A booster for the path to CO2 neutrality and a digitalisation boost for an analogue leisure experience – with Carbon Offsets and WeDart, two very different teams at HAW Hamburg are getting started. What they have in common: they both receive the EXIST-Gründerstipendium from the German government.
“We are thrilled that we can once again welcome two very exciting EXIST teams here at HAW Hamburg,” reports Angela Borchert, Head of the university’s Start-up Service, following the funding approval. “At the same time, the teams are working on very different projects – a fact that once again shows how broadly HAW Hamburg is positioned thematically.”
CO2 emissions, satellite images and the blockchain
It is arguably one of the hot-topics of the Current Hour: man-made climate change. Carbon Offsets says it wants to be part of the solution. “We are accelerating the transformation to carbon neutrality by offsetting hard-to-avoid CO2 emissions with local, transparent projects,” says Julian Kakarott when talking about his team’s project.
He and his comrades-in-arms Jesper Kolk and Noah Winneberger, both of whom studied industrial engineering just like Julian Kakarott, are developing a platform for CO2 offsets based on reforestation and forest conversion projects in Germany. “We use satellite images and machine learning to evaluate how much CO2 a certain forest area can absorb and then make the compensation tradable,” says Jesper Kolk. Issuers, such as large industrial companies, can purchase these shares on the platform and thus offset their emissions. The focus is on companies from sectors that have problems with the rapid transformation to CO2 neutrality.
“It is very important to us that the whole thing is transparent,” adds Noah Winneberger. “That’s why all the evidence is stored on a public blockchain that documents the commitment of the respective companies.”
Digitisation of an analogue sport
The start-up WeDart around Alisa Möhrke, Florian Bautsch and Lennart Zorn wants to create digital transparency in a completely different way. The club people, who are enthusiastic about the sport of darts, are developing a device to attach directly to analogue stone darts discs made of natural fibre. “By means of a built-in camera and computer vision, we can precisely determine the position of a dart – and without any complex camera technology in the room,” says Florian Bautsch.
The network-connected device will be supplemented by an app. “This will open up completely new possibilities for the players – for example, the use of detailed statistics, fully automated scorekeeping and online games,” says Alisa Möhrke. “So you can play steeldarts against friends or other players all over the world. Especially in the pandemic, that would be ingenious,” adds Lennart Zorn.
They have already developed a first prototype and the first cooperation partners have been found with the Landesdartverband Hamburg and a wholesaler. The team wants to use the test phase with the partners, which will start in September, to gather important feedback from potential customers.
On the way to market maturity
Thanks to the EXIST grant, the teams have one year to transform their ideas into market-ready products with which, in the best case, they can win over investors. “This is no easy task,” says Lars Kalusky, who advises the two teams as a beyourpilot start-up consultant, “but I think they can both do it – the ideas are good and the market is there.”