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Accelerator | FAQs
Merck, KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 39,000 employees work in 65 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to further the success of our customers, and to help meet global challenges. It's the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company.
accelerator, startup, funding, mentor, healthcare, digital, life science, network, health,
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FAQ

Why is Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany doing the Accelerator program?

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. Since 1668 our name has stood for innovation, business success and responsible entrepreneurship. With different ventures and programs, we promote in-house and external innovation skills. With the Accelerator, we aim to strengthen the entrepreneurial culture both within and outside the company in order to explore interesting technologies and trends, find potential collaboration opportunities, promote and connect talents and entrepreneurs as well as to realise innovative solutions.

What is the timeline?

After the application opening on April 24 2017 you have until June 26 2017 to apply to the program with your business idea. We will have a rolling assessment of all applications and create a shortlist of the top 30 teams. The selected teams will be announced early August. The program starts on September 5th and finishes on December 15th.

What does the accelerator program offer me?

Our Accelerator offers access to the Innovation Center infrastructure and allows you to connect with our internal and external network. Here you can benefit from the experience of our mentors and gain valuable working experience while cooperating with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany internal innovation projects. Besides workspaces, your team receives financial support of up to € 50,000. At the end of the program your team has the chance to be selected to further develop your business idea in Silicon Valley.

How can I apply with my startup and which documents do I need?

You can find all detail information at the application platform F6S starting on April 24 2017.

How can I know that my idea is interesting for the program?

In order to meet the requirements of the program, your business needs to be at an early-stage, which means it has neither existed for more than 3 years nor experienced any significant revenue yet. With at least one co-founder, your company also has to have a focus on the areas of healthcare, life science and performance materials.

How many startups will be selected?

Up to 5 teams per location (Darmstadt or Nairobi) will be selected for the program. (Status March 2017)

Do you take equity?

No, however we do have two types of agreements that you we enter into with startup teams:

 

  1. A partnership agreement attached to the full 50k€ funding. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany will invest in your start-up in the form of a silent partnership. This agreement would require that you enter into a profit sharing, less than 10% for no more than 7 years from the start of the program. We will have no say in the management of the company and see ourselves as coaches and sparring partners. At the end of the day, it will always be you who determines the direction. We do not get involved in operational management matters. Even though we do not take equity, we expect a token profit share for a limited time.
  2. A Project based agreement which has a limit of 30k€. For this agreement we provide a small contribution to support developments during the program especially if the proposed developments are linked to collaboration efforts with the company.
What happens in the Innovation Center?

We expect your founding team to be present in the Innovation Center in Darmstadt or at Metta Nairobi. If necessary, we will support you with temporary housing for the duration of the program. At our Innovation Center and at Metta Nairobi workspaces, meeting rooms, co-creation areas and communication technologies will be available to you. You will share the space with other project teams. Every team will be supported by a mentor from our senior management as well as external mentors. This mentor and the Innovation Center team can provide you with contacts to further internal and external experts from various disciplines as well as investors and other interesting partners. Furthermore, there is a curriculum with standard modules such as BMC and Design Thinking to give you the chance to challenge your idea as much as possible. The other part of the program are tailored workshops according to your needs.

What happens after the program phase?

On Graduation Day we celebrate the official completion of the program. The concepts and progress are presented to the top management of the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, as well as potential investors. Of course, our coaches will also be available to the founders after these three months. In addition, further cooperation or follow-up financing will also be possible. At the end of the three-month period, all participants become part of the alumni community and are invited to regular meet-ups such as the Innovators Club, the Gründerstammtisch or the Innovation Summit in Dubai. They will also be able to participate as a mentor in all upcoming Hackathons.

Currently we are planning to set up satellites outside Germany and Kenya to bring our Accelerator program to other places, as well as considering to use the Medspace in Accra for the incubation phase.

Do I need to be in Darmstadt/Nairobi all the time?

Yes, we would like to have presence for the workshops and important meeting arranged with internal mentors and our experts. However, we understand your running business and it could be arranged to be absence for other important meetings.

Our team experts will gladly help you, should you have any for further questions concerning the infrastructure of the Innovation Center, the financing of your start-up idea or the forms of silent partnerships.