Telekom Innovation Contest Returns Ahead of Krakow Finale

By David Knight |

The Telekom Innovation Contest is back – but teams only have a few weeks to get their applications in. The contest, which represents a worldwide search for new ideas and is being organised by Deutsche Telekom in conjunction with EIT ICT Labs, has an initial application phase which finishes on April 11.

Part of DT’s ongoing efforts to promote outside innovation – which include its incubator and accelerator in Berlin, hub:raum – the contest will be broken down into different segments based in countries where the German telco giant has a strong presence, mostly in Eastern Europe. In Germany itself, those topics include cloud-based productivity and future media and communications, with the first preliminary selection being made at the re:publica conference in Berlin in May.

The overall winning team will be chosen at the Champions Pitch event in Krakow in June, with regional rounds taking place in Athens, Bratislava, Budapest, Bucharest, Podgorica, Prague, Tel Aviv, Warsaw and Zagreb in addition to Berlin. Up for grabs is investment of up to €150,000 from DT’s incubators as well as support from different arms of the Telekom empire, including support from top executives, hardware and software packages, access to international events and the provision of office space.

All finalists will attend a four-day training program while the Berlin winners will take to the stage in front of 6,000 people at the second Lange Nacht der Startups (Long Night of Startups) event on September 6.

At a breakfast event to launch the contest, Dr. Heinrich Arnold, head of Telekom Innovation Laboratories, told Silicon Allee that the focus was on connecting with entrepreneurs and products which fitted in with the DT business: “Telekom is well known in at least 15 countries in Europe, so this is really a win-win situation being offered here.”

As for the fast turn-around time, he argued that it could actually work as a “good filter” with the contest being more aimed at teams who have already produced something workable.

Dr. Arnold added: “IT innovations create new industry segments, new jobs and enrich people’s lives. With our Telekom Innovation Contest we help startups to quickly and effectively integrate their creative IT products and services into Deutsche Telekom’s product portfolio. In the future, we will no longer create innovations side-by-side, but in a collaborative environment, and that’s exactly what we want to achieve.”

In the first Innovation Contest last year, Slovakian startup Excalibur emerged the winner with a mobile authentication solution.