The Digital

Startup Competition

Welcome to SPARK, the startup competition that empowers you to transform your boldest ideas into viable products with real world impact.


Use the unique opportunity to connect with students from different backgrounds.
 Computer Science, Design and many more. Also you will have the chance to learn from successful local entrepreneurs that will guide you through the first steps as you develop your initital idea to a working business model. It should be noted here that the term business model is broadly defined. Business models that are financed by donations or public funds are also welcome! Get ready for a 11 week journey with plenty of insights and the chance to connect with the most interesting people from Freiburg. Who knows maybe your future co-founder is among the fellow participants! As bachelor student you can earn 4 ECTS, the startup competition is accredited as BOK course by the University Freiburg.


To ensure that you can gain all necessary skills to build a company we have composed a versatile program. The Kickoff and Demo Day are mandatory, the workshops are not. However we recommend to visit at least three of them. In the light of the corona virus we have made this a fully virtual curriculum, so feel free to apply even if you're not directly from Freiburg.


On this day you will get to know the other participants, your mentors and the whole team from the Foundersclub Freiburg. It is really important that everyone from every team participates.

This is our only chance to provide an effective matching. In the first block you will have the chance to pitch your idea and find complementary cofounders. In the second block there will be a series of videos where the mentors introduce themselves. Afterwards you will have the chance to video chat with them.

We are looking forward to getting to know all of you!

Date And Time

02. May 2020

12:00 - 16:00 CEST

Business Models

Business Modelling is the core activity of a startup. Actually, to work out an innovative business modell and to find ways to implement it is the raison d'être for a startup.

In this workshop you will learn how to design a business model from your initial business idea. Due to the timely constraints we put a strong focus on your value proposition and the corresponding target customer groups. To really understand your customers' needs we have to serve with our business, we use the JTBD principle as a guidline. After a brief introduction into the principles of business modelling we will start right away with designing your business models.

About Speaker

Peter Gräser

Senior Business Development Manager @ innoWerft. Peter Gräser has been a serial entrepreneur since 1988. At innoWerft in Walldorf / Baden he supports founders of B2B and deep tech startups on their way to success as well as established companies in their cooperation with startups. Peter Gräser is an expert for leadership, entrepreneurship development and the development of innovative business models.

Date And Time

09. May 2020

10:00 - 16:00 CEST

Build Your Tech Team

In this workshop Sascha will share his rich experience in building tech teams in various environments. Of course there will be general advice on how to create a good team spirit but in addition you will learn the tweaks and hints to build a powerful and efficient tech team.

To give you a little overview, the following topics will be discussed:

  • Provide Necessary Tools
  • Delegate
  • Reward Problem-Solving
  • Inform Your Team About Customer Feedback
  • Ask Appropriate Questions
  • Encourage Creativity

Of course at the end of the seminar you can bring in your own questions!

About Speaker

Sascha Rudolph

Sascha is an entrepreneur with a passion for startups that are tech focused and people driven. He is working on digital business models and is the initiator of Co-Founder.Space, an initiative that helps startups build great teams.

Date And Time

14. May 2020

18:00 - 20:00 CEST

Rapid Prototyping

After an introduction – covering the goals, advantages and success factors of Rapid Prototyping – we will switch to hands-on mode:

You will get to know the most popular types and examples of prototypes and learn how to plan, build and evaluate a prototype on your own. Then you will apply your insights to your real projects, first each team on its own, followed by a co-creation phase. At the end of this workshop, every team will have identified and conceptualized a prototype which is appropriate for their current stage of ideation or product development and which will enable them to reach their next milestone more easily.

About Speaker

Emanuel Zettl

With a Master’s degree in Usability and User Experience Design (UUXD), Emanuel has advised digital projects of both blue-chip and startup companies as well as social organizations for almost 20 years. In 2019 he founded a Freiburg-based software venture allowing child care and education institutions to manage digital media in a more safe and easy way Mäuschen.

