Cargonexx won Wednesday (September 19, 2018) the Startups@Reeperbahn Pitch in Hamburg’s sold-out Gruenspan Music Club. Organised by the private initiative Hamburg Startups, the event had attracted numerous founders, supporters, investors and reporters. The final saw five young start-ups from all over Germany vie against each other in seven minutes for a ticket to the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas and a media budget of EUR 150,000 from Die WELT daily. Rolf-Dieter Lafrenz, founder and CEO of Cargonexx, won over the experts and enthusiastic audience with figures, data, facts and visions.
Digital forwarding agency wins over jury
The Hamburg-based Cargonexx is using artificial intelligence to usher in a new era in transport – “one-click trucking”. The team has developed self-learning algorithms that determine spot market prices for truck journeys that are automatically distributed among free carrier capacities. The intelligent matching of cargo to free capacities ensures significantly fewer empty runs, reduces the volume of traffic and saves greenhouse gases. Lafrenz used the spotlight to outline Cargonexx’s vision which foresees nothing less than saving 100,000 tons of CO2 every year. In closing remarks, he noted: “If you like open roads and good air, you should vote for us.” During the seven-minute round of questions after the pitch, Lafrenz proved a convincing, competent respondent.
The award is the latest for Cargonexx and comes after it won the 17th Hamburg Gründpreis for founders in the Fischauktionshalle in Altona on September 10, 2018. Asked about Hamburg as a business location, Lafrenz told Hamburg News: “I am a Hamburg citizen and love my city. A strong community of founders is currently forming. From my point of view it stands out very pleasantly from Berlin, which sometimes reminds me of a bubble.”
Innovative start-up ideas from all over Germany
Ulrich Busch from Munich was first onto the stage to pitch his GetINNOtized start-up. Under the slogan “Software made in Africa”, he illustrated how the fledgling company wants to show attractive career opportunities for high potentials in and from Africa. Then, Otto Klemke pitched the Hamburg family business and start-up NautilusLog, which has developed an app to turn shipping logbooks digital. The other finalists included the Berlin-based Leapsome. The founders Jenny Podewils and Kajetan Armansperg are working on an innovative, all-rounder platform for feedback, learning and agile work based on artificial intelligence. Dr. Carsten Mahrenholz from Greifswald, Germany, contested the last pitch with his invention Coldplasmatech, which can heal chronic wounds and fight multi-resistant bacteria. “Dr. Plasma” won the audience prize of a ticket for SXSW in March 2019.
Record number of applicants
A record 200 entries were received by the Board of Trustees, which consisted of experts from investment, start-up promotion, large companies and journalism. The latter selected the five finalists. The festival also featured the first ever Pitch Day on September 19, 2018.