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Accelerating digitisation in F&B

METRO’s Demo Day marks the completion and highlight of the second round of the world’s first accelerator programme focusing on digital solutions for the food service and hospitality sector

At the Demo Day, the 10 international teams of the METRO Accelerator powered by Techstars presented their innovative business ideas to about 300 global investors, experts and multipliers. After three intensive months in the co-working space in central Berlin – including comprehensive mentoring and coaching by leading industry experts under the leadership of METRO and Techstars – the founders now aim to attract more investors for their business concepts.

“Digitisation is increasingly asserting itself in the food service and hospitality sector as well. It’s our goal to actively shape this transformation and help our customers to become even more successful,” says Olaf Koch, chairman of the management board of METRO AG. “With our accelerator programmes, we support innovations and help founders to test, improve and bring their ideas and solutions to market. We give them start-up assistance, provide support through our network and know-how, and are a critical companion and door opener. Many solutions simplify business processes, increase efficiency or improve the customer experience. In the end, the entire industry benefits from new business models and technological solutions.”

Ten teams from seven countries were selected from more than 600 applications for the programme in October 2016 and were each supported with up to €120,000. During the three-month accelerator programme in the German Tech Entrepreneurship Center in Berlin, the start-ups gained access to market expertise and to METRO’s customer and supplier networks. About 120 external mentors provided intensive support in more than 500 consulting hours dedicated to the start-ups. Many teams have successfully established products in the market or sharpened their business model and positioning in the accelerator.

“Highly motivated founders have refined relevant solutions for their customers in the accelerator. The great interest shown by investors at the Demo Day demonstrates that we are on the right track and confirms our course. We are helping new business models to grow and are connecting our customers with the digital world,” Koch says.

Three of the 10 teams redesigned their business models completely: Apparier, Frag Paul (Ask Paul) and Hyre changed their brand and positioning.

“The founders have made enormous progress in a short period of time and with a tight programme. We are proud to support them with our advice, expertise and network, and to move them forward. The 10 international teams show that innovations also enable growth in areas that have barely been digitised so far, such as the food service and hospitality sector,” says Alexander Zumdieck, managing director METRO Accelerator for METRO AG.

“METRO Accelerator powered by Techstars is a poster child and benchmark in the international start-up scene. In combination with the Demo Day and the alumni programme, we have created a unique platform for innovation and investment,” adds Jens Lapinski, managing director METRO Accelerator for Techstars.


  • Digital business models for the food service and hospitality sector presented to about 300 international investors and experts
  • Acceleration of digitisation in the food service and hospitality sector and new momentum for the entire industry
  • New accelerator programme focusing on digital solutions for retail to be launched in June 2017

The start-ups from the first programme also show positive developments. In cooperation with Lunchio, among others, METRO is currently building up a pilot project for digitised restaurants in major cities. Flowtify was able to refine its business model and gained another prestigious investor in High-Tech Gründerfonds. In total, eight of the 11 participating start-ups from the first programme have already been able to attract third-party investments in addition to the funds provided by Techstars and METRO.

The existing accelerator programme with a focus on the food service and hospitality sector will continue in 2017. Furthermore, METRO has launched another programme in cooperation with Techstars: the METRO Accelerator for Retail powered by Techstars focuses on digital solutions for the retail sector. Applications can be submitted until March 12, 2017.

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