"We're extremely proud that all these renowned companies are becoming a committed partner to CODE_n," states Ulrich Dietz, CEO of the GFT Group and the initiator of CODE_n. "We embarked on this concept of searching for the world's most innovative startups in 2011, with the aim of bringing them together with established enterprises. CODE_n provides a neutral platform for novel business models to meet traditional industries and exploit any new potential together, with all sights on the digitalization of the economy. It's a concept that works! And it fires people up: we still plan to go a long way with CODE_n."
For Mark Smith, Managing Partner at EY, the focus lies in supporting founders of new businesses during the transformation process. He commented: "New companies are a catalyst of digitalization. Not just during the startup phase, but also during the first years of a company, or when it's stepping into the international arena - all of which can be like running through an obstacle course. So as a consulting company, we see it as our duty to help startups on their path to growth. Also, working together with established companies isn't always easy, with all the different structures and working practices." Medium-sized enterprises and large companies often find it difficult to find young talents with new and unconventional ideas and gain their loyalty. Yet it's precisely these people who are needed to develop innovative business models and not lose the connection with the market. "We want to combine experience with innovation, stability with dynamism, and through this provide sustainable growth impetus for Germany as a business location," says Mark Smith. "For us, long-term collaboration with CODE_n is the ideal platform for this."
For Frank Riemensperger, Country Managing Director of Accenture in Germany and co-chairman of the Smart Service Welt working academy, CODE_n is the ideal platform to leverage the expertise of Smart Service Welt to foster transformation in the economy. He commented: "We understand the ideas behind startups and the strengths of traditional industries. By pushing 'networked products' and 'as-a-service' solutions, there's an opportunity for tremendous growth potential. Enterprises have a lot to gain by being open to the innovative ideas of young entrepreneurs."
Salesforce is now in its second year as a CODE_n partner. Joachim Schreiner, Senior Vice President Enterprise Sales, commented: "Startups are close to our heart at Salesforce. The drive to continuously reinvent yourself and push ahead with innovations is part of our DNA, so startups are a good fit with Salesforce. We want to build the biggest possible innovation ecosystem and our cloud solutions can help new and established enterprises to pave the way forward into a digital future. We rub shoulders with startups and established business partners at CODE_n. It's a place where we can discuss new business models together and provide tangible support. We're also working with many of our customers on the transformation to Industry 4.0 and we can't wait to see the solutions the startups will come up with in the CODE_n CONTEST."
CeBIT has provided an arena for the innovative business models of 50 CODE_n finalists from the very beginning. Oliver Frese, Head of CeBIT at Deutsche Messe said: "When CODE_n appears at CeBIT, it really pulls in the crowds. In 2014 alone, there were several thousand visitors to the 5,000 square meters covered by Hall 16." The theme for CeBIT 2015 - d!conomy - is totally in tune with the trend toward digitalization and its impact on the economy and society as a whole. It's a mega-trend and it will keep us occupied for years to come. CeBIT and CODE_n should dictate the pace of developments and be a source of inspiration for all sectors of industry."
Two partners who are new to CODE_n are EnBW and TRUMPF - both established companies who are currently transforming their own business models in preparation for a digital future. Uli Huener, Head of Innovation Management at one of Germany's leading energy companies EnBW, Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, sees the new partnership with CODE_n as a logical part of this, commenting: "The energy industry overall is facing a pivotal time of change. EnBW will also find its course and develop new business areas which can only happen when led by innovation. The impetus for this comes from inside our company, but also from the outside, especially from young entrepreneurs. Under the umbrella of CODE_n, we can bring both sources of inspiration together - to the benefit of all parties."
For TRUMPF, the motivation for becoming a partner of CODE_n lies in the central topic of Industry 4.0. TRUMPF, a global frontrunner in the hi-tech industry, manufactures machine tools, lasers and electronics for industrial applications. Dr. Peter Leibinger, Vice Chairman of the Managing Board at TRUMPF GmbH + Co. KG stated: "We want to make a concerted effort to enter the digital economy, and for us, Industry 4.0 and the 'internet of things' are a daily constituent of our work. To accelerate internal innovation processes, we tap into inspiration from outside. And in the future we will also get this through the CODE_n ecosystem."
And this is precisely what CODE_n has now developed into - a global ecosystem for digital pioneers, for which the starting point is the competition for startups, CODE_n CONTEST (submission closing date: December 14, 2014, connect.code-n.org). This has been complemented by CONNECT, SPACES andEVENTS. CONNECT is a digital platform that allows young and established companies to network; SPACESoffers an opportunity for startups and innovation departments at companies to work together on future-oriented projects in an innovative environment; EVENTS will regularly stage inspiring events for business entrepreneurs, innovators and investors, starting in 2015.
Ulrich Dietz: "When the first wave of startups got underway 15 years ago, people said that the 'new economy' will quickly take the top spot from the 'old economy'. There was a fundamental flaw in this antagonistic construct, with consequences we now understand. Here and now, it has to be the new and the old together! We have to build on given strengths: it's our industrial core. Startups come along like a breath of fresh air, so the established companies have to hoist the sail to pick up momentum to carry them into the digital future. With CODE_n and our strong partners, our aim is to aid this process."