Press release

Accelerating push for innovation in agricultural technology: CLAAS cooperates with TechFounders

CLAAS and the leading start-up accelerator programme TechFounders are commencing their collaboration.

The aim of the first project round is to search for innovative approaches to designing the workplaces of the future and user-machine interfaces (HMI) in agricultural machinery, as well as to promote these approaches and work together to further their development.

The Munich-based accelerator programme, run by the non-profit organisation UnternehmerTUM GmbH, provides start-ups with training and guidance regarding their strategy, helps them to build connections with established companies and prepares them for their next venture capital financing round.

CLAAS hopes to use this cooperation with highly promising start-ups to search for new and complementary innovative ideas that will continue to drive transformational processes in the agricultural sector. For the upcoming batch, CLAAS is particularly interested in start-ups that develop solutions for the implementation of flexible and context-sensitive technologies with an eye to developing and refining user-friendly, ergonomic and intuitive human-machine interactions for mobile agricultural machinery.

First application round with CLAAS begins on 9 August

Applications for Batch #15 can be submitted from 9 August 2021; the programme begins following the completion and evaluation of the application round in January 2022. During the 20-week programme, CLAAS will implement a pilot project in partnership with the selected start-ups, providing them with valuable industry knowledge and the opportunity for long-term collaboration. Furthermore, TechFounders will support the start-ups throughout the course of the programme by offering personalised coaching and mentoring to help prepare them for their scaling-up phase, business development and next round of financing. “We here at CLAAS believe that cooperation with start-ups is the key to strengthening our position as a technological leader in the agricultural machinery industry,” explains Patrick Kück, CLAAS Senior Vice President Strategy & Corporate Development. “Agriculture is experiencing a fundamental shift towards greater digitisation and greater sustainability. This requires new ideas and innovative approaches, for the operation and monitoring of increasingly complex and intelligent agricultural machinery for instance.”

Since 2015, TechFounders has been demonstrating its strength as a partner for aspiring companies by supporting a wide range of successful collaborative projects between start-ups and industry leaders, including DATEV, Festo, Knorr-Bremse, Miele and WACKER Chemie. As such, 127 start-ups have taken part in the TechFounders programme over the past six years. TechFounders and its partner companies are critical in their selection of suitable start-ups and their evaluation is very much result-oriented. The programme’s average acceptance rate is less than 3% of all applicants.

Patrick Kück