Want to shape the future with AI?


Whether you have done research on AI and are considering turning your findings into a product, or you have an idea to develop a startup with AI as its core business, the Bridge to Market Program supports you in evaluating if founding a company is the right path for you. The program focuses primarily on product and market validations as well as evaluating the technical feasibility of scientific AI models and data. In addition, other reviews, such as legal validations in terms of data protection, are also conceivable.


Who can apply

Interested teams of up to three members from the four participating institutions (TU Berlin, HU Berlin, FU Berlin, Charité - Berlin University of Medicine) as well as from other universities, on condition of residing in Berlin during the program and being accepted by one of our four partner incubators.

To our Incubators


Key Benefits

01

Funding

Up to three potential founders are supported over a period of 6 months. The sum of the possible funding is calculated from 10,000 EUR for material resources and scholarships for the founders. The amount of the respective scholarships depends on experience and educational level and can be of up to 3,000 EUR per month and founder. The funding is based on the EXIST founder scholarship. For detailed information contact us.

02

Support

During the project, the project team will be supported by the teams of the startup centers of the four participating universities in reviewing the existing ideas, approaches and results for their product and market viability.

03

Perspective

If the evaluation of the business idea is positive, further support by the teams of the incubators is possible, including the application for further funding such as EXIST start-up grant.


How to apply

Applications can be submitted at any time. If you are interested, please apply via the following link.

Apply

Application process


There is a two-stage application process. First, experienced reviewers check whether the project described in the application form appears promising in terms of a startup and whether AI is sufficiently important for the business model. If the project outline is convincing, the applying team is invited to pitch to present the project in a second step. An independent jury decides on the acceptance into the program. Between the two evaluation rounds, additional consultation at one of our four incubators may be required.

FAQ

What is Bridge-to-Market?

Bridge-to-Market (B2M) is a six-months pre-incubation funding program that focuses primarily on product and market validation and on evaluating the technical feasibility of AI models and data.

What is the difference between K.I.E.Z. pre-incubator, incubator and accelerator programs?

The Pre-Incubator program Bridge-to-Market aims to develop the entrepreneurial and technical skills of teams who simply have an idea to start an artificial intelligence company. No specific business plan/model or MVP is required to apply for Bridge-to-Market. During the six-month pre-incubation phase, you will also receive financial support to develop your project.  

The incubator programs are offered by our four incubation centers at TU Berlin, FU Berlin, HU Berlin and Charité. To be eligible to access them, you should meet their application requirements and apply for public funding such as EXIST or BSS through one of the incubation centers. Usually, teams applying for an incubator program have a clear idea of their business model and how they want to develop their product. The aim of such an incubation program is to incorporate the startup after the end of the program. 

K.I.E.Z. also offers the opportunity to apply to the K.I.E.Z. Accelerator program twice a year. The program takes six months and supports young AI companies during the scaling of their business. The Accelerator offers a variety of services to startups. The offer is divided into two main categories from which startups can choose specific offers: Growth Hacks and Growth Foundation. At the end of the Accelerator program, there is a demo day where venture capitalists and other partners can watch the startups' pitches. 

Does artificial intelligence have to be the core business/product if I want to apply for Bridge-to-Market?

Yes.

Do I need to have done research in the field of AI to apply to the program?

No, this is not necessary. However, preference will be given to projects where there is a clear transfer from research to the market.

Who is Bridge-to-Market aimed at?

This funding program addresses anyone with (or close to) an academic degree who has an idea to develop an artificial intelligence-related product or business. However, being a pre-incubation program, Bridge-to-Market is ideal for those who wish to further develop their idea in terms of market and/or technology validation (e.g. possible Bridge-to-Market activities include conducting market research, identifying the initial target group, obtaining proof of concept).

Are there specific periods of the year when I can apply to Bridge-to-Market?

No, you can apply to Bridge-to-Market throughout the year.

How long does the program last?

Six months.

Can I participate in the program for a shorter period?

No, this is not foreseen.

Is there a minimum attendance requirement?

Yes, participation in the program is at least part-time and attendance to a minimum number of workshops is mandatory.

Do I need to live in Berlin during the six months of the program?

Yes.

Do you provide any accommodation?

Unfortunately, not.

What kind of support will I receive during the program?

Participants will receive administrative and financial support from K.I.E.Z. as well as the use of facilities and office space by one of the incubation centers. It is possible to apply for up to 10,000 EUR of material resources and services, that will be made available during the program following funding regulations by K.I.E.Z. Founders will also receive a monthly scholarship. The amount of the respective scholarships depends on experience and educational level:  

  • PhD students & graduates with three or more years of professional experience receive 3,000 euros gross per month  
  • Graduates with less than three years of professional experience receive 2,500 euros gross per month  
  • Technical employees receive 2,000 euros gross per month  
  • Students can apply for 1,000 euros gross per month  

In addition, comparable to EXIST, child bonus supplements of up to 150 EUR per month and child are granted.

What are the conditions of the scholarships?

The scholarship is not an employment contract, therefore income tax, social security contributions, etc. must be deducted from the scholarship. This must be done by the founders. It is recommended to consult with a tax advisor as early as possible.

I am a student. Can I apply to the program?

Yes. However, it is recommended to apply in the last semester of your degree program, also with regard to the mandatory participation in Bridge-to-Market (at least 50 % attendance required).

We are a team of students only. Can we apply to the program?

This can be accepted in exceptional cases. It would be advisable to have at least one university graduate in the team.

I am currently working. Can I apply to the program?

Yes, this is possible on a part-time basis under specific conditions and upon discussion with the K.I.E.Z. team.

I am currently receiving other funding. Can I apply to the program?

No, this is not possible.

How many people can apply to the program?

Up to three people can be funded by the program.

How many people have to apply to the program (and funding) as a minimum?

Bridge-to-Market can also fund one-person projects

Can we also apply as a group of more than three founders?

Yes, this is possible. Whilst a maximum of three team members are supported by Bridge-to-Market financially, this does not limit the number of founders.

What language is the program in?

The official language is German, hence it is useful to have an intermediate knowledge of German, but most of the program can also be conducted in English language. 

What are the perspectives after the program?

This pre-funding program aims to help with the validation of ideas in terms of market and technology. If the evaluation of the business idea is positive, further support by the teams of the incubators is possible. This encompasses help with the application for further funding such as EXIST startup grant.

Can my startup already be registered when I apply to the program, or can I register my company during the program?

No, Bridge-to-Market is for very early-stage projects only, which are well before registration of a business.

Once I have submitted my online application, how long do I have to wait for receiving the first feedback?

It usually takes about 3-4 weeks (except in the case of holidays, when it might be longer)

Can I add new team members during Bridge-to-Market?

Yes, this is possible, up to 3 team members in total.

How long does the procurement process take for the purchase of materials and services?

Usually about 1 to 2 months from receipt of the procurement plan.


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