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SPOTLIGHT
Stage
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Where successful startups present their companies
This stage sets the spotlight on the shooting stars of the startup ecosystem. Together with our partner Deutsche Börse Venture Network we handpick startups that are on a high-growth trajectory and have received at least a series A funding round.

The format of on-spot 10-minute company presentations is perfectly designed for investors, VC funds and corporate attendees to get an impression of a whole bunch of companies in a short period of time. On the other hand it's a great opportunity for the presenting companies to keep their investor relations up-to-date and even deepen them in the investors lounge next to the stage.

The presenting startups have raised over 800m Euro in total and represent the fastest growing later stage startups in Europe. The attending investors manage over 1 billion Euros and come to Bits & Pretzels to look at new investment opportunities. 

Can‘t wait to see which deals result from these meetings.
Featured investors
presenting partner
Deutsche Börse Group is a market infrastructure provider for transaction services and trading securities, giving companies and investors access to global capital markets. Deutsche Börse Venture Network was launched in 2015 and has been expanding ever since, with currently more than 500 members across Europe. A customised service offering is an ideal means of support for its members. Growth companies value access to contacts and skill enhancement trainings – both being key factors to successful growth management. It aids companies in their early growth stages in pursuing their financing objectives effectively and optimally. As part of the „Pre-IPO & Capital Markets“ department of Deutsche Börse Cash Market, the network offers investors high-quality investment opportunities in companies from early to late growth and pre-IPO stages.
Stage host and curator
Julian Riedlbauer
Partner GP Bullhound
Julian joined GP Bullhound as a Partner in August 2012 and is head of the German office. Previously Julian was the founder and managing partner of the M&A boutique Pure Equity Advisors.
Due to his experience as an advisor for technology companies on later stage growth equity fundraises and exits he is the expert you need to identify startups that are worthy of presenting at the spotlight stage.
company presentations
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Deutsche Börse AG
Peter Fricke
Head of Deutsche Börse Venture Network

10yrs with Deutsche Boerse Group, Peter Fricke is responsible for the Deutsche Börse Venture Network since April 2017. Prior to that he worked for Eurex in the area of Sales and Business Development Asia / Middle heading the Representative office in Singapore. Peter studied at the University of Mannheim, Germany and Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok Thailand. He is holding a diploma degree in Economics.

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Immutable Insight
Katharina Gehra
Co-Founder & CEO

Katharina is the Co-Founder & CEO of Immutable Insight, a blockchain advanced analytics firm. Prevously, she has been CEO of Interritus Limited, a London based investment vehicle for majority positions in European banks. Supervisory board member of Fürstlich Castell'sche Bank and previously at Kommunalkredit Austria AG. Worked as a project leader at the Boston Consulting Group and Commerzbank AG. MSc in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics.

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Aklamio
Robert Wetzker
CEO

After studying business engineering in Berlin and Rome, Robert co-headed the Competence Center for Information Retrieval and Machine Learning at Technical University Berlin. During this time, he started investigating how information spreads within various types of social communities, and the idea of Aklamio was born.
While still working on his doctoral thesis, Robert entered the entrepreneurial path and co-founded Aklamio in 2011, with the vision of turning customer referrals into every company's main growth channel. Since then, Aklamio has become the world’s leading provider of referral marketing solutions and its technology enables brands worldwide to grow faster from word-of-mouth.

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Sanity
Finn Age Hänsel
Founder

Finn is a serial entrepreneur with a long history of angel investments and political start-up support. Finn started his career at BCG in Germany and Australia and entered the start-up world by founding THE ICONIC, the today largest online fashion retailer in Australia and New Zealand. After executive roles at ProSiebenSat1 and most recently as the CEO of Movinga, Finn has now founded Sanity Group, one of the first European holistic Cannabis companies. Outside work, Finn is also board member of the German Start-up Association.

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Selfapy
Farina Schurzfeld
Founder & CMO

Growth strategist Farina Schurzfeld is current Co-founder of Selfapy, an online therapy platform for mental health disorders.
Previously, she was part of Groupon Australia’s founding team, general manager of Airtasker (Sydney and New York) and co-founder of the largest co-workingspace in Sydney TSL (hosting more than 400 startups). Subsequently, she was Head of Business at two companies of Hitfox Group. Coaching founders, she is also mentor for the Grace Accellerator startup program. She holds a Master of Arts in International Business and has recently been awarded as top 30 under 30 from Forbes magazine.

