Germany is one of the world’s leading innovators in sustainable technology, and it’s no surprise that Berlin is fast becoming a hub for cleantech startups. So where do they do business, build prototypes, and hang out? At the CleanTech Innovation Center (that’s CIC for short!).
From inspiring mentoring programs to impressive partnerships with the U.S, we’ve heard a lot about what CIC has to offer. We were definitely curious, so we spoke with CIC project director Andrea Hötzeldt to find out more!
Hey Andrea, nice to meet you! Can you tell us more about the CleanTech Innovation Centre? Where did the idea to start this project come from?
The CleanTech Innovation Centre is actually the brainchild of politician Christian Gräff, who had been working hard to establish a CleanTech Business Park in Marzahn-Hellersdorf. As part of this plan, the idea had always been to create a space nearby dedicated to startups working on exciting cleantech projects.
We found our perfect match with GSG Berlin, who became our partner for CIC. Back in 2014, the Economic and Business Development Office Marzahn-Hellersdorf officially agreed with GSG Berlin to operate the CleanTech Innovation Center in a public-private partnership, and so the space was born!
What spaces and services do resident cleantech startups have access to at CIC?
We’re more of a small coworking space with family vibes. Everybody knows each other, which is something you don’t get in a larger, more anonymous space. We’ve got 280 square meters coworking space and 330 square meters workshop space for startups to create innovative solutions and build prototypes.
Startups can sign up for a fixed workspace for an all-inclusive price of just 99€ a month in the first six months, and 129€ per month (plus VAT) thereafter. This includes free access to the workshop, plus our conference room, kitchenette, lounge and wifi of course! Startups also have the option to book their own telephone connections, LAN connections, and secure private workshop storage for equipment. In short, everything a cleantech startup could need.
What are some of the special features of CIC that cleantech startups benefit from?
At CIC, we’ve created a great mentoring program for our startups as they develop and expand their companies, whether they are specialized in solar energy, energy efficiency or smart grid. We’ve built up strong partnerships with the U.S. and even offer an exchange program to NewYork. Startups at the CIC also benefit from the close proximity to the CleanTech Business Park – Berlin’s largest industrial park for production-driven companies from the cleantech industry. On top of all this, CIC entrepreneurs have the opportunity to use unsold space in the Business Park for demonstration purposes.
We’d love to hear a bit more about the startups at CIC – can you give us a rundown of your members?
Sure! CIC is home to the following startups:
indielux UG is a startup that sells photovoltaic equipment designed for installation on balconies using a universal holding fixture. This allows households to produce a portion of the electricity they need, without having to rely on a roof surface or plot of land for solar panels.
Skypoint-e engineers airborne technology and is working on the development of tethered aircrafts. These have a wide range of applications, as mobile service points for a self-sufficient energy supply system, a wireless network with a large range and can even serve as observation points for a specific area from a height of between 300 and 500 metres, which is very useful in agriculture.
shoutr labs developed the shoutr.Boxx, a system for location-specific digital content dissemination and distribution of digital goods. This product is able to send large volumes of data including video and multimedia to smartphones in the surrounding area. This invention saw the founder team win the 2014 CeBIT Innovation Prize. shoutr labs is now working on conquering the clean technology market.
Deutsche Technologie Manufakturen GmbH (DTM) generates electricity from ‘hidden’ fuels, or secondary fuels which can otherwise only be converted to electricity with a lot of technical effort. DTM develops, manufactures and sells standardised, containerised installations that allow energy to be generated from hidden fuels in the 35 kW and 100 kW output range. DTM also offers engineering services for cutting-edge technologies in areas including selective laser melting, combustion systems and micro gas turbine technology.
Euro-K GmbH is also working in the micro gas turbine space, an area where this young company has a technological edge. Euro-K aims to use their expertise in micro gas turbines, which have outstanding operating efficiency, low exhaust emissions and offer optimal integration into existing processes, to create the energy converters of tomorrow.
How can startups apply to join CIC?
Send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us who you are in a few words. We’ll get back to you immediately and to arrange a visiting appointment so you can check out our location. Green startups from all over the world are welcome. We are not in Mitte, we are not in Kreuzberg, but we have a great location, friendly staff and an open minded startup community to offer. Plus, our prices can’t be beat. Join us and work with us for a sustainable future!