ACTIVITIES | DIHK Start.up! Germany Roadshow 2018


Start.up! Germany

… is an opportunity for tech start-ups to extend their international networks, connect with the German start-up ecosystem and meet potential German business partners.

The local German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (IHK) and the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHK) have initiated Start.up! Germany as a new type of study and networking tour (“Roadshow”) connecting tech entrepreneurs from all over the world.

Start.up! Germany is implemented jointly with Make-IT in Africa in order to include and promote African entrepreneurs in their early growth phase. All start-ups were selected together with the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHKs) and with respect to their social-impact business model.

Roadshow 2018

The Roadshow 2018 focused on InsureTech, Logistics/Mobility and Smart City.

Programme and Highlights
Selection Process
Great Opportunities
Media Response
Programme and Highlights

At the 7-day roadshow the start-ups traveled to Dusseldorf, Cologne and the Ruhr area to exchange and network with corporates, investors, politicians and official agencies. The start-ups visited WestVisions (Duisburg) and RuhrSummit (Bochum). During the trip, the entrepreneurs had pitch opportunities, and were introduced to German companies in “reverse pitches”.

Dusseldorf (07.10. – 08.10.): Welcome by Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) Dusseldorf and meet-ups with big players from their respective sector (ARAG, Vodafone, Metro AG)

Cologne (08.10. – 09.10.): Meet-ups with big companies & investors (Insurlab Germany, Bayer, UPS, FedEx), joining the start-up SAFARI pre-event and connect with 40 corporate hosts (e.g. Postbank, trivago, pixum) in an exclusive setting before SAFARI.

Ruhr Area (09.10. – 12.10.; Dortmund, Duisburg, Essen and Bochum): Meet-ups with ecosystem partners (WestVisions, DB Schenker, Innogy, WILO, Starbuzz, Evonik, Thyssenkrupp, Signal Iduna) and a visit to the RuhrSummit – the biggest start-up event in the area.

Selection Process

Ventures and tech entrepreneurs who wanted to participate had to be active in any of the following areas:

  • InsurTech
  • Smart Citiy
  • Mobility/Logistics

Furthermore, all start-ups had to meet the following criteria:

  • In the ‘market testing’ phase, i.e. beyond the seed stage and successfully accomplished first investor rounds.
  • A scalable business model with an international approach.
  • Focus on the German market / German customers is an advantage.
  • A good understanding of English.

In August 2018, the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHKs) in Kenya, Tunisia and Nigeria launched an open call for applications on their websites, which was promoted through a targeted mailing campaign. In a second step, the applicants where ranked on a short list. The ones that matched the key criteria were then invited to present their business case to the Chambers.

The start-ups were ranked (among others) on the following criteria:

  • Fit into one of the three sectors (verticals)
  • Fit to German market
  • Scaling potential
  • Innovativeness
  • Impact of the business (SDGs)
Great Opportunities

The Start-ups were given the chance to:

…   visit the Ruhr area’s most promising start-up hotspots, such as the Super7000, BioCampus Cologne and InsureLab Germany.

…   get in touch with German corporates and investors in the cities of Dusseldorf, Cologne and Dortmund

…   meet with 300+ startups, 200+ corporates and 50+ top speakers in the heart of Germany’s industry at RuhrSummit in Bochum, one of Germany’s biggest start-up events, offering Pitch Contests and Match-making.


The Roadshow 2018 was an amazing opportunity for the entrepreneurs to meet interesting founders, corporates and investors.

Photos taken by Ahmed Farag

Selected African Ventures


Buildpals Technologies


Aqilee Incorporate

Ice Solar Commercial Power



Implementing Partners