“We Let the Startups Speak For Us”

Interview Alexander Zumdieck, Managing Director METRO Accelerator powered by Techstars

New York is a hotspot for restaurant and foodtech. What can Berlin learn from New York? And is there anything NYC can learn from Berlin?

I think founders in both cities are already connected well with each other, but there’s still a lot to learn from each other. That’s what our last trip to the DLD New York showed us. We used the opportunity to take a close look at the scene there, absorbing everything that inspired us – and then using them or at least trying them out in Germany. It’s important for us to build bridges to innovative startups there and vice versa. METRO will be an institution in our industry. We want to promote digitization in HoReCa. The first round of our accelerator has already shown how seriously we’re taking it.

We are now going into the second round with our partner Techstars, and the application phase for the second batch is going at full blast! Founders can apply at www.metroaccelerator.com. I think it can also contribute to the scene in New York. It’s important to us to promote exchange and networking. There’s a reason our first class was very international, including three teams from the States. In his last interview, Olaf Koch, METRO CEO, said “the future of food is digital”. The only question is how to get there, and it can only be answered globally.

What did you take away with you from the DLD New York?

The New York branch of the DLD was really exciting! An amazing networking event with a lot of exciting keynote speakers, interesting discussions from the American founder scene and intensive talks. The vibe was fantastic! I’m looking forward to the next edition.

How do you motivate the community in NYC to participate in the METRO Accelerator powered by Techstars?

Really simple: we let our startups from the first batch speak for us. The program and the field reports from the first run were successful all around – we see that as well as the startups that participated. We are already pushing a lot of projects with young founders, we’ll see the mutual long-term benefits in the years to come. We can all learn from each other and become better. Startups can’t press on in the digital transformation alone, and neither can we as a corporation. Together, everything looks a lot better! Being part of this edition is actually motivation enough for both sides – and on top of that, we also provide an amazing infrastructure in Berlin, first-class mentoring and a competitive funding from up to 120,000 euros for each startup. The Techstars programs run worldwide and have proven over the past few years that after the three program months, the teams are years ahead in their company development. This is surely also attractive to founders from New York.

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