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ArtNight / ShakeNight / BakeNight / PlantNight
Aimie-Sarah Carstensen
Founder/CEO

Aimie completed a dual Bachelor degree in Mannheim and at the international company Canon which gave her first insights into the world of business. Her career entry led her to Axel Springer where she initially worked for Digital Conferences, later responsible for Digital Media Cooperations. At the same time, Aimie managed to complete her master's degree in economics and politics at the European University Viadrina. In order to develop she moved to the publishing house after graduating and joined Bertelsmann as Head of Product. There she built an in-house platform for career orientation. She led a team of more than 25 employees and won several awards with the platform. As a part-time Aimie founded the blogazine FIELFALT for strong and committed women. In 2016 Aimie met David, with whom she developed the ArtNight concept together and in the September 2016 they founded the start-up ArtNight to offer social painting events. ArtNight is based in Berlin, but acts in 5 countries. At the beginning of 2019 ArtNight launched also ShakeNight (Cocktail Classes), BakeNight (Baking Classes) and PlantNight (Planting Classes). ArtNight employs 50 people.

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FinTecSystems
Stefan Krautkrämer
Managing Director/ Co-Founder

Stefan is Co-Founder and Managing Director of FinTecSystems. Prior to that, Stefan, who studied business informatics, had spent more than seven years in the founding team of SOFORT building up the online payment method "Sofortüberweisung". Stefan last worked as COO in the company until the sale of SOFORT to Klarna AB. At FinTecSystems Stefan is responsible for Corporate Development and Investor Relations.

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ProGlove
Andreas König
CEO

Andreas König has been the CEO of ProGlove, a provider of innovative industrial wearable solutions, since December 2018. König draws on over 20 years management experience. Prior to joining the Munich based start-up, König headed up Swabian 'Unicorn' TeamViewer, where together with his team he increased the number of installations to more than 1.5 billion and increased the number of users to 400 million. As CEO for Swisscom IT Services, the native Austrian integrated two business units with more than 4,500 employees. König began his senior leadership career as general manager of EMEA and subsequently senior vice president at NetApp where, under his guidance, the storage specialist managed a flawless expansion in the European market.

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Personio
Hanno Renner
Co-Founder & CEO

Hanno Renner (29) is the CEO and co-founder of Personio, a company that provides software for recruiting and hr management. After his bachelor’s degree in business administration and engineering he successfully completed his master studies in Munich, Auckland and New York. Since 2015 Hanno preoccupies himself with digitizing the hr departments of small and medium enterprises by developing the HR Operating System Personio together with his team in Munich. Having sailed around the world as a professional skipper, Hanno is more than used to assume responsibility for challenging endeavors. Today, most of his spare time is dedicated to triathlon, beach volleyball and winter sport.

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CarFellows
Nina Geiss
CEO

Nina Geiss is an entrepreneur and visionary with deep insight and marketing experience in the ultra-tech and future mobility sectors. Aiding her in this process is her sharp creativity and deep aptitude for connecting strategic business partnerships.
In 2019 she became the CEO of CarFellows—a start-up on the forefront of what is to become ‘the digital car sales revolution’. In 2014 she founded TaylorFlynn—an agency of switched-on digital marketing misfits who use compelling communication and authentic storytelling to carry the messages across for innovative tech and mobility brands.

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Homelike
Fabian Bosler
CIO/CMO

Fabian Bosler has started his career in capital markets (trading, FX-structuring) but turned to consulting shortly after. In consulting he worked in various functions from small scale model validation projects to large scale bank mergers.
However, ultimately my desire to really create and build solutions led him off the path to partner and made him join Homelike. Where he initially built up the Business Intelligence team, but shortly after took over responsibility for performance marketing also.

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Robo Wunderkind
Anna Iarotska
Cofounder & CEO

Graduate of the London School of Economics, Anna has over 10 years of experience working as a consultant and project director of investment and development projects. She grew up in Ukraine, lived and worked in Germany, the UK, China, and the US, and is now based in Austria.
With Robo Wunderkind, Anna Iarotska has managed to shape a new approach to intersection technology and education. She and her team inspire kids to learn future-oriented skills by creating magical moments of fun and play combined with a learning experience.

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Catana Capital
Bastian Lechner
Founder & CEO

Bastian studied Business Administration at Handelshochschule Leipzig and MIT Sloan School of Management. He started his career at Credit Suisse in M&A. Bastian founded Catana Capital in August 2015 after running the Investment Banking Business Strategy & Innovation department of Commerzbank AG for 4 years. At Catana Capital he is responsible for the corporate strategy and business development.

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Cashlink Technologies
Michael Duttlinger
CEO & Co-Founder

Michael Duttlinger is co-founder and managing director of Cashlink. The start-up, founded in 2016 by his three co-founders and himself, has created an infrastructure for issuing digital equity. Michael Duttlinger holds a master's degree in industrial engineering from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. During his semester abroad at the renowned Mendoza College of Business (Notre Dame) in the USA, Duttlinger specialized in entrepreneurship and design thinking. Michael Duttlinger is co-organizer of the largest continental European Fintech-Meetup, speaker at numerous blockchain events and member of the Entrepreneurs' Organization, one of the largest entrepreneur networks worldwide.

