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EMBA meets startups: AI, Wearables, Fashion and the Crowd

On June 23, the new class of the Executive MBA in Innovation and Business Creation dove into Munich’s startup scene and got introduced to founders, alumni and some of the entrepreneurial in town.

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The first stop of the tour were UnternehmerTUM’s new premises on the 25th floor in the IBM Watson Highlight Towers. Here, the Digital Product School, a 3 month program that is all about creating digital products, and the incubation program XPRENEURS are headquartered. After an introduction to their offerings, Sven von Alemann (Class of ’15)  took the stage. Sven is founder and CEO of the legaltech startup rfrnz, which is part of the latest XPRENEURS batch. Sven talked about his experience in and after the Executive MBA in Innovation & Business Creation and emphasized the importance of the network that TUM and UnternehmerTUM offer.

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Back on the ground floor, the group hopped on the EMBA IBC startup bus that took them to the next stop – innosabi, a successful company that enables corporations like Continental, Haribo and the Munich Airport to engage their customers and end-users in collaborative communities. Catharina van Delden, founder and CEO of innosabi and alumna of the EMBA, welcomed the class in innosabi’s noble office located at a stone's throw from the Isar River. Catharina van Delden was joined by her former classmate and fellow entrepreneur Andreas Breijs, founder of Fiordilino, who reflected on their shared EMBA experience and their main takeaways from the program.

After a lively Q&A session over iced coffees, it was time to continue the tour – Philipp Seybold, CEO of the fashiontech startup combyne, was awaiting the class. Seybold is neither an EMBA alum nor a TUM graduate  – maybe that’s why he was able to share a very different point of view with the class – for example on the importance of app engagement and the preference of 20-year-old fashionistas.

The bus had fulfilled its purpose and the group had to rely on their feet to get to the last startup visit on the schedule. ProGlove develops wearables that enable manufacturing and logistics staff to work faster, safer and easier. Founded in 2014, the startup now employs some 50 employees and has won major contracts with major OEMs. Founder and CEO Thomas Kirchner welcomed the class and guided them through both ProGlove’s history and its premises, including their prototyping space. Leaving from here wasn’t easy – especially for the techies in the group – but the day wasn’t quite over yet.

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Traditionally, the startup tour of the Executive MBA in Innovation & Business Creation ends with an event that brings current students and alumni of the program together. This year, the event took place at the co-working space WERK1. Dan Burns, president of the Alumni Club, had  prepared a presentation that showed what the alumni of the program do today, which companies they work for and which startups they’ve founded. Some alumni overcame their stage fright and told in more detail about their current endeavors.

After the official program, the unofficial program took its course. The many impressions of the day were discussed, anecdotes shared as well as beer and snacks enjoyed. Eventually, the party lights went on, the music got louder and people enjoyed the night until long after midnight.