Merck has opened the application period for the seventh round of its Accelerator program. The program will take place from mid-January until April 2019 at the Merck Innovation Center in Darmstadt, Germany. Startups from all over the world, including Korea are invited to apply – they have until September 30th, 2018 to complete their application forms.
Alongside the Merck core-business fields of life science, performance materials, and healthcare, Merck is also looking for startups from additional search fields like future technology products leveraging bio-sensing, interfaces and precision farming. The main objective of the Accelerator program in 2019 will be a business partnership with Merck. Selected applicants will also have the opportunity to extend their participation in the program by joining the China Innovation Hub Accelerator in Shanghai.
Previous rounds of the accelerator have seen a steady growth in the pipeline of promising collaborations between Merck and participating startups. As a result, the focus of the 2019 program will be to strengthen the partnership aspect of the Accelerator. The Innovation Center’s location at the heart of Merck’s headquarters is the perfect environment for fostering such partnerships, as it allows Merck’s in-house experts to work closely with startup teams. The opportunities for collaboration in the Merck Accelerator mean that both Merck and startups benefit from ongoing exchange and mutual support.
From 2019, startup teams will also have the chance to extend their stay in the Merck Accelerator program by joining the China Innovation Hub Accelerator in Shanghai for up to additional three months. The tailored program in China will give startups mentoring sessions on entering the Chinese market and will address topics such as local customer-base, regulatory affairs, and localized business models. Startup teams will be able to adapt their business strategies and gain further insights and contacts through network events in China.
Michael Gamber, Head of the Merck Innovation Center, commented: “For our next Accelerator intake we will concentrate on future collaboration. From the last intake six startups are now focused on working together with Merck to realize their collaboration projects. We want to find potential partners to shape the future with us. Giving Accelerator startups the chance to access the Chinese market is another exciting step. Extending the program in this way allows us to further develop our partnership strategies with startups.”
Startups have until September 30th to apply via the Merck Accelerator Website. In January 2019, up to ten selected teams will move into the recently-inaugurated Innovation Center in Darmstadt, Germany in order to develop their projects over the course of three months. They will benefit from open sources and a “Makerspace” with rapid prototyping labs.