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Impact Incubator: Climate Tech

Impact Incubator - Climate Tech is a seven-month incubator for Climate Tech solutions. Purpose-driven, technology-led founders need meaningful support and partnerships in order to contribute to a more sustainable and less wasteful society. Impact Incubator is where founders unlock their full potential. We support early-stage impact entrepreneurs with stipends and tailored business coaching, giving them the space, tools and network needed to secure strong partnerships and grow their impact. The programme is funded by the Berliner Startup Stipendium.

Das Projekt Impact Incubator: Climate Tech wird gefördert aus Mitteln der Europäischen Union und des Landes Berlin im Rahmen des Europäischen Sozialfonds.

Our focus: Climate Tech

Climate tech, also known as clean technology or cleantech, encompasses a wide range of technologies and solutions aimed at addressing climate change and reducing environmental impacts. To drive progress in this vital area, we need to identify and faststream the most promising solutions.
The focus topics within the climate tech market can be categorized into various sectors and markets. Here are some key focus areas we invite applications from:

  • Building Energy Management
  • Industrial Energy Efficiency
  • Smart Grid and Grid Optimization

  • Green Building Materials
  • Energy-Efficient HVAC Systems
  • Sustainable Architecture and Design

  • Recycling and Upcycling Technologies
  • Waste-to-Energy Solutions
  • Sustainable Packaging

  • Precision Agriculture
  • Vertical Farming
  • Sustainable Packaging in Food Industry

  • Direct Air Capture
  • Carbon Sequestration
  • Carbon Utilization in Products

  • Resource Recovery and Recycling
  • Product Life Extension
  • Sustainable Supply Chain Management

What do ventures get?

Individual coaching
A customised curriculum, focusing on both business and personal development, which is tailored to the needs of the teams and cohort, with inputs from expert advisors across a range of industries.

Community and coworking
Access to Impact Hub Berlin’s local community and celebrated, circular coworking facilities, as well as access to exclusive community offers and an online network of motivated changemakers from across the world.

Visibility and marketing
Publicity on Impact Hub Berlin’s website and public channels, strategic marketing support and production of a demo video for each team.

Financial support
Each founder receives a monthly stipend of €2,200 to ensure financial security and full concentration on the development of the venture.

Mentoring
Teams are matched with a mentor with entrepreneurial or business experience and knowledge, through a needs assessment and matchmaking event.

Access to partners and networks
Personal introductions to relevant stakeholders in our network, connection with our Berlin community and global network of 24k+ members, plus ecosystem excursions.

Who are we looking for?

Impact Incubator is a perfect match for startups, that:

  • have developed an innovative technological solution that drives the growth of Climate Tech.
  • tackle a challenge relating to one of our focus areas listed above.
  • have a functional prototype of your product or service.
  • have an entrepreneurial mindset: a willingness to learn combined with high resilience.
  • are on a team consisting of at least two founders that hold the majority of the company ownership (if applicable).

 

  • have not previously received a Berlin Startup Scholarship (this also includes the EXIST scholarship).
  • are willing to establish and/or relocate your company to Berlin.
  • have not yet registered your company (or have been a registered company (Gewerbeschein) for more than three months before your application).
  • will not have a student status or employment status during the programme (a sabbatical from university or work is also not compatible).
  • are German/European citizens or have a visa status with the permission to be self employed in Germany.

Timeline

Applications open
June 2024
30 September 2024
Applications close
30 September 2024
Selection
mid-October
December 2024
Programme Starts
December 2024
Programme Ends
June 2025

What is the application process?

We will invite eligible applicants to an initial interview

Ventures who are successful at that stage, will be invited to a pitch event with a selection jury

We aim to inform selected ventures at least one month before the programme starts

Do you want to hear first-hand what it’s like to participate in an Impact Hub Berlin incubator? Check out the video below:

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the program located?

The programme takes place in Berlin, Germany where we will provide you access to one of Europe’s most vibrant startup scenes and connect you to like-minded entrepreneurs, decision-makers and startup experts. It’s a prerequisite that you are located in or willing to relocate to Berlin.

Who is Impact Incubator for?

We designed  Impact Incubator to boost early-stage startups with a ready or almost ready prototype. The focus lies on solutions that have the potential to accelerate the transition to a green and net zero economy. You should be prepared to either start testing your solution with first pilot customers, or expand your existing customer base.

I am not sure whether I can apply. What are the entry requirements for the programme?

You’re eligible to apply if you:

  • live and are registered in Berlin or plan to at least for the duration of the programme.
  • Have not previously received an Exist Programme or Berlin Startup Scholarship
  • Base or plan to base your venture headquarters in Berlin.
  • Have not yet registered your company (or have been a registered company (Gewerbeschein) for NOT more than three months before your application).
  • Have not yet received major external investments like prize money or business angel money, or major public funding before beginning the programme.
  • Can commit full-time for the six months of the programme
  • Are not registered as a university student for the duration of the programme. 
  • (For non-EU residents) Have a valid Schengen Zone visa including permission to be self-employed.

I received the Berlin Startup Stipendium before already. Can I apply again?

Unfortunately this is not possible.

I already have another company but want to create a new one. Can I apply with my new company?

Yes, but you have to liquidate or sell your old company in order to fully focus on your new one.

I have been a long term CEO (or similar) within another company. Can I apply?

No, this program is for entrepreneurs with no pre-existing knowledge about entrepreneurship.

 

The idea/prototype/technology was developed within another company but I will create another company now. Can I apply?

Only if there is a legal document as proof that you have full power over the rights of the idea/prototype/technology.

I am employed but would get (unpaid) vacation for the time of the program. Can I participate?

No, you must leave your employment.

I am a student but finishing my thesis right now (within this semester). Can I participate?

