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Start-up at the University of Paderborn: Tinkerforge GmbH received the CHIP award Product of the Year 2012
Date: 2012/04/16

Tinkerforge GmbH, a spin-off company from the University of Paderborn, was awarded the "Chip Award 2012" by the computer journal Chip in the category Product of the Year 2012. The prize was presented at this year's CeBIT. The managers Bastian Nordmeyer and Olaf Lüke studied at the University of Paderborn and developed a modular assembly system with small electronic modules. As easy as with Lego, any number of user-defined equipment up to one's own robot can be constructed this way. Hard- and software are based on open-source principles.

„We would like to raise our profile and expand. The cost convinces people that this is not a toy “, says Nordmeyer. „ Our target group includes private individuals who want to develop an intelligent electronic system. We would like to address those who are looking for a solution without having to deal with the electronic component. Typical applications may be control system of a robot or the automatization of one's home. Schools and universities may use our modules to make programming courses more interesting, for example. Our modules are of interest to business cumstomers looking for flexible automatization solutions such as prototyping or small-scale series.“

The idea to develop the modular assembly system came up while studying computer science at the University of Paderborn. The common hardware was very complicated so the two developers started looking for a more suitable hardware - without any success, so that they developed their own system.

The EXIST-start-up grant allowed them to become self-employed. „The grant was the basis for focus on the idea and develop something practical. Only when we were sure that our system could be realized did we launch our enterprise. Without this intermediate step we would have had to establish this enterprise directly after finishing our degrees. Most certainly, we would not have done it in this way. The cooperation with UniConsult was great help in terms of management issues.“, says Nordmeyer.

Prof. Bernd Seel, director of the university transfer office UniConsult in Paderborn, regard the award as a quality certificate for Tinkerforge's achievements to date: „ The team does its work with a lot of passion and supports its product, which is really sophisticated, 100 percent. Because of a lack of funding after completing one's studies it is not taken for granted that graduates choose an entrepreneurial career. Thus we are even more glad that they chose this path and that we could support them. Within the frame of the projects „ITpreneurship“ and „open entrepreneur-lab“ the team could make use of a multitude of services to further develop their project. Prof. Bärbel Mertsching, GET Lab at the University of Paderborn, supported the project technically as a mentor. We wish and hope for an on-going positive development of this enterprise.“


Photo (CHIP): Olaf Lüke (2nd from the left) and Bastian Nordmeyer (3rd from the left) receiving the Award for the Product of the Year 2012.

Large photo: chip_awards_tinkerforge.jpg