Issue 32, November 2012
bulletAccelerating German-American Business: Interview with Oliver Hanisch
bulletGAIN TEN - Transatlantic Entrepreneurship Network
bulletOptimal Allocation of the Labor Force is a Vibrant Economic Challenge
bulletInsights from a German Entrepreneur in New York
bulletInnovation: No GPS Signal? The NAVVIS Positioning System Helps You Find Your Way
November is Entrepreneurship Month. Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), the world's largest celebration of innovators and self-starters, has been in existence since 2008. In Germany, GEW activities are organized by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) and the RKW Competence Center. Last year, Global Entrepreneurship Week / Germany reached more than 40,000 people with 1,392 events ranging from youth competitions to entrepreneurship fairs. This year, the number of events increased to nearly 2,000.

According to a recent blogpost by GEW President Jonathan Ortmans, Germany's support for GEW coincides with the 2010 BMWi-launched Gründerland Deutschland (Startup Nation Germany) initiative. Ortmans also mentioned that "Germany is now one of top public spenders on entrepreneurs." One of the numerous German Government-funded programs is EXIST, which provides support for university-based business start-ups. The German Center for Research and Innovation (GCRI) is in the process of adding an overview of German funding opportunities for entrepreneurs to its website.

From its beginning, GCRI has supported entrepreneurial activities of researchers and brought academia and industry together at a variety of events, most recently on November 7 at the "Keeping Manufacturing Competitive: Industry-University Collaboration in Germany and the U.S." panel discussion. Past E-NNOVATION GERMANY issues have focused on universities as drivers of innovation and entrepreneurship and their role on regional development

Oliver Hanisch
article2Accelerating German-American Business: Interview with Oliver Hanisch 

Oliver Hanisch is a German entrepreneur, business developer, and consultant based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is also Vice President of Business Development & Operations of the German Silicon Valley Accelerator (GSVA), an initiative that provides three months of intensive support and mentoring programs for selected German ICT start-ups in Silicon Valley. In this GCRI interview, Oliver discusses GSVA's approach to enhancing German-American business relationships, entrepreneurial cultures in Germany and the U.S., key ingredients for a successful start-up, and the impact of university-industry collaboration on entrepreneurship. To read the interview, click here.


Oliver has founded several companies and launched numerous initiatives and projects, such as the Founder Institute Berlin, a training and mentorship program for entrepreneurs. He was co-founder and CMO at SnipClip, a social applications and games company, and Director of Business Development at Red Herring, a Silicon Valley-based publisher providing products and services for the start-up and venture capital community. 


When he isn't advising organizations and governments on entrepreneurial programs and incubation models, Oliver likes to scout for the latest innovations and emerging trends in ICT. 

Silicon Valley field trip
article3GAIN TEN - Transatlantic Entrepreneurship Network

The German Academic International Network (GAIN) is a flourishing network of German scholars and scientists in North America. GAIN was created in 2003 to improve the flow of information on career opportunities at German universities, research institutions, and in the private business sector. The annual convention, frequent workshops, and a monthly newsletter form the basis for cooperation and exchange, on both a professional and personal level.


Former GAIN Advisory Board member Dr. Andreas Schmidt, a molecular and cell biologist, co-founder and CEO of AyoxxA Biosystems, initiated the idea of creating an entrepreneurial network for GAIN members in 2008. Since then, the GAIN Transatlantic Entrepreneurship Network (TEN) has supported German researchers interested in founding their own start-ups by introducing academics to entrepreneurs, investors, and mentors; by providing entrepreneurship and funding workshops; and by enabling research opportunities at small bio- and biotech companies. In 2010, GAIN TEN added the Transatlantic Entrepreneurial Breakfast to GAIN's annual conference program, where researchers, investors, representatives of Germany's leading funding organizations, and German government officials discuss ways to kick-start, promote, and support innovative entrepreneurial projects. In September 2011, the German Center for Research and Innovation and GAIN TEN provided German researchers and members of the German Parliament with the opportunity to experience the world of entrepreneurship firsthand with a field trip to Silicon Valley, where they were introduced to Silicon Valley-based start-ups and support programs, such as the German Silicon Valley Accelerator.  


