10 hot deep-tech start-ups lighting up Munich’s Ignite accelerator

19 Apr 2021

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The first Intel Ignite accelerator in Munich has announced its cohort of 10 start-ups with solutions in AI, quantum computing and encryption.

Earlier this year, Intel began its search for exceptional deep-tech start-ups to join its new Ignite accelerator in Germany. Now, the first cohort for Intel Ignite Munich has been announced.

These 10 start-ups will embark on a 12-week programme that includes mentorship from both Intel and industry experts.

Munich was selected as the site for the new European accelerator owing to the concentration of deep-tech companies already based there.

“Munich as a start-up ecosystem is thriving, and we believe it will surpass Berlin in the next 10 years and become the main hub in Europe for all deep-tech focused start-ups,” said Zack Weisfeld, general manager and head of Ignite.

Many of the start-ups selected for the Munich accelerator are also based in the German city, but others come from cities dotted across the country and even farther afield.

Apheris

Hailing from Berlin, Apheris offers its clients a platform for federated and privacy-preserving data science. The federated approach to data hit headlines recently following Google’s proposal for increasing privacy in web advertising. Privacy-preserving methods are seen by many as the future of data science, and investors seem to agree. Apheris secured €2.5m in funding last August from a number of investors including Patrick Pichette, former CFO of Google and current chair of the board at Twitter.

Celus

Based just outside Munich, Celus bills itself as “the future of electronics engineering”. The company has built an online software platform that can be used to automate development for electronics, and aims to be usable for those without a deep knowledge of electronics engineering. Celus can generate schematics, printed circuit board layouts, embedded source code and more through automation and artificial intelligence. Last year, the company secured €1.7m in seed funding led by Speedinvest.

Code Intelligence

Headquartered in Bonn, Code Intelligence sets out to help developers find and fix software errors before any hacker can exploit a vulnerability. Its lead product, CI Fuzz, automates application security testing and the company has already secured major clients such as Deutsche Telekom and Bosch. Last summer, Code Intelligence closed a €2m funding round to build new features into the testing platform.

Edgeless Systems

Located in the west Germany city of Bochum, Edgeless Systems was founded by Felix Schuster and Thomas Tendyck. The pair set out to build a secure platform to store, analyse and share data using confidential computing, which means data remains encrypted even during processing. Following an initial prototype, further development was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, leading to the establishment of Edgeless Systems. As a foundation, Edgeless is using trusted execution environments such as Intel’s own Software Guard Extensions (SGX).

Eperi

Also working in the area of confidential computing (and with Intel SGX) is Eperi. Located south of Frankfurt in the town of Pfungstadt, Eperi holds several global patents for its technology that offers a cloud data protection gateway for databases, applications and file storage. The company continues to research future-proofed encryption and, along with Deutsche Telekom and the Technical University of Darmstadt, co-developed a solution to secure against quantum computing.

Fernride

Founded in 2019, Fernride is tapping into the much-anticipated driverless future of transport with a system for the remote operation of logistics fleets. Rather than entrust vehicles entirely to autonomous driving technology, this Munich start-up intends to put trained and certified operators behind the wheel remotely. With its teleoperation platform, Fernride anticipates that one experienced driver could remotely manage up to 50 highly automated vehicles from one location.

Kiutra

Technical University of Munich spin-out Kiutra is very cool – its magnetic refrigeration technology can take temperatures below absolute zero. These incredibly extreme low temperatures can be useful in scientific research, and especially for the immense cooling required for quantum computing. According to Pitchbook, Kiutra has raised $1.82m from nine investors backing its fully automatic, turn-key refrigeration solutions.

Noiseless Imaging

Another Ignite start-up with its roots in university research is Noiseless Imaging, founded in 2011 to provide world-leading technology to remove noise from images and video footage. Digital image quality is typically expected to improve with each new technology iteration, and so TV, camera and smartphone manufacturers are among the clients Noiseless Imaging can target with its algorithms, software and consultancy services. Based in Tampere, Finland, it is one of only two start-ups from outside Germany selected for the Munich accelerator.

Quality Match

Based in the scientific hub of Heidelberg, German start-up Quality Match very recently secured €5m in seed funding from LEA Partners. Big Tech is in this German start-up’s blood with former Apple, Google and Microsoft engineers in its founding team. The early-stage company is looking to the future of data in an increasingly AI-led world by supporting the essential, but tedious, data labelling and management that has to underpin powerful algorithms.

Synthara

Finally, we have Swiss start-up Synthara, a recipient of Horizon 2020 funding from the European Union. This semiconductor company is working on next-generation computer chips for artificial intelligence at the edge. Based on years of research out of University of Zürich and ETH Zürich, a seed funding round secured in December 2020 will bring the company closer to its first product suite, planned for launch in 2022.

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Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com