Date And Time

16. May 2020

12:00 - 16:00 CEST


In this workshop you will get an insight into modern web development with HTML, CSS and JavaScript. By means of practical examples you will learn in a playful way how to set up your own web projects and how to develop them in the long run.

You will need these skills if you want to market your product over the internet or if the product itself should be accessed over the internet. The workshop is aimed at beginners as well as advanced web developers. The goal of the workshop is that every participant gets the appropriate tools to develop his individual projects independently and to find the appropriate resources.

About Speaker

Marcel Engelmann

At Mercedes-Benz Digital Business Development, Marcel is helping to develop the future of mobility. Prior to that, he was founder and managing director of MENUX GmbH for three years. He has over 5 years of experience in web development and more than 3 years of project management experience in large IT and web applications. In addition, Marcel is the winner of the largest programming competition in the automotive industry and has received several awards for the development of innovative IT projects. Marcel is regarded as an expert for digital innovation and has already given lectures at Microsoft, Volkswagen or

Date And Time

23. May 2020

12:00 - 14:00 CEST


Not only aspects like a promising idea, a well-functioning team and funding form the major keystones of a startup. Particularly in the initial phase of a startup many legal questions arise.

In this workshop the most important legal issues are solved interactively by the lawyers Dr. Jan Henning Martens and Dr. Lukas Kalkbrenner together with you. So, on May 30th, everything evolves around exciting legal areas such as trademark law, company law and the Data Protection - and of course, the application to your ideas!

About Speakers

Dr. Jan Henning Martens

Dr. Jan Henning Martens started studying law in Tübingen. Before moving to Freiburg, he spent several months of his legal traineeship in a large international and a large German law firm in Düsseldorf. He is the youngest partner for corporate law / M&A at Friedrich Graf von Westphalen law firm as a specialist lawyer for commercial and company law, where he started in 2010. In addition to advising on medical device regulation, he focuses as well on providing consulting services to startups. Besides German and English, he is also fluent in Portuguese, Swedish and French.

Dr. Lukas Kalkbrenner

Dr. Lukas Kalkbrenner studied law in Augsburg where he specialised in the area of intellectual property. After his legal traineeship in the IP department of the Munich law firm King & Wood Mallesons LLP, he kept working there while doing his PhD. Since 2016 he is working as a lawyer for trademark, copyright, design and competition law at the Friedrich Graf von Westphalen law firm in Freiburg. He has a lot of knowledge and experience in dealing with data protection, a topic he has already published several scientific papers about. Furthermore, he is a passionate wildwater paddler.

Date And Time

30. May 2020

09:00 - 11:00 CEST

Classic Finance

This will be an interactive webinar in which we will answer the following questions:

  • Which business models are suitable for business angels and VCs?
  • When am I investment-ready?
  • How should I proceed when looking for investors?
  • What does all this bullshit bingo mean?
  • What are KPI and how do they help investors to evaluate your idea / business?
  • What is a financial plan?
  • What are the pros and cons of a VC investment?
  • What are VCs looking for when investing in a company?
  • And how does a VC actually work?

Of course if any questions are left open you can ask them in the interactive part.

About Speaker

Sebastian Böhmer

Together with fellow students, Sebastian Böhmer has created the first venture capital provider for students in Germany. In the past he was the chair of the biggest student entrepreneurship in Germany, the Pioniergarage. He holds a degree in Business Engineering from KIT. He is mainly responsible for fundraising at First Momentum Ventures.

Date And Time

06. June 2020

12:00 - 14:00 CEST

Alternative Finance

An interactive webinar where the following will be discused:

  1. Social entrepreneurs earn financing, even if they are not (yet) self-financing Social innovations create - as the word says - something new. Like almost all innovations, they are not worthwhile from the outset because they first have to find their market or build it themselves >> So social entrepreneurs become the successful development department of our society
  2. The good news is that there is not too little money. The bad news: But too many problems with it. Huge sums of money are donated every year and awarded through grants. This supposedly "free" money is not nearly as useful as it could be... >> How we could use existing money more effectively
  3. The sponsors live on different planets. But social entrepreneurs need the whole spectrum of financing. Private donors, foundations, social investors and public authorities live on completely different planets - with different expectations... >> Let's develop the planet- to the ecosystem we need
  4. Social entrepreneurs are looking for sponsors. Actually, it could be the other way around. Not only social entrepreneurs have a mission. Social backers want to achieve the highest possible impact... >> Why the need must be the focus, not the instrument

