Start-up conference – Digital cities and the development of neighbourhoods

Together with the Hessian innovation cluster House of Energy (HoE), the BBH group held its first start-up conference on “Digital cities and the development of neighbourhoods” in Berlin on 04/06/2019.

The aim of the conference was to provide ideal opportunities for well-established companies and start-ups to connect and swap ideas about the decisive topics for the digital energy transition: IoT applications, sensors and sensor systems, LoRaWAN applications, chances offered by virtual reality, energy efficiency and smart system control as well as energy storage and sector coupling. The event provided an exciting partnering platform for new solutions and business models ranging from development and practical application to sales/distribution.

At the event, 26 innovative companies from eight federal states introduced their businesses to a receptive audience from the private and municipal sector at the exhibition, during brief speeches and in personal conversations. In a relaxed atmosphere, about 90 participants seized the networking opportunities, made new contacts and shared ideas.

In his welcome address, BBH partner Dr. Olaf Däuper stressed that especially municipal companies take a keen interest in partnering with young start-up companies to develop and implement innovations. In his keynote speech, Silvio Konrad, Managing Director of TÜV Nord Systems, addressed the issue of how start-ups can be drivers of innovation in the field of industry services. Silvio Konrad is also convinced that “CSR, sustainability, ethics and resources constitute the long-term basis for good business”.


Another question addressed was: What innovations are needed for the digital energy transition? In his presentation, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Birkner, Managing Director of House of Energy, introduced the scheme underlying the energy transition, deriving three significant factors which foster innovation. A functioning invention is an opportunity, which will, however, only be seized if it meets a demand that has been defined by the energy transition scheme. In this respect, it is particularly important to consider how far the systematic transformation has progressed in time. These two factors are necessary but do not suffice to enable an innovation. This also includes the establishment of a comprehensive legal framework which has a decisive impact on the profitability of a specific solution. According to Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Birkner, a well-functioning interplay between politics, science and industry is the key element for the implementation of innovations. Afterwards, Marcel Malcher, Member of the Managing Board of BBH Consulting AG, presented the findings of the “BBH/BBHC housing sector study” and outlined current market trends in the housing sector.


Representatives of municipal companies attending the conference reaffirmed their interest in innovative developments. However, they also pointed out that the ever increasing requirements of the regulatory framework often tie up a major part of their capacities, which is why they gladly welcome the impulses provided by start-ups. The informative part of the conference programme concluded with the presentation of BBH lawyer Thomas Schmeding, who predominantly advises start-ups. He outlined the key legal framework conditions for the cooperation of companies and start-ups.


The presentation programme was followed by a session during which 16 innovative companies presented and pitched their business ideas to an interested audience of investors and representatives from the private and municipal sector as well as associations. The conference was rounded off by a networking evening where the conference participants engaged in a lively exchange of ideas.

A list of the innovative companies present at the conference is available here.

Becker Büttner Held is a leading provider of advisory services for energy and infrastructure companies and their customers. Energy and supply companies, particularly public utilities, municipalities and local authorities, industrial companies and international groups are among its core clients. BBH advises these and many other companies and organisations in all legal matters and also assists them with business and strategic advice.



Prof. Dr. Ines Zenke
Lawyer, Partner
Tel +49 (0)30 611 28 40-179

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