Climate-KIC Accelerator is Germany’s largest cleantech accelerator for early stage startups. It is focused upon getting startups ready for their first investors and customers and helps them scale their business.
We are looking for innovators with breakthrough ideas to counter climate change.
If you are working as a team and want to create a startup based around a new technology or service with high potential for both commercial viability and climate impact, then this is the right place for you!
Your journey to an investible and scalable startup takes you through three stages, each taking 6 months and with a special focus. All startups are eligible to attend our Bootcamp, Demo Day, Investors Dinner and Master Classes events that take place throughout the programme and have access to Climate-KIC’s Europe-wide network of alumni, contacts, events and social media. Notable events include the national and European Venture Competition and the annual Climate-KIC Innovation Festival.
The first stage of the Accelerator is intended to help early-stage Startups refine and develop their specific USP and business model. Here the first prototype can be finalised and assistance is provided to obtain industry feedback. Startups receive grants to cover monthly salaries and coaching. This stage critically provides access to more mature startups in later stages of the Accelerator as well as to expert coaching, 1-2-1 mentoring and workshops, the Climate-KIC European contacts network and events and modern office space in Berlin.
The second stage of the Accelerator (open for application to all existing Stage 1 startups) builds on the first stage and helps move startups with a well-formulated business model to the next phase: validation and customer acquisition. Here again startups have access to grants and services to cover monthly salaries and coaching but also funds to cover other materials that are required to help develop the business. Teams can now focus on acquiring their first customers and an iterative process of business model validation whilst receiving continuing support from expert coaches and mentors and participating in programme activities and workshops. These more mature startups are also eligible to take part in Climate-KIC’s National and European Venture Competitions with a notable prize money.
The third and final stage of the Accelerator (open for application to all existing Stage 2 startups) aims to prepare fully-fledged startups for a future of investment rounds and scaling. Teams get continued access to our office and meeting spaces, as well as to all events, coaching, mentoring and workshops and in addition are now eligible for investment from Climate-KIC in return for future equity rights. Startups in this stage of the programme are supported in preparation for negotiations with potential investors and partners and can tap into a huge network of investor contacts and partners.
The Accelerator offers many physical things through the startup cycle: workshops, mentors, coaches, co-working space and annual and biannual events such as:
…the Bootcamp where all new programme entrants spend an intensive two days together in inspirational talks and workshops on the climate theme, training and introduction to the Accelerator, establishing contacts and plans for the next 6 months…
“I really love the inspiring and motivating atmosphere in the program. Having people around which have awesome visions to improve our environment with their innovative ideas is just great.”
“When you want to know something from other business leaders, it’s always easier when someone else has already warmed up your contact. When you do everything on your own, it’s only a matter of time before you fail”
…the Demo Day, where pitch-ready startups, every Autumn, present to investors why their product or service is the next best thing in clean tech and worthy of investment.
„Our startup team benefits in particular from the great coaching and mentoring. Through the perfect network of ClimateKIC we have met our scrum coach and had the great opportunity of a team checkup supervised by a psychologist. This led to a joint understanding of the company’s aim and working culture.“
“Being in the Climate-KIC accelerator allows us to focus on what truly matters. Our coaches and mentors help us in identifying our milestones and setting up a roadmap to reach them.”
All teams have access to a regular series of workshops and training throughout the year to ensure they have access to the relevant information to grow and develop their ventures, whether legal, tax & financial, building a team, branding and communications or sales and marketing assistance.
“An accelerator can be a central component of building a network that helps startups open doors and connect with people in order to find the right support and partners”
“Every two weeks at the Green Garage, we learn about different themes that are extremely important to founders, for example KPIs, investment structures, pitching skills”
The less tangible but by no means less important elements of the Climate-KIC Accelerator Programme are the connections startups make with other founders and to others in the wider entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Three locations for your success
The Accelerator programme accepted its first intake of startups in 2011 and is the biggest of its kind in Europe. The programme is run from three locations in Germany, Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich; each with its own unique locational offer, support network and program of events.
The cleantech startup hub
More about Climate-KIC
- Office @Green Garage Berlin
- Green Garage, Germany’s only permanent cleantech incubator
- Located at EUREF campus, Berlin’s green tech innovation hub
- Very strong Berlin technology startup ecosystem offering investors, mentors, peers & events
- Close to Climate-KIC’s German HQ with access to partner events, pitching opportunities and industry experts
Frequently Asked Questions
Climate-KIC is the EU’s main climate innovation intiative. We support startups, train climate innovators and initiate and support innovation programmes. Climate-KIC is a public-private partnership consisting of more than 190 partners all over Europe. To learn more about the European organisation see www.climate-kic.org
We have a two-step process. As soon as the call for applications is closed all the accelerator managers and experts within the organisation review each of the applications and agree on a short list. Depending on the capacity of each location a maximum of 10 or 20 startups will be invited for a live pitch in front of a jury. The jury is composed by Climate-KIC senior managers and external experts (investors, technology experts, etc.). Once the jury agrees on the startups that should enter the programme, the accelerator team will run a final background check and communicate the results to the finalist applicants.
For each call for applications we communicate the dates on which we when we will announce the results. Please check the timeline on the website to find out what these dates are.
If you receive an invitation to attend the live pitch in one of our locations, you will need to prepare a 5-minute presentation (usually with PowerPoint slides, but we are open to other formats) and be ready to answer all the questions we will ask in a 10-minute Q&A session afterwards.
No. You will have to cover your travel cost.
No. We can only accept applications that reach us in the two periods each year when a current call is open.
Yes, we absolutely welcome international teams, but only if the startup intends to set up its legal entity in Germany and the founders are able to attend all mandatory events of the programme.
No. You can apply to the programme with or without a legal entity.
We support teams based all over Germany. It helps if you work close to one of our locations, but we also support teams located in other German cities.
Yes, you can apply again to the programme if your application was refused in the past or if you are now applying with a new idea.
If you have already completed a stage of the accelerator at one of our other Climate-KIC locations in Europe and you wish to move to Germany, you are still eligible to apply here to our German programme for a corresponding stage.
Yes, you definitely need English skills if you want to profit from all of the services we provide.
No, we only accept applications in English.
Climate-KIC takes no equity at any stage of the programme.
Each stage has a fixed term of 6 months. This means if you apply for and are successful in finishing all three of our programme stages you could stay with us for a maximum of 1,5 years.
No. Currently we only offer office space to startups applying in Berlin.
Yes and no. If you are new to the accelerator programme we will assess your suitability for stage 1, 2 or 3 on the basis of how developed as a business you are.
If you are working as a team and your startup is based around a new technology or service with high potential for both commercial viability and climate impact, then once the application form has been successfully submitted and all the fields have been completed, we will assess each application based on the following criteria:
- Innovativeness (New in research [+], patents protected [+] or already in market [-])
- Feasibility (Idea Realistic? Technically feasible? Prototype available? Time to market?)
- Team (At least two founders? Right competencies in place? Market Experience?, Track record?)
- Climate Benefit
- Scalability (is the idea scalable to international markets?)
- Long term perspective (Sustainability of concept)
- Gut Feeling (interesting for Climate KIC, fits to our services, support and network, etc.)