"I was impressed by the exceptional quality of the startups"

Today the Techstars METRO Accelerator kicks off its program. We talked to Olaf Koch, CEO of METRO AG, about his experiences and expectations regarding the program and the participating startups.

With Techstars METRO Accelerator, you are launching today an important innovation project for METRO. What role do METRO and Techstars play in the startup programme?

Techstars METRO Accelerator is the first technology accelerator in the world that specialises in the hospitality industry, supporting innovative as well as revolutionary ideas in this field. We want to help make our customers even more successful by using digital solutions for their business. Techstars is the perfect partner for us: around the world, Techstars stands for mentor-supported startup investment programmes, contributing their almost ten years of expertise in the area of startup organisation and a huge network of alumni and mentors to the programme. Together, we can offer our teams the support of young businesses as well as comprehensive access to our customers, independent businesses, hoteliers and restaurateurs. A perfect combination for the startups.

What do you expect from the programme?

First of all, I’m excited that it’s now really starting. Our team from Techstars and METRO has been working for months towards this moment. I’m excited to see how the startups will start in the accelerator, which characters and projects will meet here and how ideas and concepts will develop and grow. The diverse input from mentors and the intensive accelerator programme are sure to result in a “greenhouse effect”. I assume that the startups will take advantage of the mentors’ knowledge as much as possible and will excel even beyond their expectations during the three months in the accelerator.

What connects you personally to young companies?

A variety of things: the excitement for the new, the conviction that there’s incredible potential to be found for digital solutions in the hospitality industry, and the passion for being able to help shape something. Finally, there’s also my belief that big changes are only possible when people work together. We want to contribute to that and offer something that will hopefully help everyone become even more successful.

Do you have a favourite among the eleven chosen startups in Techstars METRO Accelerator?

No. From the very beginning of the programme, I was impressed not only by the number of applications, but also by the quality of the submissions from around the world. Of course, at the beginning of the application phase for the Techstars METRO Accelerator, we were hoping for a lot of interesting participants. But what we got ended up really impressing me, particularly when it came to the extremely high level and the obvious innovative power so many startups possess.

What will happen to the startups after the accelerator ends?

Ideally, all our participants will have significantly moved forward after the accelerator, not only with their concept but also with a concrete structure for their growth strategy. At the completion of the programme at the end of January, we will have a Demo Day. This is when all the startups will have the chance to present their vision and business ideas to investors. We can’t tell in advance what will result from their pitch. But from Techstars’ experience, we can definitely predict that further investments are not just theoretically possible. Moreover, we will also see where commercial partnerships with us seem possible and profitable, so that we can then focus on our overarching goal: to make independent entrepreneurs even more successful.

You may also like

Apply now