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helden.de
Stefan Herbst
CXO

Stefan is one of the FinTech pioneers in Germany. In 2011, he founded the first InsurTech-Lab in Hamburg. Together with the „Karlsruhe Institute of Technology“ (KIT), Stefan described the future development of digital insurance markets. He also established the „Institute for Applied Consciousness Research“ (InfaB) and was appointed as a party-independent member in the „Future of the Civil Society" commission set up by Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel. In 2015, he and his partners founded „INSURANCE HERO“ and published the brand „HAFTPFLICHT HELDEN“ – the first „full digital player“ in Germany which has now developed further into „helden.de“. Stefan is a member of the „Bundesfachkommission Internet und Digitale Wirtschaft" in Berlin.

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GuestReady
Christian Mischler
Co-Founder & Chairman

Christian is a Co-Founder at GuestReady, one of the world's leading short-term rental management companies with a presence in 14 cities in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Before GuestReady, Christian founded and exited HotelQuickly, at the time the largest last-minute hotel booking app in Asia-Pacific. Before that, he was with Rocket Internet, for which he co-founded Foodpanda and served in the initial phase as the company's Global COO. He is also a Partner at Swiss Founders Fund, where he has made 20+ early stage tech investments over the past 6 years. Christian holds a double master's degree from the University of St.Gallen and CEMS.

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3YOURMIND
Aleksander Ciszek
CEO & Founder

Aleksander is the co-founder and CEO of 3YOURMIND, the software solutions provider for 3D printing.
Since 2013, after founding 3YOURMIND, he has been working with leading European and US manufacturing and engineering companies by integrating additive manufacturing into their production processes or adapting and optimizing their 3D Printing workflows. Aleksander has been involved in managing all external investments into the company and has grown the company to five locations around the world. Aleksander was selected as part of the “2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe” list.

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NavVis
Felix Reinshagen
CEO

Felix is the co-founder and CEO of NavVis a global leader in Indoor Spatial Intelligence Technology (3D mapping, digital twin provisioning, indoor navigation and location based services). Felix has developed software since high school and worked many years as a coder and software architect. He holds degrees in computer science and economics as well as a PhD in information system research. Before founding NavVis Felix spend 6 years at McKinsey advising clients in Hamburg, New York, Palo Alto and Munich on tech and strategy. He is a Young Leader of Atlantik-Brücke, holder of McKinsey’s most prestigious innovation award and gained numerous more as the CEO of NavVis. He is a regular speaker on conferences and author of publications on digitalization, AI, 3D mapping and location based services.

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Fanomena
Marc Grewenig
Co-Founder & CEO

Marc founded his first company, an event agency, at the age of 17, which he successfully sold 7 years later. His experience reaches far over 10 years in the field of events, live-marketing and sponsoring. In 2015 he founded Fanomena, a content technology startup with the mission to share the right content with the right person at the right time.

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optile
Daniel Smeds
CEO & Founder

As an innovator of the payments industry for over 20 years, Daniel Smeds has worked to simplify countless intricate payment challenges. He spent time as CTO at Wirecard and Founder at PAY.ON before starting optile: a company creating an open payment world and reimagining the concept of payments from a merchant perspective. Daniel sees himself as lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time and believes that if the end customer is happy, then the merchant ends up satisfied as well.

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EatAndTheCity / Vivas Stories
Ilkka Lavas
CEO & co-founder

Ilkka Lavas, is a serial entrepreneur, speaker, growth and lean business consultant and digital marketing visionary. He is best known for his companies such as one of the fastest growing company in Europe: City Digital Group, revolutionary restaurant discovery franchise EatAndTheCity, huge advertising network Improve Media, online service design company City Dev Labs, TableOnline table booking service and City-magazine. Lavas started his career as an entrepreneur 23 years ago when he was only 17 years old. Since starting his first company he has grown his business empire and now he is CEO of City Family that employs over 100 people. Now he expands viral stories to new platforms.

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Automotive Artificial Intelligence (AAI)
Intakhab Khan
Managing Director & Founder

Throughout his career as senior manager and director within the automotive industry, Intakhab has a proven record of leadership skills successfully implementing series development projects with his teams as well as driving innovation and strategic cooperations within the area of electrics and electronics development. As founder and managing director of Automotive Artificial Intelligence (AAI) GmbH, he now has set himself the mission to “create a replica of the world” for testing and validating autonomous driving in a high-fidelity simulated environment including dynamic road participants.

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Automotive Artificial Intelligence (AAI)
Isabel Metz
Director Strategy & Business Development

For several years, Isabel has been working at a German premium OEM in China with positions at the electric & electronics development as well as the corporate strategy department. She has rich experiences with strategic partnerships within the automotive industry and China market insights.

