Berlin Bound for INAM’s Advanced Materials Competition

NextAero was fortunate enough to be selected for and participate in the 2018 Advanced Materials Competition (AdMaCom). AdMaCom is operated by the Innovative Network for Advanced Materials (INAM), based in Berlin, Germany:

The Innovation Network for Advanced Materials (INAM) is an ecosystem for high-tech businesses working in different fields of Science and Advanced Materials. We help find innovative solutions for the high-tech challenges of the future, bringing together startups, established corporates and research institutes focused on advanced materials.

INAM hosts networking events, tours, speakers, education sessions, and AdMaCom.

AdMaCom is INAM’s startup program and 2018 was its second year of operation. What attracted us to AdMaCom was its first cohort of companies have since grown to reasonable heights:

2017 AdMaCom Participants

Inuru

Inuru GmBH partnering with Coca-Cola on printable illuminated labels

vsparticle

On-demand nano-particles for industry

OrelTech

Printable functional circuits and a partnership with global adhesives manufacturer Henkel

The AdMaCom program is a self-described ‘Hardware accelerator’; Specifically tailored to companies producing a physical product, which has different challenges to startups developing a software product. Some of those challenges include larger barriers to entry, challenges to scaling rapidly, and initial access to capital. In their program, AdMaCom provides their startup cohort access to their network of experienced manufacturing companies, leadership, and technical experts. We found that their method was perhaps the fastest way to get answers to questions that a hardware startup faces in the early stages. When speaking with the experts and mentors, we found it easy to extrapolate their advice across industries to sharpen our understanding of the hardware commercialisation process; A lot of which revolves around intellectual property and business development relationships, the bread and butter of high-tech companies.

AdMaCom is short and sweet with a two week program. The days are jam packed full of tours, mentor sessions, a bit of pitch practice, and opportunities for 1:1 meetings with manufacturing companies. We were joined by a dozen other startup companies from Europe, and also around the world. We were particularly impressed by the creativity and specialisation of the founders and companies, many of them completed or late-stage Masters or PhD researchers like ourselves.

CTO Thomas Knast on a laboratory tour of Humbolt University's nano fabrication facilities.

It seems like every accelerator has a demo day, which is really just a pitch competition in disguise, and AdMaCom was no different. In front of the INAM and wider network, the companies pitched their startup idea and progress, in front of quite a few familiar faces by that point.

At the conclusion of the demo-day, we were fortunate enough to be selected for an award sponsored by Inno Technologies. The award was to attend the Global Technologies Symposium in China.

We used the 2 week program to build connections and confidence because we spent the following five weeks on a business development tour of Europe. You can read about that here.

Company 2018 Founders and AdMaCom staff
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