712,000 euros EXIST funding for research transfer for the first time at the University of Bayreuth: Great success for start-up inContAlert
University of Bayreuth, Press Release No 136/2021 30 September 2021
After winning several pitches, including at the IoT Innovation Worldcup 2020, four young founders of "inContAlert" have now prevailed in the renowned "EXIST" funding programme of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. The start-up by students and graduates of the University of Bayreuth (UBT) will receive funding of € 712,000 over the next 18 months and is using it to plan its next development steps. A start-up at UBT has never raised more.
The Team of inContAlert (from left): Pascal Fechner (data analysis), Nicolas Ruhland (software), Tristan Zürl (hardware), Jannik Lockl (CEO). © UBT/Rennecke
The team from inContAlert brings the prestigious EXIST research transfer funding to the University of Bayreuth for the first time. "I congratulate the young founders and also the GründerUni Bayreuth team which helped make this success possible!" says University President Prof. Dr. Stefan Leible. This young start-up is committed to helping people with incontinence problems and bladder dysfunction to lead a more self-determined life. It has developed a sensor that conveniently shows patients the current level of their bladder on their smartphone. The aim is to prevent uncontrolled loss of urine and damage to the kidneys. The sensor works with a sophisticated combination of infrared spectroscopy and machine learning algorithms.
The four founders are now specifically developing this novel approach into a product that should be ready for the market in about two years. inContAlert has now been able to lay the financial foundation for this thanks to the EXIST research transfer programme. "None of this would have been possible without the great support of the University of Bayreuth and in particular the Information Systems & Value-Based Business Process Management research group," says co-founder and CEO of inContAlert, Dr Jannik Lockl. Lockl had already initiated the start-up in 2017 - while studying industrial engineering in Bayreuth - together with his fellow student at the time, Tristan Zürl.
In May 2019, the two received an initial grant of € 250,000 from the Medical Valley Award, and ran the project full-time from then on. In the meantime, two more Bayreuth engineering students, Nicolas Ruhland and Pascal Fechner, have joined the team. Prof. Dr. Röglinger, the team's university mentor, underlines the great relevance of the venture: "inContAlert's product could significantly change the lives of many millions of people. The start-up is a prime example of the interaction between the University and corresponding start-up initiatives. We can expect a lot more from inContAlert - we are very for them, and it has been great fun to actively support them on their way."
The University of Bayreuth has already been successful in the EXIST start-up grants awarded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and in the "EXIST Potentials" competition in recent years. But in the competition for EXIST research transfer funding, no team from UBT has ever fulfilled all the requirements for an application. So the inContAlert founders are real pioneers in this respect as well.
EXIST is a funding programme of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). One of EXIST's goals is to improve the start-up climate at universities and non-university research institutions. In addition, the number and success of technology-oriented and knowledge-based start-ups are to be increased. To this end, the BMWi supports university graduates, scientists and students in preparing technology-oriented and knowledge-based start-ups. The EXIST research transfer programme supports outstanding research-based start-up projects that involve complex and high-risk development work. In the first funding phase, research results with start-up potential are to be further developed. The aim is to clarify issues related to the implementation of scientific results in technical products and processes, to develop the business idea based on this into a business plan and to prepare the planned company foundation.
Dr. Jannik Lockl
Phone: +49 (0) 176 / 703 204 21
University of Bayreuth
Phone: +49 (0) 921 / 55 - 5300