Get your startup ready for the future

How will our energy supply look in the future? Which waste management measures will lead the way in future? How will we get around, how will we communicate and how does digital energy work? – If these are your topics, then we are the right partner for you. Because kraftwerk is the place for entrepreneurs, founders and startups who are passionate about shaping tomorrow’s urban infrastructure. Smart. Sustainable. Renewable.

Our topics

  • Rethinking energy
  • Digital business models
  • Industry 4.0
  • New waste management solutions

What you can expect

After intensive review of all written applications, we’ll invite the best startup teams to come to Bremen. If you make it through the preliminary selection, you’ll be part of the 2-day selection process, the award ceremony for the Smart Tech Trophy 2017, €4,000 prize money, 14 months in the accelerator, up to €60,000 of financial support for you and your team, highly-qualified tutors from the areas of business, technology and sales, and an invitation to an individual workshop. All this is to get you and your company on the right track.

But that’s not all. As winner, you’ll have doors opened for a direct access to markets, and guaranteed collaboration with experts from our affiliates. We at kraftwerk can offer you, along with our broad knowledge, access to our extensive network of high-quality partners and clients from a variety of industries. At kraftwerk, we’ll work with you to find the answers to tomorrow’s important questions. The energy providers swb and EWE, as well as the Mercedes-Benz Bremen Plant, are on board.


We’re looking for young companies for innovative and successful collaboration. Are you what we’re looking for? Then convince us of your idea, your personality, and your team, and we’ll invite you to our 3-day “Selection Days”.

This is our plan

Day #1 “Pitch Day” (14/11/17): You present your idea to our jury of experts. If your presentation is a winning one, you’ll be accepted into Round 2.

Day #2 “Qualifying” (15/11/2017): We’ll take a close look at your business venture together with you and with business and industry experts. Together, we’ll decide on your possible participation in the sponsoring programme in the accelerator (begins January 2018).

Day #3 Awarding of the “SMART TECH TROPHY 2017” (16/11/2017): The top 5 teams will qualify for the final pitch. We’ll reward the most winning business idea with the Smart Tech Trophy 2017 and prize money in the amount of €4,000. Moreover we’ll award €1,000 to the team with the “best pitch of the evening”.

Who may apply?

Anyone with a good share of courage, commitment, and the determination to get his or her idea started in Germany, is welcome to apply.
Does your project fit our current criteria? Want to move your company forward here in Bremen? Then apply for a chance to win a place in our kraftwerk accelerator.

Good luck!

How and until when can I apply?

Send us your idea using the form below by 13th August 2017.

The support programme

The kraftwerk accelerator programme offers extensive support to startups.

Support is offered for 14 months, in three phases: The first phase (six months) focuses on the development of the business concept.
The second phase (four months) involves the concept’s establishment and investment.
It shall also involve the development of necessary commercial expertise.
The third and final phase (four months) concentrates on market development, market launch and the establishment of sales foundations and sales activities.

In detail

Each startup team in the sponsoring programme will be accompanied by a tutor. This tutor will be available to the startup team at all times as contact partner and supporter. The tutor mediates contact with experts in the respective companies, and supports the startup teams in the further development of their business concepts. The startup teams will be given access to expert support from both the companies’ technical and administrative areas. We operate real facilities and have real customers. We have access to the markets: we can also offer use of business data for the further development of business concepts.

In each phase, the startup team and the tutor will agree on objectives, and together will examine the successful achievement of these objectives at the end of the phase. If these objectives are met,
the team moves into the next phase. If the objectives have not been met, the cause for this will be examined, and the support programme may possibly be terminated.

kraftwerk supports the startup team over the entire course of the sponsoring programme. In the first phase, up to two members of the startup may each receive €1,500 each month. After the 7th month this may increase to up to three members, and after the 11th month up to four team members may receive €1,500 per month. This funding is meant to ensure that the startup team can develop as a company,
and that it learn to rise to the growing challenges with the necessary competences. Extensive workshops shall be offered in order to build up the necessary skills. A co-working space serves as a workplace for all startup teams, and provides room for communal exchange.

In return for our support we will receive a share of ten percent from the business concept or the company. This commits swb or the affiliate to the business concept as joint partner. swb has no interest in entrepreneurship, and will not use any business idea without consultation with the startup. On the contrary; as a strong partner, swb will be an additional guarantor for the business concept’s successful implementation.

Our experts are here in Bremen, where we have our facilities and access to our markets. Therefore a strong presence in Bremen is necessary for the startup in order to ensure optimal support.

Between 23rd June and 13th August 2017, startup teams from all over the world are welcome to apply in connection with the topics announced by kraftwerk.
A completed application form shall suffice to gain admission to the selection days in Bremen on 14-16 November 2017.
Selected startups will receive an invitation by mid-October 2017.

On the two selection days, experts from the affiliate companies will intensively examine the startup teams present and the submitted business concepts and decide who will be supported in the accelerator programme as at January 2018.

The final pitch day and awarding of the Smart Tech Trophy is 16th November 2017:
only a small number of applicant teams will be invited to present their concept, one last time, to the audience. The winning team will received the coveted Smart Tech Trophy and a monetary prize of 4,000 euros during the formal award ceremony.

Rethinking energy

  • Sustainable energy supply for industrial companies in conurbation areas
  • Smart energy management in the home of tomorrow (e-mobility, prosumer, etc.)
  • Digital sector coupling
  • Alternatives to grid development
  • Innovative PV solutions
  • Storage and peak-load concepts

Digital business models

  • Prosumer models (B2B, B2C)
  • Blockchain
  • Use of data for marketing of services and for the development of new business models
  • Smart home (private and industrial)

Industry 4.0

  • Virtual augemented reality, especially for training
  • Predictive maintenance (renewable energies)
  • Voice-operated production support
  • Product identification, -tracking, -localization, -controlling

New waste solutions

  • Recycling of wind turbine blades
  • Recycling of storage devices/batteries

We will reimburse travel costs (per team, upon submission of receipts) up to the following amounts:

  • Travel from within Germany – 100 euros
  • Travel to Germany from within Europe – 250 euros
  • Travel from outside of Europe – 1,000 euros

You are free to organise your own lodgings.

We’ll also give you a subsidy of up to 50 euros/per person/per night for max. two persons and max. four nights for your lodging costs, upon submission of receipt.

For the reimbursement of travel and lodging costs, please bring your original receipts to kraftwerk and fill out a cost reimbursement form there.