About Speaker

Svenja von Gierke

Svenja von Gierke advises social and creative startups in the field of alternative financing, innovation & strategy. The studied innovation manager and passionate fundraiser brings 15 years of experience in the management of social enterprises, cultural institutions and NGOs. She is co-founder of the Social Innovation Lab in Freiburg, a non-profit association and a sustainability agency.

Date And Time

13. June 2020

14:00 - 16:00 CEST

User Testing

Welcome to the 9th workshop of the SPARK education program!

We are realizing this workshop in cooperation with the Karlsruhe startup 'Usertimes', which is specialized on this problem. So you can expect a lot of expert knowledge. The agenda so far:
In the workshop we will cover the whole process in a quick run-through:
- How do I determine my target group.
- How do I recruit test persons.
- How do I prepare the test. (techniques and bias)
- How do I run the test.
- How do I evaluate.

Each with a short practical exercise.

About Speaker

Dominic Staub

"If you have a solition and you know how to resolve the problem, dive headlong and do whatever it takes to be part of the solution, not the problem."

Dominic Staub received his degree in business administration/market and communication research at the University of Pforzheim. Before he founded his startup with two other colleagues, he has extended his knowledge in project management at Eyezag. And now he is CFO of Usertimes GmbH in Karlsruhe.

Date And Time

20. June 2020

12:00 - 16:00 CEST

Video Editing

In this workshop you will learn the basics of video editing and the tools you can use to make awesome videos. After participating in this workshop, you will not only know which software is good for your project, but also have an overview over essential techniques and helpful addons.

About Speaker

Kamal El-Afifi

Kamal is a student in Freiburg and a passionate video editor. In school, he managed several video editing projects and continued to improve his skills up until today.

Date And Time

22. June 2020

18:00 – 20:00 CEST

Online Marketing

Have you ever wondered which marketing channel you should start with? Facebook or Google Ads? Instagram or youtube? Coldmailing or Coldcalling? What the heck is a sales funnel, and where do I start with my online marketing?

If you want to learn how to set up a scalable client acquisition process for your startup then this workshop is for you. In the workshop we will:

  • Identify your ideal customers and the best place to find them.
  • write a one-page marketing plan that will get you your first customers
  • learn how to speak to your ideal clients and what marketing channels you can use
  • find out why a value proposition is more important than a USP (unique selling point)
  • create a basic client acquisition strategy

About Speaker

Ivo Rappenecker

Adceptional Marketing and Consulting

Founder of the digital marketing agency Adceptional, which specializes in marketing automation for educational businesses. Ivo helps his clients to build scalable marketing systems and create a consistent stream of new customers.

Luis and Till

Luis and Till are the founders of the full-service agency Freed & Friends. With their offer, they address to businesses that want to scale-up and to highly motivated founders that want to take the first step into the market.

As an e-commerce veteran, Till knows his way around performance marketing. Now he is responsible for internal operations and client fulfillment. Luis deals with web presence and strategic consulting.

Date And Time

27. June 2020

12:00 - 16:00 CEST

Pitch Training

Mastering the art of the startup pitch is important for more than just impressing investors.

Whether fundraising for your startup, or simply meeting with advisors, partners, press, and potential hires, being able to accurately describe what your company is, does, and offers is an essential skill.

There is a subtle art to pitching, and it’s tough to get it right the first time. Like most other things, good pitching needs practice!
With this Pitch Training, we want to give you the opportunity to practice your pitching skills with the help of professionals and pitching experts, and to acquire skills that you and your Start-Up will benefit from not only for the Demo Day, but on a long term basis.

