OUT OF THE BOX.NRW: competition for digital start-ups

With this competition, the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action rewards young digital start-ups from North Rhine-Westphalia that think "OUT OF THE BOX". The winner in 2023 is syte - 25,000 euros in prize money included.

syte wins OUT OF THE BOX.NRW 2023

The start-up from Münster took home 25,000 euros in prize money. The company is involved in the search for potential areas for real estate with the help of artificial intelligence. In the pitch, syte prevailed over nine other start-ups. Second place and 15,000 euros went to Elona Health from Düsseldorf, a digital application for psychotherapy. Third place went to Vytal from Cologne, which took home 10,000 euros. You can read Vytal's founding story here.

This year, for the fourth time, the Ministry of Economics has honored digital start-ups from North Rhine-Westphalia that think and act "OUT OF THE BOX" and thus set new standards. After completion of the nomination and voting phase, ten start-ups have made it to the final of the OUT OF THE BOX.NRW. They pitched in front of a live audience at the internationally renowned start-up conference PIRATE Summit in Cologne on June 27, 2023. The final decision was about the prize money of 50,000 euros provided by NRW.BANK.

Minister of Economic Affairs Mona Neubaur: "With the OUT OF THE BOX.NRW, we offer digital start-ups a stage and support them in spreading their ideas and innovations. And the start-up scene in North Rhine-Westphalia is living up to the name of the competition. It is impressive to see the inspiring achievements of the founders in driving forward the digital and sustainable transformation of our state."

"The competition strengthens the visibility of our digital start-up scene."
Minister of Economy Mona Neubaur

In the nomination phase, 133 start-ups from all over NRW were proposed, 53 of which met the conditions for participation and submitted an application. In the subsequent voting phase, the start-ups had to activate their communities to collect as many votes as possible.

A total of 5,322 people voted for their favorite start-up in the online voting. In parallel, a jury of experts with equal representation of 30 digitization, startup and investment experts evaluated the nominees.

The following ten start-ups were in the final:

  • AmaliTech, Cologne
  • Betriebsmittelhelden, Bielefeld
  • Dermanostic, Düsseldorf
  • Elona Health, Düsseldorf
  • Littleplan, Düsseldorf
  • Pacurion, Reken
  • Scrapbees, Neuss
  • Syte, Münster
  • Unchained Robotics, Paderborn
  • Vytal, Cologne

Review of the 2022 winners: Cloud platform, SaaS and trash boats

The winner of this year's competition is the ACCURE Battery Intelligence GmbH, which can look forward to prize money of 25,000 euros. The company has developed a cloud platform to evaluate data from battery systems. The goal: to maximise the safety, reliability and service life of modern battery systems.

Second place went to the start-up Companyon GmbH from Düsseldorf, which was rewarded with prize money of 15,000 euros. With a controlling SaaS solution, Companyon enables intuitive and cost-effective corporate management. The offer is particularly interesting for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Third place and 10,000 euros went to everwave GmbH from Aachen: The start-up uses rubbish boats and river platforms to free rivers from plastic waste. The waste is not only collected, but also detected and analysed for its composition thanks to artificial intelligence.

The start-up anny UG from Aachen received tickets to the PIRATE Summit 2023 in Cologne for fourth place. anny offers a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution for modern and automated booking management of rooms, equipment, services and other resources.

About the competition

OUT OF THE BOX.NRW is a competition for young start-ups from North Rhine-Westphalia that pursue a digital business model. With a total of 50,000 euros in prize money, OOTB is one of the most highly endowed competitions for start-ups in Germany. In addition, the prize gives start-ups the chance to present themselves to top-class investors. This also allows them to make a wide range of new contacts.

The prize opens many doors for winning companies. In addition, there is prize money:

  1. Prize: 25,000 euros
  2. Prize: 15,000 euros
  3. Prize: 10.000 Euro

The PIRATE Summit is an exceptional start-up conference. The last edition took place from June 27 to 29, 2023 at Odonien in Cologne: The more than 1,000 participants are mainly early-stage startups. The aim is to bring creative minds together, share knowledge and celebrate entrepreneurship via expert sessions, workshops and pitches under the motto #BurnToRelearn.

All Information on the competition can be found here.