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CASAFARI
Nils Henning
Co-Founder, Managing Director

Nils Holger Henning is the co-founder of CASAFARI. The company aims to build the cleanest and most complete real estate database in the world with custom applications for real estate professionals such as a metasearch, daily market data feed, and market analytics. CASAFARI has been developing proprietary machine learning technology and extensive data operations to automatically index, clean, classify and match duplicates of millions of property listings from thousands of different estate websites in different languages with inconsistent information, daily. Since launching in 2018 it has won major companies as customers in Spain and Portugal, from brands such as Sotheby’s International Realty, Coldwell Banker, RE/MAX franchises, Savills, Fine & Country, Engel & Voelkers, Keller Williams and many more.
Prior to founding Casafari Nils was involved the growth of 3 startups into market leaders, now valued at $100 - 600 MM, namely: Bigpoint (Video Games - bigpoint.com) as CCO/ CMO & Shareholder; Kreditech (Fintech - kreditech.com) as a Co-Founder; and Adjust (AdTech - adjust.com) as a Board Member. He has also co-founded / invested in several other startups including Whow Games (whow.com, jackpot.de), IDnow (idnow.de), justBook / Secret Escapes (secretescapes.com), EDITION F (EditionF.com), and MEAJET (meajet.com). Nils has given over 100 keynote speeches and presentations at major international conferences, such as the DLD Munich, MIT University (Boston), Bundestag Berlin, European Business Awards, MIPTV in Cannes, Monaco Media Forum, GDC San Francisco, G-Star Korea, Frankfurter Buchmesse Beijing, and many more. Nils holds an LL.M. in commercial law and a Diplom-Kaufmann degree in business administration.

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flatfair
Franz Doerr
CEO

When Franz moved flats in London in summer 2016, he faced the same problem almost every renter faces. Finding a deposit. After gaining valuable experience in payment technology working for major firms, McKinsey & Company and Deutsche Bank, he decided to spread his wings and tackle the issue head-on. Having led the company as CEO since its foundation, he focuses on Strategy, Innovation, HR, Finance & Investor Relations. Franz holds a bachelor’s degree in Management & Business Law, and a master’s degree in Finance from EBS University, Oestrich-Winkel. He grew up on a farm in small franconian village close to the river Altmühl.

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SPREE by HolodeckVR
Jonathan Nowak Delgado
Founder & Managing Director

Jonathan’s passion is to build & scale successful companies globally. He is a serial entrepreneur in fields from natural resources to cyber security. Currently he serves as Co-Founder & Managing Director of the virtual reality company SPREE Interactive. SPREE Interactive specializes in affordable, high throughput & high ROI location-based VR for up to 20 simultaneous players.
Until date he led projects in the mobile commerce, healthcare and natural resources industries. He started his career as a strategy and innovation consultant for Virtual Consulting International in the Perth, Johannesburg und New York offices during which has co-led large-scale open innovation consortia like the AngloGold Ashanti Technology Innovation Consortium in South Africa.
User-centric product & service innovation is at the core of Jonathan’s ventures.

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i-surance
Jens Schädler
CEO

Jens Schädler
CEO
i-surance
Jens is the founder and CEO of i-surance. i-surance is a bootstrapped insurtech founded in 2012 offering a insurance-as-a-service platform for manufacturers, retailers and telecom operators which want to grow into adjacent insurance services (B2B2C business model). i-surance has been profitable since it 2nd year of operation, has grown by >50% p.a. over the last years and is home of >80 awesome talents comprising 30 different nationalities and a women share of >60% and 50% female leaders.
Before founding i-surance, Jens was Partner at Bain & Company and has 18 years of strategy consulting experience in tech and telecom industries. He studied business administration and law and has a Ph.D. in law and a master degree from the Community of European Management Schools (CEMS). He has the Swiss and French nationality, a family with 2 kids and lives in Zurich, Switzerland.

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shipcloud
Markus Kreipl
CFO

Entreprenuer from heart with a passion to reshape the future, and driven by embracing the unknown. Markus loves to build new stuff.
Currently, he is the CFO of shipcloud and responsible for strategic tasks, accounting, finance, tax and legal affairs.
Prior to that, he has been a founder and managing partner to a consulting and development company which focused on the commercialization of technologies, their transfer, and own developments in chemistry.
His deep linkage to finance & accounting began at the Department of Accounting and Auditing of the Helmut-Schmidt-University, where he graduated with a PhD and occasionally teaches as an Associate Professor.
While he was studying business administration, he already gained first experiences with the development and implementation of innovative concepts in his first own company and dealt with the start-up of an infrastructure supplier in the UAE.
During university, he also took over first management responsibility at the Financial Times Deutschland as the Head of Research within the online department.