What did you expect from an accelerator program in general and what makes accelerator programs appealing to a start-up?
An accelerator program is very appealing for a start-up as it provides the opportunity to work together with a larger company for a longer, but still limited, time to assess technology and the market. SenSiC, like many other start-up companies, is working to improve its technology and make pilot installations, but it is difficult to achieve rapid commercial success without a strong partner, especially for those of us who develop hardware technology / products.
For a successful accelerator program there must be a good fit between the large company and the start-up. A commitment and motivation from both companies as well as an open climate and trust is a necessity. The Heraeus Accelerator and the process of selecting start-ups is the best I’ve seen.
How did the accelerator change your view on Heraeus?
Well, I didn’t know much of Heraeus before I made my first visit before summer. The only thing I recalled was those old, orange Heraeus ovens I’ve seen in my previous positions.
When meeting large companies, in general they ask and listen but are reluctant to reveal any of their own technology, which gives a feeling of un-balance in the discussions. This has never been the case with Heraeus, from the first visit we have always felt a respect for what we have achieved and an openness to discuss matters.
Why did you choose the Heraeus Accelerator and how did you benefit from it?
We know that we need a strong partner with additional capabilities such as production and visibility on the market to have the credibility at customers to produce qualified products.
In May, before the candidates for the Accelerator program were selected, I was invited to Hanau by Corporate Innovation. This gave me insights of the company and an early introduction of the program. The Heraeus’ accelerator was different and better compared to similar programs that I have come across, so I decided early that we should apply. Apart from the results in the program, the fact that we were selected has sparked an interest for the company from customers and investors.