot projects with companies. As a founder, you can test your technology at an early stage and receive references from well-known large companies. In return, the companies receive early access to new technologies and, in the best case, even a competitive advantage.


German companies have tried to follow this example in recent years. Not only in Silicon Valley are more and more companies opening branch offices to look for technologies and innovations for the German parent company. In Germany, more and more companies are forming independent, dynamic and flexible units in order to become more interesting for start-ups and to prevent innovations from bogging down in a company's bureaucracy. Cooperation between companies and founders, especially in the digital age, can and should promote innovation.


What can German companies learn from the USA and how do German start-ups manage to work effectively with German companies? How can companies benefit from start-ups and use new innovations for their businesses? What are the needs of German companies and which cooperation strategies have proven successful? These questions will be examined in the "Start-ups 4.0" workshop.

Our speakers

Konrad Augustine

Investment Director & Head of E.ON SCI US, E.ON Innovation / Strategic Co-Investments

Konrad Augustin heads the US office of Strategic Co-Investments (SCI), the venture capital arm of E.ON. He invests in start-up companies whose technologies are used in E.ON markets, with a focus on customer solutions, energy networks and renewable energies. He has invested in a variety of companies including Autogrid, Greensmith, Enervee and Thermondo and holds a number of board memberships. Before he went to San Francisco, he helped set up SCI in Germany. Before joining E.ON, he worked at BASF Venture Capital, before that in Strategic Marketing and Corporate Auditing at BASF, where he worked in Australia, Japan and Singapore, among other places. He studied business administration in Regensburg and Storrs, Connecticut.

Amadeo Gaigl

CEO and Co-Founder, Bohème Digital GmbH

Amadeo Gaigl is an entrepreneur and founder. Before making a name for himself in the field of media tech, he worked as a consultant for international clients and NGOs, after having managed the international partner network for the UN as project coordinator for several years. The mission of the startup Bohème is to digitally transform inspiring places, such as the Viennese coffee house with its reading culture. For a basic monthly fee, cafés can provide their guests with free content from strong brands such as the Süddeutsche Zeitung or the Red Bull Media House in the Bohème app and the guests with inspiring stories provide for the day.

Prof. Dr. Christian Henry

CFO, scoutbee GmbH 


scoutbee is a cloud-based B2B supplier-buyer platform that supports modern buyers and production planners with intelligent search algorithms, dynamic data and easy-to-use collaboration tools in identifying, securing and evaluating suppliers and entire value chains. On the basis of artificial intelligence, the scoutbee technology Artimis examines customer-supplier relationships, disruptions and delivery problems in entire industries.


Maximilian P. Wagner

CEO, SMS digital


Maximilian Wagner (CEO SMS digital) is responsible for setting up the digital start-up of the SMS group. After studying International Business in Maastricht and at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he joined the former ThyssenKrupp Stainless (now Outokumpu) in the Improvement Programs/Investments department. 5 years and several positions later, in 2013 he went to the corporate development of the SMS group. While working on several service-related projects, he formed a team with some colleagues in 2015 that focused on digitization. Eventually, the project work led to the establishment of SMS digital as an independent company responsible for delivering digital solutions to SMS group customers.


Rene van den Hoevel

Branch Manager, AHK USA-San Francisco


Since August 2010, Mr. van den Hövel has been head of the AHK USA-San Francisco and is responsible for the consulting and business development activities of the Chamber of Commerce Abroad on the west coast of the USA. Before working in San Francisco, he was head of the consulting department at the AHK headquarters in New York City. From 2007 to 2009 he was also the representative of Bremen Economic Development in the United States. 

Mr. van den Hövel joined the Chamber of Commerce Abroad in 2005 after working in the fields of social media and mobile marketing in Germany. He studied international marketing at the Münster University of Applied Sciences and at Juniata College in Pennsylvania, USA. Before his studies, Mr. van den Hövel completed an apprenticeship as an industrial clerk at Elefanten AG, a leading manufacturer of children's shoes.


bottom of page