HPI Venture Builder – The Incubator for Digital Engineers

The twelve-week incubation program for digital engineers without costs and the opportunity to receive an initial investment. The industry-agnostic incubator is designed for every tech entrepreneur who strives to solve global challenges and create sustainable impact. During this program, our team provides you with guidance, resources, and an outstanding community allowing you to focus on developing and growing your business idea into a successful startup.  



Application Period 28.07.23 - 08.10.23
Interview Process 15.08.23 - 13.10.23
Announcement Participants 16.10.23
Informal Events (Virtual Kick-off, Co-Founder Matching, etc.) 16.10.23 - 03.11.23
Kick-off Week 06.11.23
Challenger Day (Intermediate Presentation) 19.12.23
Christmas Break 23.12.23 - 02.01.24
HPI Tomorrow Day (Final Presentation) 01.02.24
Support and Founder Community Member ongoing


Goals of the HPI Venture Builder: Student Development to empower outstanding tech talents to become successful entrepreneurs; Purposeful Growth: to ensure fast and sustainable scaling of breakthrough business models supported by a strong investment communitv; Impact Entrepreneurship: to balance financial, social and environmental factors to promote collective prosperity and individual well-being


Venturing is a radically proactive and inclusive approach to build, establish and grow startups while consistently applying a clear roadmap during the entire development and growth process. In other words, it is about iterative ideation and validation of a business idea, ultimately leading to a real startup

The Incubator for Digital Engineers is designed to structure and support the creation of your business model at a very early stage so that your promising business idea can be developed and turned into a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).  

Our program consists of twelve weeks of customized workshops, expert input sessions, and mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs. Each week, we will focus on a specific entrepreneurial topic. In parallel, you will further refine your business model and start to build your venture while we simultaneously support you. Thereby, we provide guidance and focus on your individual needs, challenges, and financing opportunities to build a successful startup.  

The incubation program is divided into two parts. It begins with a Kick-off event at an off-site location where you can meet the other participants and the support team.

After the first six weeks, you will pitch to potential investors. At the first presentation ("Challenger Day"), you can connect with investors and receive hands-on feedback, including questions that need to be answered before actual fundraising.   

After part one, we will take a one-week "Christmas break" allowing you time to reflect on the past six weeks and redesign your business model, value proposition, and go-to-market strategy.   

The incubator ends with the final "Tomorrow Day" where each team will present their venture idea and get another opportunity to connect with venture capitalists and business angels for potential follow-on investments. We aim to get you and your startup to a level where you are ready to convince first customers and receive funding. 

After the twelve weeks, we will close the batch and individually support your team on possible next steps in the upcoming week. Nevertheless, the support never stops. You will become a lifelong member of our founder's community with regular alumni networking events and free advisory appointments at the School of Entrepreneurship. 

It does not matter what academic background you have. Everyone can be a tech entrepreneur. Our aim is to create an inclusive and diverse community of entrepreneurs, and we believe that talent and innovative ideas can come from various backgrounds. To achieve this, we will support you on your journey. With our incubation program, you can take your business idea to the next level.


Twelve-week incubation process with a clear structure and enough space for creativity 

How it works? Peer Learning and Community Building: Teams will update the group on their progress every two weeks. In this way, the teams will form a strong community of peer entrepreneurs who will support each other during and after the program.; Guest Talks and Workshops: Teams will expand their entrepreneurial knowledge and mindset through weekly input sessions about venturing techniques, frameworks and best practices. The sessions will be held by experienced entrepreneurs or industry experts on venture building topics (e.g. marketing, sales and fundraising).; Mentorship and Coaching: Teams will be supported in their process via 1×1 coaching sessions and meetings with external mentors who are carefully matched to the needs of the venture. In technical questions it will be possible to book an appointment with technical expert.; Simulated Board Meetings: Teams will present their progress and get unbiased feedback in simulated board meetings. The advisory board consists of mentors, experts and the HPI support team, who evaluate the investment readiness of the participating teams.; Breaking Down Walls: In daily meetings with the HPI support team, the startup teams are assisted to break down any wall on the way to a successful startup. Throughout the program, participants will be connected with relevant experts, investors and other entrepreneurs.

Application Requirements

Application Instructions

Selection Process




Unique funding opportunity 

HPI Venture Builder - The Incubator for Digital Engineers offers participants through the HPI Seed and further investors the unique opportunity to obtain initial funding in an uncomplicated manner during the pre-seed phase to reach essential milestones on the way to further funding rounds.  

Strong brand 

HPI is one of the leading institutes for IT in Germany. We have a strong brand and are trusted by many tech entrepreneurs. We have gained credibility over the years, and our existing network of experts makes us a "Go-to Partner" for developing new startups and enables further collaborations with companies, universities, and venture capitalists. 

Outstanding community 

We already have a strong founders’ community, an existing entrepreneurship club with 80+ members, and a diverse portfolio of successful startups working in our co-working spaces. The exciting combination between the entrepreneurial university ecosystem and investment opportunities connects well-educated talents, provides an infrastructure for an innovative environment, and makes financial resources available. This vibrant community further ensures valuable networking opportunities and a supportive ecosystem for your startup journey.


Benefits? Gain an Entrepreneurial Mindset: Step out of vour comfort zone in a safe and trusting environment, Gain trust and credibility for your idea, Shape your business model, Become part of an inspiring and motivating, life-long community; Learn Venturing: … by doing and in-depth input sessions and workshops, Understand the "game of entrepreneurship" to scale our business, Strengthen your mindset through user-centric design and pitch trainings, Gain knowledge about financial metrics and the due diligence process to get funding; Leverage Competitive Advantages Through Resources: Receive educational materials and templates (e.g., employee contracts or pitch decks), Get access to software and hardware resources; Obtain team budget, get access to the co-working space and technical infrastructure, Only for HPI students: Get the chance to apply for a HPI Founder Scholarship; Ecosystem Services: Receive guidance and hands-on feedback from support team and mentors, Join weekly input sessions from industry experts; Get individual support from professionals (consultants, entrepreneurs and investors), Get access to industry partners and other ecosystem players to test your business idea


Co-Founder Matching: 

You are a perfect candidate or team for our program, but you are looking for further co-founders? No problem! After screening all applications, we will have informal events where you can meet potential co-founders before the program starts. 

Investment on the “HPI Tomorrow Day”: 

HPI Seed will be the leading investor during “HPI Tomorrow Day.” They are one of the few funds investing in such early-stage startups. If your team is ready, the HPI Seed will commit to investing 50.000€ in a pre-seed round, providing crucial funding to kickstart your venture.

Throughout the program, there will also be opportunities to connect with other leading Business Angels and VCs for further investments.  

Funding Opportunities: 

Not ready for investment but need money to continue working on the idea after the program? We will guide you toward follow-up scholarships and programs you can apply for. We understand that securing additional funding is vital for your startup's sustained growth and development.





Do I need a business idea before the incubation program starts?

What means having a validated business idea?

What happens if I don’t find a team as an individual before the Kick-off?

What if we already incorporated the idea and have a registered company?

We already have a scholarship or state funding, is that a problem?


Program Structure

Do I have to be in Potsdam during the twelve-week program?

What means full-time commitment? Are input sessions during the program mandatory?

How does the HPI Founder Scholarship work?

How does the team budget work?

Why is the incubation program without ECTS?


Data Rights

How do you handle confidentiality about information gained by me?

How do you deal with intellectual property?

Further Questions? Don't hesitate to contact us!

Profil picture of Franz Breu, Program Manager


Program Manager

Franz Breu: franz.breu(at)hpi.de

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