Innovations That Inspire

TUM Entrepreneurship Incubator

Recognition Year(s): 2017
School: Technische Universität München, TUM School of Management
Location: Germany

Innovation Statement

The TUM Entrepreneurship Incubator provides a unique work environment for startup teams from science, engineering, and business. By closely linking each team with professors and scientific staff, the learning environment helps transform up-to-date research results into tools and exercises for business.

Call to Action

At the Technical University of Munich (TUM), engineers and scientist continuously come up with new inventions that are the basis for the development of innovative products and services. TUM is particularly strong in the areas of information and communication technologies, clean technologies, life sciences, and medical technologies. Entrepreneurial students and scientists found that new ventures often turn these new technologies and inventions into marketable products and commercialize them worldwide.

Yet, founding an entrepreneurial venture to commercialize a new technology is particularly challenging in today’s fast-paced and hyper-competitive business environment, where the way of doing business is changing dramatically. For example, new phenomena such as crowdfunding, social networks, and digital business models are changing the way young ventures organize, grow, communicate, and market their products. To successfully compete in the market, entrepreneurship education, mentoring, and consulting must continuously update their knowledge on the best and most effective way of organizing the entrepreneurial team and developing the venture into the future.


The TUM Incubator provides office space and a unique learning environment for more than 25 entrepreneurial teams from science, engineering, and business who strive to commercialize new technologies emerging from TUM's technological schools.

The TUM Incubator is unique in that it is closely linked to (located one floor below) the TUM Entrepreneurship Research Institute, where 20 professors and scientific staff explore the entrepreneurial process and try to understand how startup teams can capitalize on the new development of markets and technologies. Based on its research, the institute provides consulting, mentoring, and training to the teams and develops tools for their daily operations (e.g., financial planning, checklist for international market entry, marketing tools). The TUM Incubator is further unique because it is directly linked in proximity to UnternehmerTUM, the Center of Innovation and Business Creation at TUM. UnternehmerTUM entertains the MakerSpace, a 1,700 square meter workshop facility where startup teams can develop prototypes of their products using state-of-the-art devices and machines, such as 3D printing and a metal and wood workshop. UnternehmerTUM also entertains a 25 million USD early-stage venture capital fund, which has made several investments in the incubator teams to finance their early development stage.


While the TUM Incubator has only been in operation for 21 months, the development of the incubatee teams already indicates the success of the concept. Almost half of the teams have successfully applied for competitive governmental grants. Incubatee ParkHere (providing parking space solutions for cities) won the Munich Business Plan contest, the largest competition of its kind in the larger Munich metropolitan area. Incubatee Konux (a sensor company) is only two years old but employs more than 30 people and has recently closed a 10 million USD financing round from Silicon Valley Investors. Incubatees Evalu (developing an intelligent running shoe) and Viscopic (developing a distance maintenance solution) have won the 2015 startup competition Weconomy. TUM Incubator entrepreneurs have also been on the Innovators Under 35 list of the MIT Technology Review. Several incubatees have successfully closed a first financing round. Currently, there is a waiting list for prospective incubatees of more than 10 teams. Based on these successes, we expect a considerable impact on the local community of high technology startups and firms.

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