INI-Novation GmbH invests in a Greek startup company
INI-Novation GmbH in Mühltal (Germany) decided to invest in the foundation of a startup company with technologies that transform the living and living environment of older adults into a “digital coach”. The aim of the Greek start-up “CAPTAIN COACH” is to support an independent life for older people in their home environment by motivating them to use innovative technologies for new ways of care and support. A positive impact for the health systems is that nursing staff and medical specialists are empowered to anonymously collect and use medical as well as emotion and behaviour-related data using such technologies.
The management and innovation consultancy company INI-Novation GmbH, which specializes in innovation management, is a consortium partner in the “CAPTAIN” project (https://www.captain-eu.org) funded by the EU program Horizon 2020, in which approaches for the simplified use of innovative care technologies were developed. For the successful operation of these so-called eCare systems, the startup CAPTAIN COACH uses state-of-the-art technologies that were developed as ubiquitous assistants for older adults to compensate for physical impairments and memory disorders during their everyday activities. For this purpose, CAPTAIN COACH offers systems consisting of micro projectors and sensors for detecting the presence and activities of the user. The user sets so-called “smart goals” through speech or gesture. An example of such an intelligent target formulation is: “I would like to call relatives”. In a defined period of time (e.g. once a day or per week), the user can then carry out his own activities, monitor them himself and, if necessary, improve or redefine his goals. The system intelligently regulates the sequence of motivating coaching goals and messages. CAPTAIN COACH transforms users’ living environments into an empowering space that offers interaction, care and support for an independent life with mental and social wellbeing.
Demographic change and social relevance of the startup
Demographic change has reached Europe. The prospect of an elderlies grows from year to year. The population is aging increasingly due to falling birth rates and increasing life expectancy. This advancing aging of society means that the number of patients with chronic diseases, multi-morbidity and the resulting functional restrictions will continue to increase. This changes the qualitative need for medical support and care. In rural areas in particular, it can be observed that an ever-smaller number of doctors is confronted with a steadily growing number of (older) patients. In addition, there is a drastic shortage of nursing staff.
This opening pair of scissors can be countered by using innovative technologies in order to be able to care for the carers and carers in their home environment by trained assistants. “With our investment we want to contribute to closing the gap between the medical care needed and the caretakers in order to significantly increase the quality of life and life expectancy of older adults”, explains Dr. Wolfgang Kniejski, the Managing Director of INI-Novation GmbH.
CAPTAIN COACH addresses many different target groups in the population
Angela Ivanova is responsible for the business development of INI-Novation GmbH and also for the start-up CAPTAIN COACH: “The combination of innovative technologies and personal care in the home environment makes it possible for older adults to live independently in a familiar home over a longer period of time, the hospitalization rate is reduced, and the quality of life can be maintained or even improved.”
Furthermore, so called “family carers”, the care organisations and the insurance companies are relieved, since in many cases only one-off support and no full care is required.
“This is positively impacting our society; CAPTAIN COACH brings less stress to the family, increases support in care, saves time, effort and costs.”
Invest and continue a successful collaboration
With a view to real sustainability, the ambitious goal is to establish this technology as a leading innovative method in home care. For this purpose, it is also planned that INI-Novation GmbH will not only invest, but also develop national and international partnerships to promote the spread and use of coaching technologies.
Synergies are achieved through appropriate cooperation with important networks, associations and institutions in relevant areas. These measures aim at the long-term sustainability of the partnership and at mechanisms to attract new interest groups and to bind key actors to the initiative.
The CAPTAIN product offers personalized coaching through new forms of accessible interaction and SMART target solutions that are seamlessly integrated into existing daily activities in the fastest and most efficient way.
INI-Novation GmbH offers leading expertise in supporting innovative business developments and innovation management. INI-Novation is a specialist in technology transfer with practical experience in the areas of innovation financing, innovation procurement for SMEs and in the development and implementation of relevant training events.
In September 2018, six European organizations from Germany, Bulgaria, France, Macedonia and Hungary got together in Darmstadt and kicked off a three year (2018-2021) project named Strategic Partnership for Innovation and Business Skills Development in Cultural and Creative Industries Sector –CreatINNES. It is a European project funded by ERASMUS+ funding scheme 2018 – 2021. INI-Novation GmbH is the project coordinator.
We are dedicated to the project collaborating in a strategic partnership to respond to the education and support needs of Creative and Cultural Industries. Our mission is to bring creativity and business together with the goal to boost innovation and growth of the economy in our regions. We believe in creativity as a shield against ordinariness feeding innovation. Therefore, CreatINNES provides support for CCI start-ups and freelancers via innovative training programmes based on knowledge co-creation and cross-sectoral collaboration.