About Speaker


Across Germany, consilcom GmbH is made up of a network of more than 60 permanent and freelance employees. All our trainers undergo continuous further training. Practical experience as a trainer for top German companies means that the latest knowledge is continually incorporated into the training sessions.

With personal focuses and long-term experience in the development and implementation of management training, as well as communication and conflict management training, our experts support companies in the development of healthy employee management and sustainability in the corporate communication culture.

Date And Time

04. July 2020

Starting 12:00 - 15:00 CEST

Demo Day

This is the day you have all been waiting for. It’s time to climb up the stage and present all the tremendous work you have done in the last 11 weeks.

You will also get an idea what your peer teams have been up to in the last three months. Of course there will be the jury representing various startup stakeholders of Freiburg. Like Jürgen Gomeringer that is head of the sustainable startup accelerator SMART GREEN ACCELERATOR, Ivan Acimoic that represents the city of Freiburg, Thorsten Lipps a partner at the Black Forest Business Angels and two more representing the business alliance Freiburg FWTM and Haufe which the biggest software company based out of Freiburg respectively. Also we have organized a special guest: Harald Schüteichel. He is a seasoned entrepreneur in the solar industry that now focuses on entrepreneurship as a means of development and assistance in African countries.

We hope that you will keep that day in good memory!

Date And Time

11. July 2020

Starting 18:00 CEST


In our opinion the complementary composition of a team is a key factor for its success. To ensure that every team has the abilties to build a working prototype we have 4 categories of participants. For each we have reserved 20 spots.


A designer plays an important role in every project. You always need people with visions and a sense of creativity and astetics. You study media management, design, theater, fashion or something comparable or you're a self taught designer.

This category is full


After a while you will see that an idea is not worth so much. It is about execution. Tech students have the competencies to translate a mere idea into something more concrete e.g. a click dummy, a prototype or a working application.

This category is full


Business talent Welcome: On one hand you make sure that the service or product doesn't exceed certain costs and on the other side you look for appropriate sources of money like public grants, impact investors or traditional VCs.

This category is full

Wild Cards

You bring crazy ideas into the game. You’re keen to bring them to life. In this category we pay attention to a very diverse field of applicants. You can come from any background as long as you're enthusiastic about changing the status quo.

This category is full

Your Mentors

You will never walk alone. In our program we will connect you and your team with a seasoned, successful and local entrepreneur or a person with special expertise. These persons have exactly the knowledge that you need to start a company from scratch. Throughout the competition they provide you with insights, help you with their network and they will constantly challenge your ideas. At the kickoff event we will match the right mentor for your venture. In total there will be 10 mentors for 10 teams. Here you can see a little abstract:

Lucas Spohn

« CEO Idana »

Founder & CEO of Idana, the eHealth company that accelerates and digitazies the anamnesis process. Lucas succesfully managed the biggest crowdinvesting campaign in Freiburg ever.

Laila Berning

« CEO Noor Medical »

Laila is a social impact entrepreneur who co-founded Noor Medical, a safe surgery enterprise dedicated to improving healthcare outcomes in Low and Middle-Income countries. Photo Credit

David Hübner

« Initiator Freiburg AI »

Founder of Freiburg AI. He was a PhD student in the Brain-State Decoding Lab at the University of Freiburg. He worked on unsupervised machine learning methods that can calibrate itself only by using unlabeled data.

Emanuel Zettl

« CEO Mäuschen App »

Emanuel is the founder and CEO of a venture in the field of children education. He has a big passion for seamless user experience, web design, information architecture and the latest web trends.

Christoph Gebele

« Co-Founder Geospin »

Co-Founder & CMO at Geospin, an AI StartUp which specializes in (geographic) forecasts offering a B2B Software platform. He has experience in management, business model development, marketing, B2B sales and business development.

Jerome Meinke

« Co-Founder Tomes GmbH »

Jerome is the Co-Founder & CTO at Tomes GmbH. He is working on a project called Idana to optimize and digitalize the process of a medical treatment. He is the tech leader and so has experiences in software development and medicine.