Further GAIN TEN activities are planned for the 2013 GAIN meeting and talent fair in San Francisco. For more information, please contact the GAIN office in New York.

article4Optimal Allocation of the Labor Force is a Vibrant Economic Challenge 

Contribution by Florian Röllig, Co-Founder & CEO of poachee. He presented this new job matching platform at the German Innovation Showcase - German Tech meets Silicon Alley in New York City on October 11, 2012.

Recent studies, such as the Deloitte Shift Index or the Kelly Global Workforce Index show that at least 50% of the labor force is dissatisfied with current job conditions and is willing to change to a more promising position.
This has a negative impact on both employees and employers. Frustrated employees under-deliver and employers' organizational efficiency decreases, thus making the company less competitive in globalizing markets. The larger the number of passive job seekers transferred to positions that allow them to focus on their strengths and work with greater motivation, the better the overall economy.

The Internet contributed significantly to creating transparency in various markets, and matching platforms help matching demand and offer all kinds of websites such as dating sites, auction platforms and job platforms for active (!) job seekers., a Berlin and New York-based start-up, established the first efficient matching site for recruiters and passive job seekers. It has never been easier to poach valuable, highly-skilled employees - or, from a job seeker's perspective, to get poached with only a little effort.

article5Insights from a German Entrepreneur in New York

Daniel Kraft is a German-born entrepreneur who, as CEO, led RedDot from Germany into the American market, through rapid growth, and, ultimately, to acquisition by Open Text Corporation. He is co-founder and Managing Partner of
ifridge, a consulting firm that helps innovators build companies, and is CEO of NewsGator, a leading provider of social enterprise software. Together with VentureOutNYC, ifridge hosted the German Innovation Showcase - German Tech meets Silicon Alley on October 11, 2012, in New York City.

Daniel Kraft's 5 Tips for Foreigners Divin
g Into the American Market:
  • Speak the language, but don't be embarrassed to say you don't know a word or phrase. Nobody will judge you for it, and it will prevent future problems and misunderstandings.
  • Longer elevator rides don't mean longer elevator pitches. There are 10 million people in NYC alone, and getting people's attention can be challenging. Perfect your elevator pitch. The first impression will help you get your foot in the door.
  • As this is the global capital of money, everyone in the city knows his/her value and you need to be aware of yours, too. Whether it is the valuation of your business or the appropriate bonus for your sales reps, we are all coin operated some way or the other.
  • Get used to business breakfasts and networking meetings over coffee. People are busy, and meetings may happen in off-work hours.  So be prepared to extend your day by holding early breakfast gatherings or late-night dinner meetings.
  • Embrace the subway! If it's good enough for the mayor, it's good enough for you. And knowing your way around the trains is like a rite of passage in NYC; it's part of what makes you a local.
Image provided by ifridge

NAVVIS Positioning System
article6Innovation: No GPS Signal? The NAVVIS Positioning System Helps You Find Your Way

Whether you're walking, biking or driving, navigation systems assist with getting from A to B - provided a GPS signal is available. This positioning technology generally works well in urban and rural outdoor areas, but is of limited use indoors. To find the way in large, complex indoor settings like hospitals or airports, we often need to rely on signs. Researchers at Technische Universität München (TUM) have developed NAVVIS, a positioning system which uses visual information and realistic 3D images to point users in the right direction.

NAVVIS is primarily based on visual information. Its main capabilities are the localization and mapping of the environment to determine position and orientation. Through a smart phone app, users can view a map for self-localization. After taking a photo of the surroundings, the program then compares the photo with the images in its database and determines the exact location and direction in which the user is facing. 3D arrows will then point the way to the desired location.

NAVVIS is currently being tested at TUM: "With multiple floors and winding corridors, the main campus is something of a maze after several decades of expansion, making this an ideal NAVVIS testing ground," says Georg Schroth, project head at TUM's Institute for Media Technology. Besides navigation, NAVVIS can also be used for augmented reality applications at museums or virtual tours on a PC or smart phone. For more information, click here.

Photo: For the mapping NAVVIS uses both vertical and horizontal laser scans. The environment is displayed as a three-dimensional point cloud. Image: G. Schroth/TUM