At the end of September 2018, the German coordinator INI-Novation GmbH invited all CreatINNES partner to kick-off the project in the Technology Innovation Center in Darmstadt. In every project this is a crucial moment for the future teaming. Long working sessions, jointly discussed and decided activities, and inspired smiles at the end of the meeting – first nice results are already achieved.
The city of Veliko Tarnovo, a hotbed for cultural traditions & crafts production in north central Bulgaria, hosted the training session, organized by INI-Novation Bulgaria, as part of the International Tourism Fair “Cultural Tourism”.
This event proved to be a great success: representatives from municipalities, art organisations, tourism agencies and single start-ups showed a lot of interest in the presentations of EUROPETOUR partners Karin Drda-Kühn (Kultur und Arbeit e.V., Germany), Angela Ivanova (INI-Novation), Wolfgang Kniejski (INI-Novation), Lacramioara Beilic (Bucovina Tourism, Romania) and Antonio Kuzmanovski (Macedonian start-up “WheninX“).
THE MULTIPLIER EVENT
After an introduction about the vision of EUROPETOUR by Karin Drda-Kühn (Kultur und Arbeit e.V., Germany), Angela Ivanova (INI-Novation Bulgaria) presented the EUROPETOUR training modules and one of the main topics of interest for the Bulgarian tourism stakeholders and mainly startups in tourism: Positioning, branding, marketing of cultural tourism in rural areas and the importance of networking. Her presentation was built on so called case-based learning: By providing a best practice example surrounded by theoretical knowledge and practical exercises, a better understanding about the specifics of the topic was achieved.
After that, Lacramioara Beilic (Bucovina Tourism, Romania) presented the region of Bucovina as a best practice example and opportunity for collaboration between Bulgarian and Romanian stakeholders. She highlight her “vision for networking”, sharing what the Bucovina region did for addressing the specific needs of cultural travellers in a successful way.
Wolfgang Kniejski (INI-Novation Bulgaria) gave a deep overview of financing instruments with special emphasis on topics such as value generation chains in cultural tourism, business planning, sales and distribution, as well as market-oriented financing. Best practise examples were provided and many insides about how to build a successful project idea were discussed.
At the end, a best practice presentation about distribution policies from Macedonia complemented the event. Antonio Kuzmanovski, CEO of the Macedonian start-up “WheninX“, presented a service-driven technological solution for fostering cultural programmes for locals and visitors.
By applying the Living Labs approach and the principles of open innovation, the LILA Project provides the opportunity for European entrepreneurs to obtain user feedback about their products and services. The entrepreneurs understand business barriers to access local and the European market, and to understand user requirements.
“Prepare startups for European success” is our guidebook, presented during the EBN Congress in October 2015 and describing the whole process of LILA Labs.
The cloud has forever changed how users store data, collaborate on projects, or using apps. Cloud is supporting the development of so many innovative technologies in all areas such as healthcare, automotive, life sciences, retail, media, energy, or robotics, both in consumer and in enterprise products. Cloud market is one that is rapidly growing and evolving all the time.
According to its tradition always keeping up with new technologies and innovative trends, INI-Novation GmbH in cooperation with EIT Digital Accelerator visited the Cloud Expo Europe 2015 in Frankfurt.
Currently, INI-Novation is involved in several EU projects developing innovative technologies, apps, products, distribution chains and creative training courses. LILA Project is one of them supporting technologies on a very early stage and the LILA platform is an important tool in the working process of INI-Novation.
INI-Novation supports SMEs and start-ups with innovative ideas, prototypes, or products that help the end users in the daily and professional life with close interactions based on social media, mobile devices or other sensors at their private and public spaces. Cloud is a key enabler in their technologies. The soft-landing support in German markets, international growth, user testing and organization of LILA living labs with potential users in 2016 were the main topics on the meetings of INI-Novation GmbH.
On October 23th, Dr. h. c. Wolfgang Kniejski, Managing Director of INI-Novation GmbH and Business Developer in European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) was invited as a speaker in an “Entrepreneurs in eCommerce” event in Cologne: “Start-ups in the Internet economy – the European perspective”.
In front of start-ups, coaches and accelerators, Dr. Kniejski presented his approach for the development of business models and business plans at all stages of a company development process, from start-up to international expansion. “In particular, we dedicate to enter the so-called ‘soft landing’ process,” explained Dr. Kniejski, “by supporting start-up companies with an expert network and providing them the help in their efforts to enter international markets and to overcome the early stage challenges of existing barriers.”
Dr. Kniejski presented three support initiatives that are available for all eligible start-ups: • TESLA (Transnational Ecosystem Laboratory & Actions) project
With the support of partner organisations from Ireland, Wales, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands cross-border access-to-market opportunities are offered. The goal is to drive the internationalization of start-ups faster, giving them access to important export markets in the European Union. • LILA- Lab web platform
LILA Project is a user feedback platform. It helps the entrepreneurs on their very first stage of product development by providing feedback from targeted users. Start-ups can test their inventions in different stages of their development, even when it is still an idea. Through LILA Labs markets in France, UK, Luxemburg and Germany can be approached. Key to the success is not the platform itself, but the successful networking of partners and the strong groups of user communities behind the LILA platform.
• EIT Digital Accelerator
Assistance is provided to later stage start-ups and scale ups that have already market evidence to show.. On this stage, the start-up is striving for internationalization. Therefore, the EIT Digital network provides the supported scale ups access to market, to experts and to investors on matchmaking events. Support measures in all of this three activity lines can even be provided outside Europe. As Wolfgang Kniejski replied on an entrepreneur’s question: “This is generally possible and we already created success stories. However, it depends on the personal networks and of the quality of the network partners of every business developer.”
*All materials for this event can be downloaded through:
https://e-commerce.eco.de/2015/events/start-ups-im-e-commerce.html *The Press info is published also here:
Darmstadt, October 2015
NELUMBOX pro is a cold chain solution with only battery-operated long-term controlled temperature device, which is one of its unique features. NELUMBOX is patented technology and is created by Martin Voigt – an entrepreneur from Darmstadt (Germany). Based on this technology, he developed four different types of solutions for four different use cases: personal medication and traveling, for baby care, for professional use and leisure. Martin Voigt still do not have his own company but all his products are ready for testing by different users.
The General Manager of INI-Novation GmbH Wolfgang Kniejski met Martin Voigt on one of the seminars, organized by INI-Novation about IPR management. After the seminar, they had long conversation about the market and different ways for market entrance. Both agreed that the users’ needs and preferences are important for the market entrance strategy. For this reason, Martin Voigt was introduced to the process of LILA Labs. It was decided a LILA lab to be organized during a special pitching competition “UNCAP 2015 INNOVATION AWARDS”. It was good opportunity for Martin, because he could easily receive feedback from people working in hospices, care homes and from frequent travellers.
The idea of this participation was good, because the NELUMBOX creator Martin Voigt received a lot of feedbac k from the users during the LILA lab session. The discussion during the LILA lab made clearer the benefits and the challenges of NELUMBOX for the users, that participated in the lab.
The inclusion of a LILA lab session during another event with the same-targeted focus groups was helpful in two directions: Martin Voigt discussed issues of NELUMBOX with highly competent people in the Health Care and Home Care sector; and secondly, the responsible people from the Innovation Management Teamof UNCAP had the opportunity to know in details the new invention.
As a result, NELUMBOX won the second place in the “UNCAP 2015 INNOVATION AWARD“competition. Martin Voigt was invited as an associated partner in the UNCAP EU project which means that he could test in a real field his invention. He also was invited to participate in Nottingham in the UNCAP conference on eCare and to exhibit his technology.
Next steps are preparation to take NELUMBOX to the international market and again the first step will be LILA lab, organized by our LILA partners in France and England.
Testfabrik AG is a German start-up company, established in 2013. The team was striving to enter the German market and to provide Internet Technologies based services, as webmate. “Webmate” is a groundbreaking tool for the automatic testing of web applications, with a focus on cross-browser compatibility. Until their entrance in the LILA Labs program, they had no clients.
Testfabrik AG is one of the best cases for LILA Lab session because they have a prototype of their future product, tested among other their colleagues, with very high appreciation but without any client’s interest. Their main questions were “Why?” and “What?” – why they don’t clients and what they have to improve.
Their first LILA Lab was in November 2014 in Darmstadt. INI-Novation invited the main target group that can turn into potential customers – web designers from the region. During the session, Testfabrik AG was interested to get information about the following questions:
Where do the users see webmate fitting in their work?
What does the user see as the major issue for the acceptance of webmate?
What do the users think about the pricing model – does it encourage or discourage the usage of webmate?
