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High-tech start-ups on the way to becoming the new hidden champions of tomorrow?

International Sharing Expertise at the Family Day 2012 in Bonn on 20 June

German small or medium-sized world market leaders, the so-called hidden champions, are essential for the export-driven German economy. Hardly known, mostly owner-operated, but unsurpassed in their sector – those are the qualities of these enterprises. What potential does a start-up need to get that far? What rules and principles play a role in successfully asserting yourself on the market? These and other questions will be discussed by industry experts on 20 June 2012 in Bonn, where 300 founders and managers from 200 German high-tech start-ups will meet up with over 350 equity investors from Germany and abroad.

Germany is known for its hidden champions, who have managed to become world market leaders in their sector. A prominent example is QIAGEN, the leading provider of trial preparation and test technologies for molecular diagnostics and life sciences, which is involved in High-Tech Gründerfonds II. The company was founded by a team of scientists from the Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf almost 30 years ago, and is now market-listed with subsidiaries in 35 countries.

“From start-up to hidden champion – that doesn’t happen overnight. A clear strategic orientation, an uncompromising demand for quality and the unwavering cultivation of our company brand are the foundations of QIAGEN’s success. We started with an idea and have managed to set standards in our industry and build up critical mass, which has made rapid growth possible for us. As leading innovators, we now pass on our experience to innovative high-tech start-ups and support them in the development of marketable products. With our involvement in High-Tech Gründerfonds, we can identify technology trends early and establish contacts with young life science firms”, says Roland Sackers, Chief Financial Officer at QIAGEN N.V.

To make it from start-up to hidden champion, you need a highly developed, purposeful entrepreneurial spirit. A good management team which keeps the focus on the core product and market stands a good chance of developing into a world market leader. Competitive advantages here are not only innovation in itself, but also consistently high quality, efficiency and not to forget customer service.

There will be further information on opportunities and trends for German start-ups at the press conference of the “Family Day” on 20 June 2012. On this occasion, Dr. Michael Brandkamp (Managing Director of High-Tech Gründerfonds), Henry H. Wong (CEO of Garage Technology Ventures, Silicon Valley, USA), Prof. Dr. Tobias Kollmann (Managing Director of netSTART Venture GmbH, Business Angel of the Year 2012), Dr. Andreas Jenne (CEO of Kinaxo Biotechnologies GmbH) and Dr. Johannes Velling (Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology) exchange views on the possibilities for start-ups in international competition, and on the increasing interest of foreign venture capitalists, as well as of national and international non-institutional investors.

Media representatives are cordially invited to the Family Day and also to the press conference on 20.06.2012 at 12:00 and can register informally by email (

About High-Tech Gründerfonds
High-Tech Gruenderfonds invests in young, high potential high-tech start-ups. The seed financing provided is designed to enable start-ups to take an idea through prototyping and to market launch. Typically, High-Tech Gruenderfonds invests EUR 500,000 in the seed stage, with the potential for up to a total of EUR 2 million per portfolio company in follow-on financing. Investors in this public/private partnership include the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the KfW Banking Group, as well as thirteen industrial groups of ALTANA, BASF, B. Braun, Robert Bosch, CEWE Color, Daimler, Deutsche Post DHL, Deutsche Telekom, Evonik, Qiagen, RWE Innogy, Tengelmann and Carl Zeiss. High-Tech Gruenderfonds has about EUR 563 million under management in two funds (EUR 272 million HTGF I, EUR 291 million HTGF II).

Press contact:
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
Stefanie Zillikens  – Marketing & Communications Manager
Ludwig-Erhard-Allee 2 – 53175 Bonn
Tel: +49 228 823001-07 – Fax: +49 228 823000-50