Start-ups Vectoflow and CQSE nominated for the Deutscher Gründerpreis

Flow probes and a clever analysis program

Katharina Keitz and Florian Wehner are developing small, stable and individually adaptable flow sensors. (Image: Jooß / TUM)
Katharina Keitz and Florian Wehner are developing small, stable and individually adaptable flow sensors. (Image: Jooß / TUM)

Entrepreneurship

Two start-ups from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) are among the finalists for the 2018 Deutscher Gründerpreis (German Entrepreneur Award). Vectoflow produces custom-made flow probes; CQSE has developed an analysis program that helps companies to avoid common problems in the advanced development of software. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on September 11th at ZDF's Capital City Studio in Berlin. The awards will be broadcast live.

To develop small, stable and individually adaptable flow sensors: Katharina Kreitz had this idea during her mechanical engineering studies with a focus on aerospace. She saw the solution in 3D printing:  With this technology, the sensors can be individually adapted to the customer's requirements.

The demand for the products is high. Car manufacturers, for example, install the probes and examine the aerodynamics of their prototypes in a wind tunnel. But flows also have to be measured in the manufacture of air conditioning systems, stove exhaust hoods and drones. Not all applications are centered on air flow – the flow of gas, water or oil can also be measured.

Seven employees, customers all over the world

Together with Dr. Christian Haigermoser, also a TUM graduate, the young entrepreneur founded Vectoflow GmbH in April 2015. They were able to recruit engineer Florian Wehner as a third partner. The founders were supported by TUM and UnternehmerTUM, the Center for Innovation and Business Creation. They took advantage of this start-up support and were able to use offices and work spaces in the "incubator" as well as the high-tech MakerSpace workshop. In the "XPRENEURS" program, they were prepared for market entry; "Techfounders" brought them together with potential investors and customers. Both programs are offered by UnternehmerTUM.

Today, Vectoflow has seven permanent employees and customers all over the world – including China, India, Saudi Arabia and the USA. Among other things, the start-up supplied various racing series, such as Formula 1, with its probes.

Promising for numerous industry sectors

Software is becoming more and more complicated, and must constantly be further developed and adapted for new tasks. Updating often causes unexpected problems in other parts of the software. With their idea about how this can be prevented, four doctoral students at TUM founded the company CQSE.

During programming, their analysis program Teamscale is already monitoring whether the new components are compatible with the existing software. Teamscale reports conflicts just a few seconds after a code change. This way, problems can be solved immediately instead of afterwards, as is normally the case. Teamscale offers companies an overview of potential weak points in their software and saves them time and money. So far, the product is the only one of its kind worldwide - and promising for numerous industry sectors.  

The founders Florian Deißenböck, Martin Feilkas, Benjamin Hummel and Elmar Juergens met during their doctoral studies at the Technical University of Munich, where they were supported by Manfred Broy, current Professor Emeritus of Software and Systems Engineering. The company, which was founded in 2009, now has 33 employees. Since 2014, CQSE has developed rapidly, with growth rates of around 30% per year and a current sales turnover of three million euros. Now the Munich entrepreneurs want to establish a subsidiary in the USA.

Presentation of the German Entrepreneur Award

Both start-ups are among the finalists for the German Entrepreneur Award. The awards ceremony will take place in Berlin on September 11th. A link to the live stream can be found at https://www.deutscher-gruenderpreis.de/ shortly before the broadcast.

TUM ranks number 1 in the "Gründungsradar"

According to the current "Deutscher Start-up Monitor" ("German Start-up Monitor), the TUM produces the most start-up founders among German universities. Around 70 companies are spun off here every year. The excellent funding and promotion was recognized by the "Gründungsradar" ("Start-Up Radar") of the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, in which the TUM ranks number 1 among the major universities.