Do the users need more features to be implemented in webmate?
The LILA Lab session was organized as a free discussion between the users and the creators of webmate. A lot of recommendations and useful tips were put on the table, and after the session all were satisfied with the results of the meeting.
After the local lab, Testfabrik AG decided to continue their experience in the LILA Lab process but this time on international level. A road show in Netherlands and Belgium was organized by one of the contracted mentors in the LILA project,Mr. Filip Coenen. This road show actually was set up as a “multiplied LILA Lab”. Instead of getting together users in a meeting room, the company went to the users in their offices. The company received valuable feedback to adapt product’s features to the specific needs of those markets. As a result, Testfabrik AG found beta testers from Belgium and Netherlands, and committed proof of concept cooperation. This was a real success and added value for the company.
At the end, Testfabrik AG realized that they have to accompany their final product activities with more marketing support. INI-Novation’s marketing and PR specialists were also participants in the LILA Lab sessions. Knowing the users’ preferences, they developed the marketing and communication strategy for Testfabrik.
The goal of Testfabrik AG is in 5 years’ time to become a European leader in software quality tools for web applications with near view to the global market leadership. LILA Labs were one of the first steps toward the goal.
Dr. Wolfgang Kniejski talks about the beer market in Germany
On behalf of the consortium of partners in the EU project “Einkorn – Ancient Innovation”, INI-Novation GmbH organized the official Project Conference in Darmstadt, Germany, on September 10th, 2015.
The purpose of the event was to bring together mainly beer brewing but also food experts, and stakeholders, who are interested in exploring new products of a higher quality with multiple benefits. The innovation of the project is a specific malting process, suitable for less widespread culture “Einkorn”, which has proven qualities superior to other varieties.
The conference was opened by Boyan Milushev, representative of the project coordinator and Dr. Wolfgang Kniejski – an international consultant in the field of innovation management with more than 20 years of international experience as a business development manager.
The conference was focused on topics such as “Einkorn –origin, spread, composition”, “Malting and brewing of Einkorn”, “Bread and pastry with Einkorn”, market opportunities and niches. Lectors were Professor Valentin Batchvarov, Professor Gabriela Marinova – both from Agricultural Academy in Bulgaria, and Lenka Sachambula from the Research Institute of Brewing and Malt in Czech Republic.
Prof. Valentin Batchvarov )Agricultural Academy, Bulgaria), Prof. Gabriela Marinova (Agricultural Academy, Bulgaria), Lenka SachambulaResearch (Institute of Brewing and Malt, Czech Republic)
Dean Gerasimov, owner of a company, growing einkorn in Bulgaria
Einkorn Beer and Einkorn Pastry Testing
Dean Gerasimov, owner of a company, growing einkorn and producing einkorn products from Bulgaria, shared his practical experience on the market.
Samples of einkorn based beer, homemade einkorn bread and pastry were reached out for testing.
At the end, many participants had the opportunity to exchange ideas and more experience on a get together and networking event with glass of beer in hand.
On July 28th, 2015, representatives of different innovation management organisations from all over Europe met in Darmstadt, Germany, to kick off the commercial exploitation of UNCAP.
UNCAP is the abbreviation of “Ubiquitous Interoperable Care for Ageing People”. It is a pilot-centric innovation action, driven by several high-tech SMEs with support from few research centres. UNCAP aims to deliver a suite of innovative ready-to-market ICT products and services, specifically designed to help elderly people with cognitive impairments live a more independent life.
UNCAP maximises use of standards to create an interoperable open infrastructure that leverages on location and sensor-based technologies to create radically new paradigms for service care delivery. The project is co-funded by the European Commission under the so called Horizon 2020 programme activities (reference no. GA 643555).
The German business acceleration company INI-Novation GmbH welcomed its international guests as leader of the work package and highlighted the goal to develop relevant business and service delivery models addressing the private and the public eCare sector. The UNCAP products and services will be underlined by business concepts to achieve market attention, market and investor’s readiness, market entries as well as market expansion and scalability.
The international team to accomplish the UNCAP access-to-market
In addition, it is intended to stimulate the relevant protection activities (patenting, trademarking etc.) and to establish a library of reference agreements, such as licensing agreements, reseller agreements, service level agreements, business development agreements, or investment terms. Standardisation activities shall accompany the measures.
This will lead to the establishment of a transnational innovation ecosystem for eCare, in which innovation management and business spin-off tasks shall be performed in a global scale Thus, return-on-investment potential will be generated and sustainability of UNCAP will be achieved.