David Fischer

« Co-Founder Greenventory »

Greenventory, a spin-off of Fraunhofer ISE and KIT. He worked as project manager and senior researcher in the group of smart grids focusing on data-analytics, modeling and controls of complex, interconnected renewable energy systems.

Ali-Sina Moghadam

« Co-Founder Youvendo »

Ali-Sina is the Co-Founder of Youvendo, a full service digital marketing agency. He is also a managing partner of BVH Black Forest Vertrieb und Handel GmbH. The company focuses on food, health and electronic products distribution.

Florian Schneider

« Lawyer and Privacy Officer »

Florian is a lawyer and data protection officer in an international healthcare company. He specializes in IT and data protection law. A few years ago, he founded his own startup in Freiburg with friends.

Helge Straube

« Co-Founder Jicki »

As a managing director Helge takes care of further development and finances of Jicki. He pays particular attention to the team. It is very important to him the team work well together and responsibly.

Corinna Kämpfe

« CM Grünhof »

Corinna comes from the field of sports rehabilitation and sports medicine and has worked as a lecturer at the University of Tübingen. She drives social entrepreneurship in the Social Innovation Lab.

Stefan Graf

« The Innovation Dude »

Expert for Marketing & Innovation, StartUp consultant, mentor & coach. He supports companies with creative marketing strategies and support start-ups in all phases - from idea generation to expansion.

Thomas Maier

« Founder Wood-packer »

Thomas has been working as a consultant in the Founders Office of the University of Freiburg since 2003. In 1999 he founded his own company Wood-Packer, which he still operates today.


What would a startup competition be without awards ...? Right that’s what we think too. We award prizes in three categories: Sustainability, Scalability and Social Impact. Each reward is associated with a trophy money of 2000€. Still the focus of this event is on cooperation and peer learning. You will see there is a huge potential in learning strategies and techniques from other participating teams!


Freiburg is the Green City and of course there is a Green Award! For ventures that show that a good business model is compatible with nature and the responsible use of resources.

Sponsored by FWTM Freiburg


For those who believe that the sky is the only limit! We award one team that proves that their product can disrupt a whole industry in a short period of time. Other people play, you scale.

Sponsored by Black Forest Business Angels

Social Impact

Your mission is not to maximise profits, your mission is to create value for your target group. You have an unstoppable thirst to better the world we live in. We think this is awesome!

Supported by Vector Stiftung



I study economics and I am an active member of two groups. CFO of Foundersclub.



I study Economics, Physical Ed and Political Science to become a teacher one day.



I study BA and I want to make the world a better place through social and eco entrepreneurship.

Participant Relations


I study Medicine in Freiburg. I enjoy making music and am a language enthusiast.



I study Law in Freiburg and I love doing sports, most of all football and tennis.



I study Medicine in Freiburg. I enjoy doing sports, especially climbing and love to make music.



I study Sustainable Systems Engineering and I enjoy new making stuff.



I study master in Catholic Theology. I like to play videogames and write poems.



I study ESE in Freiburg. I spend most of my free time knitting or reading.

Event organisation


I study Embedded Systems Engineering in Freiburg. I love to travel the world.



I study economics (VWL) and would love to inspire the world with sustainable ideas.



I studied ESE and currently am a Ph.D candidate with focus on medical appliances.

Trailer Workshop


I study Computer Science, make websites, like Maths and Physics and use Vim over Emacs.



I've a bachelor in BA (BWL) currently studying CS in Freiburg. CMO of Foundersclub.

Project Lead


Standing on the shoulder of giants. We are very humbled that three outstanding personalities support us in the making of this startup adventure. We will benefit from their network, their expertise and their passion for innovation!

Prof. Rolf Backofen

« Science »

Dean of the Technical Faculty, University Freiburg

Hagen Krohn

« Business »

Founder and Co-CEO of the Startup incubator Grünhof

Martin Horn

« Politics »

Lord Mayor of the student town Freiburg im Breisgau

Are you ready for your personal startup adventure?

Apply until: 30th of April 2020

A huge thanks to our partners and supporters: