The Duisburg startup ichó systems is dedicated to the topic of dementia with a technology-based therapy ball, because according to the World Alzheimer Report 2019, every three seconds a person falls ill with dementia. In the Ruhr interview, founder Steffen Preuß talks about the Ruhr area as a location for startups.
Let’s talk about the Ruhr area. When it comes to startups in Germany, the gaze immediately turns to Berlin. What speaks for the Ruhr area as a startup location?
The Ruhr area has an incredibly high potential for startups. Above all, this is due to the very dense space, populated by established companies, universities / colleges with different focuses and of course a large number of potential customers! Many cities are still in transition and are starting to focus on topics such as digitization or healthcare. This creates a strong dynamic, which is supported by many partners and cooperations.
What exactly is the appeal of the startup scene in your city?
At this question you can see well what makes the charm for us as a startup. We not only look to Duisburg, but also include the entire Rhine and Ruhr area in our consideration, not only the city in which we have our offices and thus benefit from a very large and heterogeneous network. And anyone who has been involved in corporate development knows that it is the network and collaborations that really bring you forward.
What is easier in your city than in the rest of the Republic?
Looking now only Duisburg, so there are not too many startups, especially in the healthcare sector. The Social Impact Lab Duisburg was an important incubator at this point, especially for us, which had strong funding partners with the company Haniel, the Prof. Otto Beisheim Foundation and the KfW Foundation. This catapulted not only us, but other startups with a scholarship far forward and provided many good startups.
What is missing in your city / Ruhr area?
A strong early-stage investor. Dortmunder Sparkasse has developed a very good program with the Seedfonds Dortmund, in which young startups of the seed phase can be invested with equity and also capital is provided for follow-up financing. Of course, the Seed Fund must comply with its funding guidelines and boost the economy in Dortmund and the surrounding area, since the location Duisburg is already a very wide interpretation as “environment”. Such a program must also be present in Duisburg, otherwise a young startup may need to relocate to get the much needed funding.
Finally, you have three wishes: What do you wish for the startup site Ruhr area?
More fuck-up nights involving startups. Founder. Tell established companies about the failures and how to deal with them. An early stage investor for the seed phase who can operate with equity capital throughout the Rhine-Ruhr area and a common understanding of the Rhine-Ruhr area as a whole, away from the city center.
Also published on Medium.