An Oasis for Start-ups: The new services of WISTA Business Support

03. May 2017

An Oasis for Start-ups

The new services of WISTA Business Support

Jan-Juan Hiemer. Bild: © Adlershof Journal

Jan-Juan Hiemer is responsible for WISTA's Business Support department

To make the ideas of start-ups take off as fast as possible, WISTA-MANAGEMENT GMBH offers a multitude of services. Most of them are aimed at bringing together start-ups with so-called grown-ups. The business support department benefits founders directly, as the two following examples show.

Mathias Bohge is cautious person with ambitious aims. He is co-founder of R3 – Reliable Realtime Radio Communications, a company that offers secure and fast radio communication solutions for manufacturing companies. Building on the idea of highly reliable wi-fi to facilitate communication between people, or objects in the so-called internet of things, Bohge and three colleagues from different universities took the plunge and founded a start-up. “Our wish was to stay small and stay flexible because you never know what happens,” says Bohge. They decided to side with CHIC, the Charlottenburg Innovation Centre.

At CHIC, WISTA-MANAGEMENT GMBH (WISTA) offers flexible packages: R3 initially moved into a single room, but soon upgraded to three and is now moving into a five-room office. If necessary, downgrading is possible anytime with a one-month notice. “This flexibility really helped us,” says Bohge. The company also benefits from having its own servers and in the CHIC’s basement as well as from the pitching events that aim at initiating cooperation with other companies. This led to R3 meeting with Rolls Royce and Volkswagen. “Indeed, these events are a good opportunity to meet larger companies,” praises Bohge. On the other hand, corporations gain insight into Berlin’s tech scene – cooperation possible.

Many of the services offered by WISTA’s new department are based on mutual benefit. Among them is the “A² Adlershof Accelerator”, a programme aimed at bringing together start-ups with up to six established companies. “Start-ups take part in joint pilot projects with experienced companies and put their business ideas into practice, while the more established companies gain access to new, innovative ideas, products and solutions,” explains Jan-Juan Hiemer, who is head of the new department. The start-ups are not obliged to give up company shares. With positive feedback from both sides, this format has been so successful that a third accelerator on “Smart Cities” will be set up late this year, says Hiemer. “That way young companies don’t require elaborate marketing strategies and sales schemes to get hold of large companies.”

WISTA also offers hands-on support for start-ups in their founding phase, for example, by providing young companies who are thinking about relocating to Berlin with “Business Welcome Packages”. For a trial period of one to three months, they receive low-cost and tailored support services. The flexible modules may include a modern free-of-charge office in one of WISTA’s founder’s houses, assistance in finding an apartment for the duration of their stay and participation in networking events. Furthermore, start-ups take part in an onboarding meeting, where they receive an assessment of their market potential in WISTA’s five central technology fields. Hiemer tells us that “this includes identifying and connecting potential partners for cooperation.”

Moreover, the department advises start-ups on financing and funding opportunities. “An individual advisor on acquiring capital and funding is essential to make an idea take off,” explains Hiemer. “This service is in high demand and we are planning to expand it with a focus on more detailed analysis of budget plans.” Upon request, it is possible to jointly develop and validate an entire financing strategy. This also comprises qualified feedback on the financing documents, analysis and optimization of funding applications, business plans, and pitch presentations.

ECOGLOBE GmbH values this service very much: “It is good to be supported by experts in the funding jungle, just to see the forest for the trees,” says manager Tariq Kaddoura. From their offices at CHIC, the start-up develops and distributes a new web application for application in real estate that automatically technically and economically optimises building planning. Several customers are already using the new tool in their building projects. “Actually, WISTA was one of our first customers,” says Kaddoura gladly. WISTA is currently using the ECOGLOBE Building Optimizer to plan their new Technology and Start-Up Centre FUBIC in Berlin-Dahlem, where it is fully renovating and expanding a former US military hospital building. This commitment underscores what Hiemer means when he says: “We are not just the site’s operating company and real estate managers, but committed networkers as well as business developers.”

By Chris Löwer for Adlershof Journal

Business Support
Services for companies and start-ups offered by the WISTA-MANAGEMENT GMBH