Yes, this is possible, but only if you can prove that there are no open seminars from the curriculum that you have to finish.

I have submitted my application. What are the next steps in the selection process?

By submitting your application you should receive a confirmation email. If you haven’t received a confirmation, please contact us: impactincubator@impacthub.net.

The selection team of Impact Hub Berlin will screen all of the applications. In that phase you might be contacted by Impact Hub Berlin, if any questions should come up.

After screening all applications, the selection team will choose up to 15 teams that will be invited for personal interviews.

In the next step, Impact Hub Berlin will invite teams for the Pitch Day, where our external Advisory Committee composed of experts in the fields of greentech & climate tech, sustainability and business management will finally decide on the admission into the program.

What does the Selection process involve? How will the teams be appointed to Impact Incubator?

In choosing the participants, we’ll take into account the entrepreneurial skills of the team, the potential for scaling and the positive impact of your solution. We’ll also take into consideration how persuasive you are in your pitch / application.

Applications will be assessed on:

  • Social and ecological impact
  • Business model and feasibility
  • Potential to scale
  • Team

The diversity of the team also plays a key role and we aim to have an equal gender split within the cohort.

How many team members can apply?

Our focus is on collaboration – to be selected for the programme you must have a team of at least two founders and up to a maximum of 5 founders.  Please note that every participant has to be a shareholder/co-founder of the company that is to be founded. If you have a great product and are currently seeking co-founders, reach out to our team who may be able to advise or connect you to potential co-founders.

Do I have to attend all events?

Impact Incubator will combine input from experts as well as highly individualized business coaching. As such we will cater to the specific needs of our start-ups and deem them highly relevant. We would expect that you attend all of the events and engage full-time.

Language of the program

The programme will be conducted in English. Please submit your documents and materials in English to attract the broadest range of potential partners and investors.

Who’s behind the Impact Incubator programme?

The Impact Hub Berlin designed the programme, implements all measures and ensures a smooth transition. We belong to a global network focused on building communities for impact at scale. With 100+ communities of almost 24,000 change-driven entrepreneurs in more than 50 countries across five continents, Impact Hub is one of the world’s largest communities and accelerators for positive change. The programme is supported and funded by the European Union (European Social Fund) and the Senate of Berlin. 

How is Impact Incubator affected by Covid?

We take the Covid-19 situation very seriously and follow a safety-first policy. Through the use of technology, we’ve been able to maintain and in certain aspects even strengthen our programme delivery. We carefully align our policies with current developments and will do our best to support you whatever these may be.

Will my costs for travel and accommodation be reimbursed if I travel from outside Germany to Berlin?

All participants of the programme receive a stipend of EUR 2,200 per month, which should cover all costs incurred. In addition – but only for those startups that qualify and show high potential – we may also fund an ‘exposure trip’ to another Impact Hub outside of Germany for the purposes of implementing pilot projects or for traveling to conferences. 

Do I have to pay tax on the scholarship?

Yes, generally the scholarship falls under the “Einkommensteuer” (income tax) and is “Sozialversicherungspflichtig” (subject to social insurance contribution). Whether and how much tax you have to pay for the scholarship depends on your personal situation. Please contact your tax department and/or consultant.

Can I receive other benefits besides the scholarship such as Arbeitslosengeld, Elterngeld, Mutterschaftsgeld, BAföG?

No, your other benefits will be affected by this income.

Cohort 1 Teams

ZIRKULAAR Architektur


ZIRKULAAR is a B2B for organisers of trade fairs and other events that creates zero-waste exhibition systems for a circular future. Its circular alternative for trade fairs and exhibitions, made from reused materials, can be rented and customised for every occasion. ZIRKULAAR's USP is that it is the only system that is made from reused materials: modular and reusable.

 

Founding Team: Julia Krafft & Lucas Klinkenbusch

 

SmartPlant


SmartPlant enables urban populations to be fed sustainably and efficiently. With vertical farming, which enables the harvest of beyond-Bio and pesticide-free vegetables in a controlled clean room environment, SmartPlant farms are energy- and water- self-sufficient and CO2-negative. The B2B sale of technology and facility management to corporations, restaurants and retailers offers a unique proprietary process and set of technologies.

 

Founding Team: Stephan Schröter & Ulla Killing

 

ToysReloved


ToysReloved fuels the circular economy for children’s toys. Its mission is to empower parents to bring children’s preloved toys back into circulation through a convenient service that takes care of collection, donation and the sales process. This C2B2C ai-enabled platform model is the only provider with toy focus that offers convenient pick up options and manages the entire sales process and donations.

 

Founding Team: Sascha Müller & Bennet Görlitz

enerwise


enerwise works to decarbonise end-customers & SMEs by rethinking existing processes through digitization & automation. The founding team exhibits unique insight as a result of previous industry experience.

 

Founding Team: Philipp Baumanns & Finn zur Muhlen

Scale Energy


Scale Energy works to accelerate the energy transition through storage at scale using a decentralised network of energy storage systems deployed at existing medium-voltage grid connections and management platform to manage the volatility of renewable energy production. The B2B full-service model features
no CAPEX for plant owner, 30% savings on electricity, and CO2 certification.

 

Founding Team: Elias Aruna & Christoph Kössler

Advisory Board

Co-Founder & Managing Director @Impact Hub Berlin

Director, Corporate Development Integration @Vinted

Senior Venture Development @Lufthansa Innovation Hub

Senior Expert @German Energy Agency

Investment Manager @Green Generation Fund

Managing Partner @Saint Clair VC & PE Advisory

Questions?

Our Scouting Manager Idil Serifoglu is looking forward to hearing from you: idil.serifoglu@impacthub.net
Application management partner F6S